Working the Margins

Eclectic explorations of the esoteric and the extreme, from community building to neuroscience

The Meat Of Us

Jeff Schwartz helped his patients meditate their way to good health. Read More


When people meditate their way out of the Bipolar spectrum,do let me know.

Correcting disease by thinking about how to correct the behavior isn't normal.

Why not take medicine and remove it completely?

Two of us?


A couple things...

1) What Schwartz does sounds very much like hypnotherapy...teaching folks to hypnotize themselves (self hypnotism is a pretty easy skill), to change fundamental brain patterns that help a person attain a goal or change a behavior...dieting, doing better on tests, shooting better at basketball, having a better relationship with a loved one, reducing fear a flying...literally anything.

2) I never thought about all this under the guise of free will. I agree that on many levels, it seems that we simply react to our outside world. We all think we are doing the right thing, or the best we can...but that is based on our DNA and our life experiences. I have found that the reactions people have to certain situations is identical, to, say, how a person without a hand reacts to trying to throw a baseball...physically impossible. Can't be done. And anyone watching understands that.

It's hard to imagine something being 100% MENTALLY impossible. Like...hey, just GET OVER your fear of, say, spiders. Just CHOOSE a different response. But there seems to be an actual physical (brain) incapability in that person, just like the physical impossibility of a handless person throwing a baseball.

That's hard to accept for the family and friends of the person with the mental "handicap"...but to me, it seems 100% true (well, maybe 99%). we really DON'T have free will?

3) That's where the "rewiring", or "rebuilding" of the brain comes to use...thru hypnotherapy or thru another avenue. Actually building new "wiring", or altering existing wiring so that the person can accomplish a new task, or alter the way they perform an existing task, or alter the way they react to a given stimuli.

4) But, I also believe there are two of us living in ourselves...our minds and our souls/hearts. How many times do we say to ourselves "I can't believe I just did that"...or, "what was I thinking", or "dummy!". Or, for someone who might be considering suicide "I just can't live with myself anymore." Statements like these indicate there are TWO entities in us.

To me that's our souls...our higher selves...observing our minds/bodies in action.

And that implies that there really IS a free will decision-maker (if we allow it) living in each of us, since we can decide, at any time we choose, to put forth the effort to build a new wiring or alter existing wiring in our brains.

Is THAT the indication that we DO have free will? That we can choose to do or accomplish ANYTHING, via conscious rewiring effort? Via CHOOSING to? we DO have free will?


Do only SOME of us have free will? Like...some folks might not have the wiring that enables them to decide to build new wiring?

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Steve Volk is a journalist and author, most recently of the e-single Obsessed: The Compulsions and Creations of Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz.


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