Feelings and Illusions

Buddhism and Modern Psych Week 1: Feelings and Illusions

“To the man who is afraid, everything rustles” – Socratese.  But if we’re staring at the ground, fearing every rustling bush, we miss the expanse of the sky!

When first made to listen to scary “horror movie” type music, illusion images were more often perceived as threatening images (ie: rope was thought of as a snake instead of a rope 75% of the time)

The problem: happy music did not produce the opposite effect, or making people more often see the non-threatening squirrel/rope/pot.

Study showed that people who were made to watch a scary movie, such as Silence of the Lambs, afterwards perceived profile pics of various ethnic men as more menacing.  Are we creating our own fears and troubles?  I probably wouldn’t fear random men walking on quiet allies if not for so many movies depicting them as dangerous criminals.

We are more prone to fear and suspicion.

From a survival aspect, this may be a good thing — a “better safe than sorry, let’s be cautious” approach can protect you.  But do we want to be afraid of everything?  Is it better to stare in apprehension at the ground and jump at every rustle?

By manipulating people’s emotions, you can manipulate their perceptions.

Buddhism says feelings are not real or reliable, and so mediation helps up better see truth.



So... whaddaya think?

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