I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

603. Simple Recipes Attract Simpleminded People

603.   Simple Recipes Attract Simpleminded People

Texts presenting apparently easy recipes for about any problem or task are plenty in books, newspapers, the web and other media.    

Practical tasks sometimes do follow simple algorithms, which are not obvious without a step-by-step guide to follow through.   Recipes for cooking are an examples, manuals how to maintain and handle household appliances and machines are another.  

But most of the recipes concerning non-material topics are false promises offering pseudo solutions to very complex, difficult and strenuous tasks.  

1.  The attraction of recipes:

Recipes are tempting to be believed and applied, whenever people struggle with the experience of failure, because they wish or crave for something, which
  • can generally not be achieved
  • is beyond someone's ability to achieve it
  • could only be achieved by much more efforts than the person is ready and willing to invest
Recipes are expressed as assertive claims.   The apparent false authority of them misleads people to confound their mere wishful thinking as if it were something to come true as a secure success needing only limited efforts.   Recipes are most suggestive, when they are expressed in a way, which precludes doubts of failure and pretends programmed success.   

Recipes are usually either promising the certain way to reach one specific goal, or they offer a precise number of steps or items to work through towards a goal.   

2.  Some examples:

The following examples are chosen only because of the big claim made by the title.  

Examples of titles of books
Get the life you want
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The 48 Laws of Power
Think and Grow Rich
The Feeling Good Handbook
How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life
Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School

Examples of 'how to' articles found by a google search:  
How to trick people into thinking you're good looking
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
How to Win Friends and Influence People
How to be an expert
How to Get a Life
How to Get Out of Debt
How to Lose 20 lbs. of bodyfat in 30 days
How to Read 300% Faster in 20 Minutes
How To Become Wealthy

Examples from a dating advice site:
10 things men should never say
Seven steps to the perfect first email
5 Habits that Hurt Your Relationship
Five dating tips for spotting ‘Mr Right’
3 Key Things to Discuss Before Moving In Together

3. Classification of recipes:

Falling for simple recipes can be caused by several different fallacies. 
  • Absurdity.   Recipes advising religious rituals like prayer or a pilgrimage and woo-woo remedies like homeopathy are just absurd and irrational.  
  • Pseudo-science.   Pseudo-science is suggestive, because uninformed people confound it with serious science.   NLP is an example.
  • Exaggerated and biased truth.   A few good, valid tips can be convincing, even when they are banalities.   These tips can supply a tiny contribution to the problem, that makes them suggestive.   But they are nevertheless very insufficient, when exaggerated into an entire recipe, not applicable for the complex problem and for the wide variety of different people and situations.  

4.  Purpose for using recipes:

The recipes are used as a crutch to reduce insecurity and anxiety in areas of life, where the access to reliable information and better methods is difficult:  
  • Self-improvement towards a better ability of understanding, predicting, influencing and controlling other people
  • Health improvement

5.  Gullibility to the belief in simple recipes:

Not all recipes are fully worthless, when perceived with the critical mental distance to not succumb to unrealistic expectations.    If read skeptically, knowing that there cannot be simple recipes, there is sometimes some food for thought to be integrated in a larger frame of investigating the best way to cope with an issue. 

  • Gullible, uneducated and simple minded people, who are prone to believe any irrational nonsense, are most prone to also fall uncritically for simple recipes.   Pressing problems like strong instinctive urges, which deactivate or blur the reason, often enhance the attraction of simple recipes.
  • Intelligent and skeptical people with the ability for abstract and complex thinking are not prone to fall for simple recipes.   They understand the complexity and real magnitude of a task and react appropriately.  They prefer sources, which put the emphasis on the complexity of any issue and avoid any claims of easy solutions.     

6.  The authors of the recipes:

Those who produce simple recipes are
  • frauds, who know, that they take advantage of other people's gullibility and simplicity to make money.  
  • gullible and mislead themselves.    The feel a mission to propagate their delusional insights and wisdom.  
    • They want to earn a reward in the afterlife
    • They expect narcissistic supply as gurus.
    • They want to feel good about themselves by being altruistically helping others.

7.  The dangers of simple recipes for the applicants:

By relying exclusively on a simple recipe, people often enhance and prolong the problem, which they attempt to solve.  The focus on vain attempts to reach a goal with an oversimplified recipe impedes them to find a real solution.

When the wrong expectations for an easy achievement fail, a wrong attribution of this failure can damage a person's self-esteem and confidence.   This can lead to wrong decisions with long term fatal consequences in the realm of important life choices.

8.  The dangers of the impact of imposed simple recipes:

When people rely more on recipes than on direct information from the target of the applied recipe, then they can be a serious hazard to others,    The lack of any modification of the applied recipe by the target's direct influence can be caused by any combination of lacking trust, of lacking information and of failing recognition for the target being a source of information.

  • Misjudgment by categorization:  
    Using astrology as a recipe of sorting people into 12 arbitrary categories and ascribing traits to them can cause harm.   A person is not treated according to how s/he really is but by ascribed traits.   A person chosen by wrongly ascribed traits as a mate or employee cannot fulfill erroneous expectations and may suffer from pressure.
  • Misjudgment by unsuitable methods: 
    NLP includes pseudo-scientific recipes.  One such recipe claims, that specific eye movements were indicators for the difference between honesty and lying.    When trust is denied by this fallacy, this can prevent or destroy relationships and friendships.
  • Unjustified blame: 
    When recipes promising benefits in the interaction with others fail, no matter if the goal is to be accepted or to gain control, this is a logical consequence of not perceiving the other as a partner, but as reduced to a mere target.   But due to believing in the power and correctness of the recipe, the failure is attributed to faults, flaws of defects of the target. 
  • Enhancement of the detriments of power:  
    The more the person applying a recipe also has power, the worse the situation gets for the target.   People applying for a job or training can be rejected by invalid recipes like graphology.   Bosses, teachers, parents, wardens and caretakers in institutions can do a lot of harm by applying recipes derived from a religion, ideology or simply from an unqualified application or misinterpretation of recipes from any source.

I am personally scared of people, who believe so much in simple recipes of any kind, no matter if it is religion, woo-woo or pseudoscience, that this impedes and prevents me from influencing by proactive rationality, how I am judged and treated.    
My mindmate to be found is not simple minded, he does not use recipes upon me.  He is someone, who not only is able to think abstractly, but who also feels comfortable with cognitive complexity.