Natural Laws and Elephants

Magnets. Remember when you first discovered magnets?

They defied gravity. If you pried one piece loose and then let it go, it snapped home.

You read, “objects that are attracted by magnets have similar properties,” and thought, yeah, like attracts like.

In school you learned why. Some of it, anyway. Poles. You learned to think about bigger magnets and then you learned concepts with ‘isms” on the ends of words.

Some guys had magnetism. A few girls, too. People were drawn to them. Mainly people like them. That explained social cliques and church groups and such.

Could magnetism affect the flow of money?

Of power? Power attracts power.

If you were to stand on top of the World Trade Center before it was blown up and had eyes that could see the flow of magnetism you would remember your childhood experiments with magnets. And you would fully understand the natural law of attraction as well as you understand the law of gravity.

Now you recognize that you are a magnet attracting “like” into your life. What you think and are every day is what you attract.

That’s a tough truth to swallow. Here’s how to attract the good stuff:

Forgive yourself at least twice a day.

Forgive what? you may ask if you think you haven’t done anything wrong since you gave up shoplifting at thirteen.

The elephant, that’s what.

David Brooks of the New York Times writes about the current distinctions between “the conscious, intentional parts of the mind and the backstage automatic parts. The best metaphor for this division comes from Jonathan Haidt’s wise book, ‘The Happiness Hypothesis.’ Imagine, he writes, a boy riding an elephant. The boy is the conscious mind, the prefrontal cortex and such. The boy can plan ahead. The elephant is the unconscious part of the brain. It produces emotions and visceral reactions. It processes information and forms intuitions.

“These days scientists are spending a lot of time trying to understand the elephant. In ‘Blink’ Malcolm Gladwell describes how the elephant can pick up and process information, and even draw instant conclusions before the boy is aware of what he is seeing.

“In ‘Social Intelligence,’ Daniel Goleman describes how elephants talk to each other while scarcely letting the boys in on the conversation. Fear, laughter, and other emotions can sweep through crowds before the individuals in the crowds understand what’s going on.

You see, as Robert Brooks writes, “the elephant is the repository of tacit knowledge. Tacit knowledge is procedural. It’s knowing how, not what. It’s knowing how to listen, how to see, how to organize what you see.

“The elephant doesn’t acquire its knowledge from self-conscious study. The elephant absorbs information from the environment. The neural architecture of the brain is shaped by experiences and habits, often during the sensitive periods of early life.”

Lately a couple of celebrities have apologized publicly and profusely for insults they had shouted from their elephants. I wonder if they forgave them.

The elephant is a magnet, too. If you forgive your elephant twice a day, you will soften him. He will then attract more of what you want into your life.

There are many people who guarantee that. I know some of them personally.