Houndstooth Hypothesis 

How long it takes you to learn something, and get over yourself, must be directly proportional to how boring it is performing the same behaviour over and over again. 


Eckhart and Carrots

Eckhart Tolle reckons all you need to do to be a guru is disconnect your thinking from your emotions. And voila, you are moorishly nowish. Simples. 

In cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), the hypothesis goes that thinking (your cognitions/schema) leads to feelings (emotions), which in turn lead to behaviour. And so on.

To evidence this, try suggesting the same thing to three different people, and likely you will find they will each “think” something different, have a different “emotion” in response, and then “behave” differently. 

If you still don’t get it, try telling your lover, your best friend, and your mum (assuming these are three different people) that you just stuck a carrot up your bottom and you will likely get three different reactions. 

According to Eckhart, no matter how you feel about the proverbial carrot, all you need do is witness that feeling. 

What you think and all the judgements you make are just your mind. Ego. Pain. Fears. The fact it happened and the fact you learned of the veggie event means nothing in the grand universe. Your role is to witness. 

I am not so sure. Mainly because if I kept my reaction to myself, and I was then bombarded with upside rooted veg stories, eventually I would stop witnessing my own reaction and (depending on the confessor) ask in them to stop fecking telling me, or ask if I could watch. 

The trick in CBT is not to disconnect your thinking from your emotions, but to find the underlying cognition and to witness that. 

That’s all you have to do actually. Find it and voice it (pay attention to it). Somehow that turns it from a wave to a particle. And often times if it’s a dodgy cognition it shifts from being hidden in the heuristics, to coexisting in the broadly (arguably) rational. At the very least it sits with your more apparent view of the world so your feelings are more in line with your opinions. 

Anyway that sounds a bit unguru like. And, maybe this is what Eckhart means in a way, or maybe he never had that many faulty cognitions (because likely once you’ve popped 80% of them the whole disconnection hypothesis works just as well). Or, maybe I am totally wrong and he is right and the cognitions change themselves over time anyway. His might be the less intuitive faster but route. 

Fundamentally, changing your own cognitions (however it’s done) has to be preferable to getting others to change around you. Whilst it’s tempting to ask others to stop pressing your soft spots, unless it’s temporary (while you bear witness and do some mental renovation) ultimately what you end up with is an edited world in which nothing is really real. 

Watch me come undone 

I just read a paper on thinking styles. 

Two types of thinking: (1) heuristic, automatic, experiential and (2) rational, analytical, logical. 

This sums it up:

No prizes for guessing which I am; and which you are. 

I always thought (quite rationally) that heuristic thinking was like the emergent thinking from big data. The sort of short cuts we make in our minds based on all the underlying stuff we know. 

But it turns out that the view of this paper (based on all their stats and t-tests and numbers) is that the two thinking types (rational and experiential) are quite independent of one another. 


The way one person in box A processes information as an experiential thinker differs to the logic person in box B. The desire of how to be communicated with, internalisations, imaginations everything is just… different. 

Apparently a part of the research in the paper, is used to help counsellors understand how to best reach their victim. For an analytical thinker it’s logical arguments and facts. For a heuristic thinker it’s: appeals to emotions, personal experience and concrete examples. 

The other really interesting nugget is around their hypothesis of how people develop their thinking styles. Based on all this data gathered on childhood experiences, it turns out the more stressed and traumatised you were as a child, the more analytical you are. This is a survival mode for the brain under which circumstances it can’t afford to be irrational. 

I’m not sure that’s true because I have a seven year old logic bot. But trauma comes in many forms.

A further hypothesis is that as you get older the two thinking styles begin to emerge and merge. In their proposed future work, they will study children through to older adults. 

There are two main things I really like about learning about this research. 

The first is that it encourages me to let go of logic. I always thought it was the only way. Or at least unavoidable as a essential part of other ways. This realisation is sort of liberating. 

The second thing I like is the idea that all those Gen Y and millennials who (to me) seem completely irrational and experiential (because they grew up in such safe cookie cut environments?) are going to get more logical as they get older. Assuming the merging hypothesis is correct. 

This thought just cracks me up. 

Here’s something fascinating I was told the other day. 

When one bloke (say a drunk next door neighbour in Randwick) is being a dick at a party, he is likely to be told this outright when he is in a group of men. 

But if women are present the men stay silent. 

This has something to do with not wanting to be judged, but I’m not sure. I also suspect it’s not a blanket and applies to some fellas and not others. 

Anyway, seems to me that self correcting feedback in male circles might be pervasive. Intuitively it seems correct. 

This wouldn’t apply (to my knowlegde) in a female female situation (males present or not). In other words if one girl was being a dick at a party the other girls would whisper and gossip but they are unlikely to say anything out loud. It’s not so confrontational in a group. 

My guess is overall and over the course of their lives, women give men feedback but net receive less back from them. 

Feedback on bad behaviours is so important for growth and learning. I spot myself doing it to my kids all the time.