compiled and edited by Frederick Mann
Copyright © 2002 Build Freedom Holdings ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
"What is it, then, that is called a 'fixed idea?' An idea that has subjected the man to itself." -- Max Stirner
"Fixed ideas are usually buried in the mind and a person, as often as not, is unaware of what underlies his revulsions and prejudices." -- L. Ron Hubbard
I asked Mike Goldstein (co-founder of Idenics) to write a contribution for this report. He wrote:
"A fixed idea is simply something that is accepted without personal inspection. Since fixed ideas greatly limit a person's thinking and actions, inspecting these things can be quite rewarding. This report provides some very good information on this subject as well as some tools to identify and deal with fixed ideas. Perhaps I can provide some things that will be of additional assistance to a person trying to explore these limitations... FIXED IDEAS."
A friend recently sent me the following unexpected ('out-of-the-blue') email to which I've made minor edits:
As you may know, I am not a meat eater, principally because I believe animals (mammals, reptiles and amphibians), birds and fish to be sentient beings who merit the same freedom that I merit. And so I don't kill them to eat them, just as I refuse to slaughter you and eat you (it is therefore irrelevant to me whether the meat in question is raw or cooked -- be it animal, fish or fowl, or you!). The following story about the escaped cow in Cincinnati raises many non-trivial, profound questions:*****
From The Cincinnati Post:
Runaway cow a folk hero
By Barry M. Horstman, Post staff reporter
For days, it's been perhaps the most mooooo-ving story in Cincinnati.
In a week filled with major news - the execution of a Cincinnatian for the first time in nearly a half century, black entertainers' boycott of the city and the countless feel-good stories of the Olympics - tri-staters are preoccupied, of all things, with a missing cow.
Since escaping from a local slaughterhouse by jumping a 6-foot fence at Ken Meyer Meats in Camp Washington Feb. 15, the 1,200-pound cow has become daily fodder for radio talk shows, TV newscasts and office chatter.
Curious onlookers peer toward a heavily wooded area in Clifton where an escaped cow is believed to be hiding. (MELVIN GRIER/The Post)
Dubbed Moosama Bin Laden by one DJ, the cow has evaded police and officials from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals while crossing Central Parkway and entering Mount Storm Park in Clifton, where it was last spotted by one TV station's helicopter ''Cow Cam.''
''The problem is, this is a free-range cow that isn't going to come to any human,'' said SPCA general manager Harold Dates. ''And when you weigh 1,200 pounds, you can pretty much go anywhere you want to go.''
At City Hall and from coast to coast, where CNN and other news outlets have chronicled the four-hooved fugitive's run for freedom, the cow's fame grows daily.
If and when the runaway 7-year-old cow is captured, Mayor Charlie Luken plans to give it the key to the city. In the meantime, WLW-AM talk-show host Bill Cunningham, never shy about doing anything to beef up ratings, will continue referring to it as Charlene Mooken, while his counterparts have settled on nicknames ranging from Heidi to Bessie.
Everyone from Marge Schott to Fifth Third Bank has offered to do whatever it takes to prevent the cow from ending up on a hamburger bun, the latter by offering the cow a starring role in its next ''Holy Cow'' home-equity loan ad campaign.
Similarly, Chick-Fil-A, a fast-food restaurant that features a cow in ads urging people to steer clear of red meat, is offering 100 free chicken sandwiches to whoever catches the cow.
Frustrated in their repeated attempts to lure the light-colored Charolais out of Mount Storm Park's thick underbrush, officials Thursday devised a new strategy: using three other cows as bovine bait to draw the cow into a corraled area.
Today, officials - professing no fear that the scheme could backfire and leave four cows on the loose - plan to truck in the new cows and place them in an area contained within about 30 10-foot temporary fence sections. Water and food also will be set out to make it look like there's a big cow party going on inside.
If the cow falls for the trap, officials will swing the gate on a happy ending to the saga. If not, they'll move on to Plan B: trying to bring her down with a tranquilizer dart, a far less attractive option that requires carefully hauling a 1,200-pound animal out of a hilly, brush-covered site.
Until the cow is captured, police plan to close Mount Storm Park to the public. In recent days, the cow has been spooked not only by the joggers and dog-walkers who routinely use the park, but by dozens of gawkers who have come to watch the man - er, cowhunt.
The major concern of Cincinnati police, said Lt. Kurt Byrd, is preventing the cow from wandering onto nearby Interstate 75. ''If a 2,000-pound car runs into a (1,200)-pound cow, it might be pretty ugly,'' Byrd said.
Assuming the cow is safely recovered, it will have earned a permanent reprieve from the grim fate that awaited it last week at Meyer Meats.
''There's no doubt this cow will be living the rest of its life in the most comfortable situation that can be provided,'' said the SPCA's Dates.
Whether that is on Mrs. Schott's estate or some other farm remains to be determined. Regardless, it's an udderly satisfying way to wrap up the story.
As Byrd pointed out, contrasted with the decidedly unpleasant local, national and international stories that have dominated the past year, the missing cow tale comes off as a welcome respite for Greater Cincinnatians weary of bad news. ''If this is our major news story,'' he said, ''it speaks pretty well for Cincinnati.''
Publication date: 02-22-02*****
It immediately brought to mind a story that is on your website -- where you once walked around a train station and climbed over a wall to avoid a border checkpoint.
Here we have a cow who does precisely the same thing. It is in line to be slaughtered. It accurately assesses the situation: its violent death is certain and imminent if it does not take immediate, decisive action to preserve its life. Its only chance for salvation is to make an unexpected, clean break from the herd. So it suddenly bolts from the herd, clears a 6 foot fence, and makes a run for its life. AND SUCCEEDS.
In other words, it makes a highly successful, real life, nuts-and-bolts application of radical Freedom Technology as expounded for, lo, these several years, on the pages of BuildFreedom! It carries out YOUR own, avowed principles and FAR better than 99%+ of the (alleged) ahem... human beings who hang on your every word (or pretend to, at any rate).
Does that not indicate intelligence? A clear and overriding thirst for freedom? Does it not indicate a sentient being who can think and feel and cherishes its life? Who saw what was about to happen? Grocked the situation and made an on-the-spot decision to do whatever it took to live? Does not such a being deserve the respect that one accords to a fellow thinking, feeling being -- a sapient being? (In fact, the public reaction in Cincinnati de facto recognizes just this point and has instinctively, resoundingly answered in the affirmative: the cow deserves to live! Of course, this conclusion has implications for the other cows too -- implications which, however, have gone completely unexamined by the meat eaters of Cincinnati, for obvious reasons.)
While I have a great respect for many, if not most, aspects of the many freedom technologies and techniques you present on your website and in your various discussion lists, I question your meat eating (which presupposes the involuntary slaughter of numerous sentient life forms such as this cow) as a glaring contradiction of your professed beliefs. It has long puzzled me as to why you are blind to this -- perhaps because if you were to once admit it, it would open the floodgates to sweeping changes in your world view? Once one acknowledges that other forms of life on this planet are also sentient, freedom-loving beings -- it becomes necessary to accord them the same respect accorded to human beings -- and to refrain from intentionally killing them (and even from unintentionally killing them, where feasible).
When I was completing my Masters degree in Forestry I took a seminar in neo-tropical migratory birds (they play a little-noticed, albeit complex role in a wide variety of ecosystems). We read a stack of technical papers from the ornithological literature; it is an extensive, detailed and complex literature. Birds are not simple -- not at all. One article mentioned a species of finch -- the prototypical "tweety-bird." BUT -- a little bird for whom ornithologists recorded at least 400 distinct vocalizations. There could easily be more, since it is extremely hard to follow a wild bird everywhere it goes, month after month, and record and analyze its many vocalizations. The point was made in passing, mind you, but the author raised the parenthetical question as to whether or not a bird with several hundred distinct vocalizations might not well be said to be "talking," i.e., using language Of course, an ability to use language in context (and human language at that) has long been observed in certain species of domesticated tropical birds that are kept in cages in people's homes. The point is obvious. Birds give evidence of cognition, of feeling, i.e., they are sentient beings. And given the chance, many a bird or fowl will immediately flee the cage or coop (though not all, to be sure -- just like dumbed-down humans, they too can lose their innate freedom instincts after being caged and domesticated).
Anyway, point made. I do respect a great many aspects of your work -- and I look forward to continuing our association and working relationship! But on the meat-eating issue and the animal killing issue, I will tell you plainly: I see a glaring contradiction between what you say and what you do. I think you are dead wrong.
"Man, your head is haunted; you have wheels in your head! You imagine great things, and depict to yourself a whole world of gods that has an existence for you, a spirit-realm to which you suppose yourself to be called, an ideal that beckons to you. You have a fixed idea!" -- Max Stirner
See 'The Ego & His Own' -- "2.-- The Possessed" -- scroll about a quarter down the page for the section "Wheels in the Head."*****
"The reality of obsession -- its incessant return to the same few themes, scenarios and questions; its meticulous examination and re-examination of banal minutiae for hidden meanings that simply aren't there; the cancerous way an "idée fixe" usurps other, more interesting thoughts -- is that it is confining, not rebellious, and not fascinating but maddeningly dull." -- Laura Miller ("The Streetwalkers of San Francisco," New York Times, August 20, 2000)
Hector Berlioz: "Symphonie Fantastique"
The "idée fixe" (fixed idea), main theme in the first movement, recurs in every movement (thus the cyclic idea) and stands for the main character in the story of the symphony, the beloved. A recurring musical idea in a large, lengthy work such as a multi-movement program symphony like this one, or in a several-act opera, tends to remind the listener that the whole work belongs together. That the fixed idea is varied is part of the already-established repetition-with-variation as found in Schubert and Chopin, and becomes a basic tool of Theme Transformation by Franz Liszt, and of the recurring Leitmotives in the operas of Richard Wagner. [Adapted from http://www.asu.edu/cfa/classnotes/music/reynolds/MHL342/rom/berlioz.html.]
At issue in this report isn't whether my friend's position, that I'm "dead wrong" because I eat meat, is a rational position or not. The issue is whether or not he holds his position as an emotional, obsessive fixed idea. A related issue is whether, above, he communicates about his position in a way that is designed to bring about a beneficial outcome. Or is it more akin to an obsessive outburst triggered by the cow story? I'll leave it to the reader to evaluate and judge these issues.
Reading the book 'The Dice Man' by Luke Rhinehart may help one to discover and release fixed ideas.
From "Problems" by Peter and Helen Evans:
"Nothing is inherently a problem in the physical universe. Problems are a product of the mind. It is only when we add thoughts and opinions and feelings to a situation that it can become a problem. If we just experience and accept the situation the way it is, there is no problem. A problem is a failure to see what is actually there...
Mostly, choice is limited by preconceived ideas about things HAVING to be a certain way. You MUST behave in a certain way, you MUST uphold right ideas, you MUST respond correctly to events, things MUST be in a certain order, etc.
If we drive down the street with the fixed idea that one MUST always drive in the right lane, and another fellow comes the opposite way with the fixed idea that he MUST drive in the left lane, then we will get a problem. ...In the physical universe there is no problem, any of us could probably drive around each other and get on with our business. Only by having fixed ideas in our minds can we make a problem...
One can keep ideas fixed because they don't necessarily relate to the real world. One can make an idea separate from its context and pretend that it is an absolute truth...
You don't have to make more than a couple of fixed ideas before they start colliding with each other and with the real world. Anything with an "always," "never," "must," or "can't" in it will invariably collide with any evidence to the contrary. Likewise, but to a lesser extent, with a categorical belief that something IS a certain way, or any belief that some things are inherently "good" or "bad"."
"Scarcity," "no solutions," and "inevitability" can be devastating fixed ideas -- see #TL03D: Scarcity to Abundance; Poverty to Prosperity; Limited to Unlimited Thinking.
[Acknowledgment: The following text has been taken from the original at http://www.trans4mind.com/heart/tools06.html.]
Discovering Fixed Ideas
By Peter Shepherd
In practice, life for most of us falls far short of what it could be. We experience negative feelings and emotions - hate, pain, jealousy, grief. Our thinking can be distorted or even delusional, as when we grow paranoid about others' intentions or attitudes, or overly pessimistic about our own abilities and worth. Also, our behaviour can be destructive. Too often, in a fit of rage or despair, we say or do things we very soon come to regret. These unwanted aspects of life tend to fall in three categories:
Negative feelings - inappropriate attitudes, emotions, sensations and pains.
Distorted thinking - misconceptions, delusions and fixed ideas.
Dysfunctional behaviour - self-defeating compulsions or inhibitions.
Without these factors we would have a planet full of people who were basically happy, productive , and loving and helpful to one another; willing to give another their own space, to be tolerant of their differing views, beliefs and feelings. In the presence of these aberrative factors we have war, twisted relationships and broken dreams - in short, the human condition.
When a person adopts a safe solution to the problems he has achieving the survival, belonging and self-esteem needs of life, he clings to it as a new identity, and the ideas connected with this way of being become fixed. Because fixed ideas are not necssarily appropriate in changing circumstances, conflicts arise with others and mistakes and indiscretions occur about which the person feels guilt or shame. He may then seek to justify (rather than take responsibility for) these actions and so the ideas become further entrenched, causing long-standing problems and life stress, and greatly restricted tolerance and willingness to communicate with others. A person can become very out of touch, even with physical reality, and retreat into a schizophrenic unreality or depressive illness.
Sometimes past traumatic events are brought forward into the present by a similarity of circumstances. The excessive stimulation of the original event is regenerated by the current one. This restimulation can cause a reliving of the original emotional trauma and also a 'dramatisation' of the negative decisions and conclusions that may have been made as a result of the original incident; again the identity of the time is acted out, in a fixed way that is regardless of the changing curcumstances.
Restimulation also applies to factors mentioned above, such as certain situations in which fixed safe solutions are played out, or which remind of past misdeeds, or stressful situations, failures, or upsets with others. When you REACT you become a different person! You are taken over by a programmed identity/way of being, you are no longer objective nor truly sane.
A fixed idea may become an obsession, a compulsion or inhibition which is hard to keep at bay. This neurotic condition can deteriorate into psychosis if the individual is no longer aware of the behaviour problem, but is totally identified with the way of being that is unknowingly and reactively being dramatised.
A psychotic, even a child murderer, is still a person trying to do the right thing, but his solutions are inappropriate, hopelessly misguided and dramatised totally reactively, in a mechanical stimulus-response fashion, so the the real person - with his innate senses of ethics and empathy - is pretty much burried./p
These are the things of life, and every approach to therapy and development - whatever the intellectual waffle that surrounds the issues - has to deal with them to be effective.
Practical: Discovering Fixed Ideas
Finding fixed ideas is both a sport and an art, and not at all a rote procedure. The key way of tracking down the actual fixed ideas is by challenging any kind of logic your mind presents you with, demanding explanations and asking what is behind it. You need to be very direct and inquisitive. You don't waste time listening to stories or reactions that the mind throws up, you are after pieces of frozen logic. Some of the questions that can be useful for this are:
"Can you explain that?"
"What principle is behind that?"
You need to challenge or investigate the ideas you are most sure about, not the stuff you are aware of having problems and reactions about. These are some general questions that can be used to weed out fixed ideas:
You can also systematically go through what the you are doing in different aspects of your life. Consider how you go about things, what your routines and operating principles are. Notice what you are avoiding and how. Notice what isn't subject to change. Dig into it.
If you get hold of a clear-cut fixed idea, that you can see is something you've been holding onto blindly as a safe solution, these are a series of questions you can ask to help you release it:
Once you get a realisation and feel the fixed idea is released, do not continue asking these kind of questions; just let it go and move on - enjoy your new freedom of thought!
Fixed Ideas, Politics, and Economics
"If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual." -- Frank Herbert
There's something very important to realize about those who seek to "put and keep you in your place" so they can exploit you. If they can indoctrinate (brainwash?) you with a set of fixed ideas, they can turn you into an "obedient slave" who will do what you are told.
All of the above are fixed ideas. Political and Economic Correctness consist of sets of fixed ideas. The more you clear these fixed ideas from your mind, the more freedom and wealth is available to you. See:
by Mike Goldstein
Co-founder of Idenics
A fixed idea is simply something that is accepted without personal inspection. Since fixed ideas greatly limit a person's thinking and actions, inspecting these things can be quite rewarding. The above report provides some very good information on this subject as well as some tools to identify and deal with fixed ideas. Perhaps I can provide some things that will be of additional assistance to a person trying to explore these limitations.
You will notice that some of the questions given in Frederick's report address the subject of value. These sorts of questions are of particular importance as one of the primary aspects of fixed ideas is that most all of them have some apparent value to the person. Therefore, inspecting the apparent value of a fixed idea or how it serves you can be extremely helpful in letting go of that fixed idea.
It's important to also mention something about the subject of inspection, itself. One should make a distinction between "thinking" and "looking" when embarking on the activity of "inspection." The ability of "thinking" does have its place. If you were trying to figure out how to build an addition to your home, thinking about how you would go about that is appropriate. But in the kind of inspection we're talking about, thinking doesn't have much use. "Thinking about," "figuring out,", and "speculating about" don't have much use in this activity. You will find that "looking" is much more productive. By "looking" I simply mean, "noticing what is there." When I begin working with an Idenics client I always do the following drill to demonstrate the difference between "thinking" and "looking":
What if I were to ask you, "In the room that you are in, what are three objects that are red?" You could do one of two things. (1) You could close your eyes and think to yourself, "I think there was a red pen on the desk. I think there was some red in that picture." Or, (2) you could open your eyes and just look around. Of these two actions, which one would be more effective? The client then, always says, "Opening my eyes and looking around." And, this is the simplicity of what I'm talking about. Just look; notice what is there.
Fixed Ideas & Unwanted Conditions
I would be willing to bet that most people who read this report on "fixed ideas" find their attention going to the specific unwanted conditions or issues most plaguing them in their lives. They will apply the information and applications to those things that their attention is already on. Exploring the fixed ideas connected with the individual's particular situation may be very helpful. However, there is a somewhat insidious aspect to the fixed ideas that hold some unwanted condition in place. Not only can these fixed ideas be quite buried beneath other things, but also they may not appear to have anything to do with the subject or unwanted condition being addressed! And, no matter how extensive a list of types or categories of fixed ideas, what the person really needs to look at never surfaces. Here's an actual case example:
I once had a client come to me whose main issue dealt with public speaking; she couldn't talk in front of groups. Since the primary marketing of her business involved presentations to groups of people, this was an important issue for her to resolve. She coped by having someone else do the public speaking, but knew things would be much more successful if, as founder of her company, she were to do the speaking herself. She had spent years trying to resolve this issue. She'd read everything she could get her hands on regarding public speaking and the common barriers connecting with this subject. She'd done every seminar and workshop she could find on public speaking. She'd done years of various forms of therapy. But still, the problem persisted. In just a few sessions of Idenics the issue finally got resolved for her. The interesting thing was that the fixed ideas that held the condition in place had nothing, whatsoever to do with the subject of public speaking! And the obscure incident where this all started had never even come up in any of the previous work she had done, let alone been inspected!
This phenomenon is really fairly common, especially when related to the "heavier" sort of issues or unwanted conditions in a person's life. Over the past 15 years, I have found that Idenics facilitation usually works quite quickly to assist the person to resolve their issue. It's still the individual's inspection and looking that gets the job done, but the direct and not rote facilitation of an Idenics practitioner makes the individual's job fairly easy. There's enough work involved in just the client's looking to keep him/her plenty busy without having to also come up with and asking him/herself the appropriate questions, which in most cases, is almost impossible to do successfully.
I'm not asking you to "buy into" what I've said above. You know if you have certain unwanted conditions or issues that no matter what you've done don't resolve. And you don't have to believe that Idenics can help. Just give me a call and schedule a free introductory Idenics session and see the results for yourself. Most people do see changes in the first session and know they have done something that can really make a difference.
You can go to the Idenics website and e-mail Mike Goldstein from there. Or, you can call him at 1-800-IDENICS (433-6427). If you're out of Mike's calling area, you can reach him at 303-695-4940.
Here's a rather dramatic testimonial demonstrating a fixed idea that was virtually ruining a person's life:
"For as long as I could remember, I was an unhappy person. I always felt there was something "not quite right" with me. I got involved with many subjects and systems that I hoped would help, jumping into each with "both feet" and was as dedicated and honest as I could be with each one. I did years of traditional therapy as well as many non-traditional therapies including the entire bridge of Scientology, but always wound up in the same place: I saw others who seemed to get results but for me, nothing. Each time I would complete a subject I would think again that there must be something wrong with me that that subject didn't work on me, and move on to the next subject to find out what that "something" was.
When I finally came to Idenics I was at the end of my rope. And then, in the first session, it all resolved! When the session started, my attention went to an occasion when I was five years old. My first thought was, "Oh, not that thing again!" You see, that occasion had come up about 500 times in previous therapies I'd done and working on it never got me anywhere. But I took it up again, this time with Idenics, and the results were quite different.
I was a forceps birth, and after that the doctors were concerned that I had some kind of brain damage. So for years after, my parents kept bringing me to various specialists. It was later determined that I had no brain damage. But there was this one time, when I was five years old, when my parents had brought me for some examination. Afterwards, my father stayed inside to talk with the doctors and my mother took me out to the car. I got in the back seat and was just playing, not upset, just being a kid. My mother got in the front seat, slumped over the steering wheel, and started crying. This was quite a confusion for me. I thought to myself, "She's so upset, there must be something wrong with me. What's wrong with me?" Somehow, this got stuck, and stayed stuck until my Idenics session.
For hours after the session, things continued to blow off. I kept on seeing various things in my life since that occasion including all the subjects I've tried, and kept saying to myself and others, "What's wrong with me is WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!" And then, I'd just crack up and laugh for a while
It all seems so silly now, and I can't believe how such a seemingly insignificant thought could screw up so many years of my life! What was wrong with me is "WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME!" Amazing!" -- W.G.
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