You regularly read in our Thursday tips about the need to create desire. Therefore, when you’re in front of people who are afraid, suspicious or who have prejudices, you cannot settle for arguing your case. First you need to prepare them to listen to you.
But we must recognize that there are beliefs that die-hard. It is precisely because “we believe it”, it makes sense to us, we would be disappointed if we were wrong, that, no matter what we are told, we have the feeling, the strong conviction that we’re right, and we are incapable of listening to those who don’t agree with us.
Psychology and cognitive sciences cannot avoid this phenomenon. Hence, the theory of the “left brain, right brain” is still frequently put forward, though it doesn’t lean on any scientific basis and has been invalidated for several years now.
Similarly, we often hear that we use only 10% of our brain capacity. It must be said that it is tempting to imagine that we could have access to a pool of intelligence, hidden somewhere and accessible only to a privileged few. Cinema helps to feed this fantasy of infinite intelligence. Yet it is completely illusory.
From an evolutionist stand point, to begin with, because we are the fruit of a long evolutionary process, each gene having been duly tested to ensure survival and adaptation. Though we haven’t got the sharpest fangs of the animal kingdom, our claws are not the hardest and our skin is not the thickest, we must recognize that we have managed to distinguish ourselves by our enormous capacity for adaptation. But our brain doesn’t work for free. It consumes 20% of the sugar we consume and 20% of the oxygen we breathe! If there were any unused areas in the brain, our species would have proven to be fragile in a world where it had to fight every day for food.
From a medical standpoint, this notion of unused brain capacity has no more validity. We have never seen a neurosurgeon operate after an accident and announce, “He was lucky that this part of the brain is useless!”
But then, where do those moments come from, when we clearly feel more intelligent, more sensitive, more inspired? What does our intelligence really allow us to do? The most modern part of our brain is called the prefrontal cortex. And it is precisely because of accidents necessitating the removal of certain zones of our brains that we began to identify the dimensions that make up the “human” intelligence and which are the basis of our great capacity for adaptation:
Sensory curiosity: the ability to feel, see and hear what is happening around us, even if it is not connected to our needs or our professional activity.
Acceptance: the ability to accept what is surprising, unexpected, unpleasant or unsatisfying.
Nuancing: the ability to measure the complexity of a situation, not limiting it to the sum of simple and known things.
Relativity: the ability to question ones convictions and put them into perspective according to different situations.
Logical thinking: the ability to not limit oneself to what one already knows to rebuild arguments.
Personal opinion: the ability to develop and express an opinion regardless of what others will think.
So these are the resources that are indeed available to us. There is no hidden intelligence, there is only our tremendous ability to see and accept what we do not understand or what we don’t like. And we have the choice to mobilize this ability… or not.