The invisible but omnipresent Theory of Mind
An excerpt from my Morning Pages.
I notice that I really enjoy dreaming.
It is a simulation that my brain runs and in which I am fully immersed. I get lost in that world in the same way I get lost in films or books. I live in another world: I see what they see, feel what they feel.
Our brain is an amazing simulation machine to “mind read” someone else’s perspective. It is a shame we can’t do this more fluidly and easily. Instead, it is a latent power which we all under-use.
We as humans can relatively easily step into someone else’s shoes but we have an aversion against doing so. It is deeply uncomfortable to entertain the idea that our beliefs & behaviours are wrong.
However, if we can fluidly move between mind states, we can make people feel understood & comfortable. That is a superpower.
The Theory of Mind
I notice myself here talking about “beliefs”. In How History Gets Things Wrong, Rosenberg stresses that this is relying on the Theory of Mind: the invisible mental model we all hold which permits us to guess the mental state of someone else.
I had never considered this before the book.
I didn’t think about it because to me it didn’t exist. Not even present but obvious, but instead just invisible. What is water to a fish?
What else is invisible to me? How can I make it visible?