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Chapter 16. Strategic Thinking Part Two > Key Idea #8: The Egocentric Mind Is A...

Key Idea #8: The Egocentric Mind Is Automatic in Nature

Egocentric thinking, unlike rational thought, operates in a highly automatic, unconscious, and impulsive manner. Based in primitive, often “childish,” thought patterns, it reacts to situations in programmed and mechanistic ways. We must recognize, therefore, that it often will spring into action before we have a chance to sidestep or prevent it. It fights. It flees. It denies. It represses. It rationalizes. It distorts. It negates. It scapegoats. And it does all of these in the blink of an eye with no conscious awareness of its deceptive tricks.

Strategic Idea

Because we know that the irrational mind operates in predictable, preprogrammed, automated ways, we become interested observers of the egocentric mechanisms of our own mind. We begin to observe the mechanistic moves our mind makes. Rather than allowing thoughts to operate strictly at the unconscious level, we can actively strive to raise them to conscious realization, as Piaget put it. We can work to bring them into full consciousness. This typically will be after the fact—especially in the beginning of our development as critical thinkers. After a time, when we become keenly aware of how our personal ego functions, we can often forestall egocentric reactions by the prior activity of rational thought.


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