This series in Success Guidelines is reviewing ways we process information. Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink” identifies our ability to spot patterns and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience. He calls this process Thin Slicing, a way to make fast, accurate decisions. If you have not read the first messages on this, go to the beginning of this series.

According to Gladwell’s book a lot of our effective thinking works at our deepest quantum level, beneath our awareness and logic.

So let’s look a minute at quantum mechanics to understand this better. What are we, what is our brain, our mind and our thoughts?

The traditional Newtonian answer is that we are solid matter run by electrical energy and chemistry. Our brain is specialized electrical chemical matter that can store, recall and process information and our thoughts are this process.

This explanation partially works if we stick to the lighter side of Newtonian physics. However if we look deeper, we see that at some stage, all the chemistry and electricity cannot explain the process well. We have to go deeper into quantum mechanics.

Our knowledge of quantum physics has been with us for a century but is still largely ignored because this science suggests that at a deeper level of existence the tiny bits of stuff, that are us, start shifting and acting in unpredictable non scientific ways. Part of the time our deeper aspects act like matter and part of the time acts like energy.

So what is this stuff-energy? The startling reply according to quantum science is that we are simply our intention, or attention or observation. Consciousness appears to be the root of all being and we are as affected by these tiny movements of awareness as we are by the huge particles that swirl above us in space (the sun starts and planets).

One good book on the subject of quantum science is the Elegant Universe.

elegant universe

This quantum level is where the scientists of processing information and those who are called mystics seem to come together. Prayer, meditation, astrology, yagyas, shamanism, chanting, whirling, mysticism and quantum science are all ways of affecting intention by combining the conscious and unconscious.

Blink for example tells the story of Vic Branden, a tennis coach who always knows when a professional player was about to double fault his serve, even before the player hit the ball. This is highly unusual since so few professionals ever double-fault. This ability slowly came as a surprise so he started keeping a record at a professional tournament in Southern California. He correctly predicted sixteen out of seventeen double faults on players who almost never double-fault. Something in the way the players hold themselves, or the way they toss the ball or the fluidity of their motion triggers something in his unconscious and he just knows. The frustration is that this man does not know how he knows. Gladwell suggests in this book that snap judgements rely on the thinnest of information known at the unconscious level.

His explanation is that our subconscious is the creator and leader of our conscious thought and that we cannot escape the programming we have acquired at our deeper levels of being.

Gladwell also shows how some people and companies have learned to identify at the conscious level what is unconsciously known. For example one insurance company has learned how to spot whether Doctors are likely to be sued for malpractice or not.

Most of the ancient wisdoms have recognized the power of the unconscious, but instead of trying to bring the unconscious into the conscious realm, they develop thought tactics in the opposite direction. Most ancient philosophies have conjured ways to place conscious intentions into the unconscious, deeper level of being that are often used in modern business and investing today.

For example in The Ant and the Elephant, business strategist and Olympian, Vince Poscente, uses a parable that shows how to focus the subconscious mind to accomplish conscious goals. He writes about Adir the ant (the conscious) and Elgo the elephant (the subconscious) who must work together to realize the common goal of reaching an Oasis, their vision of paradise in the African savannah.


The Elephant and the Ant

The next message in this series looks at how one of the most successful investors in the world and Sufis use this type of thinking power to improve health, wealth and life.

Until then, good thinking to you!


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