字幕表 動画を再生する 英語字幕をプリント In order to understand what effortless action is you have to understand what effort is and what effort feels like. And I think the best way to do that is the so-called stroop test. So we're gonna flash a word on the screen and you should say aloud the color that it's printed in. We don't care what the word says, just the color. So here it goes. All right. So that was probably fairly easy. Did it fast. You had no confusion. I'm gonna flash another word now. Same thing. Only want to know the color it's in. We don't care about what it says. So unless you're some kind of space alien, you paused or you said the wrong thing. You said green or you said gr-red. So that kind of feeling of having to stop yourself and override a natural reaction and then impose another reaction, that's cognitive control. That's effort. And I understand very well from a cognitive science perspective how this works. So part of your brain is detecting conflict between the parts of your brain that recognize color and the parts that can read English if you're a native English speaker. And those two are in conflict so the ACC, anterior cingulate cortex says danger, danger, we've got to resolve this conflict. And then the prefrontal cortex, lateral prefrontal cortex is brought in to resolve this issue. All of that takes a lot of time so that feeling of effort you have, the -- it took you longer the second time. This gives you a sense of both what cognitive control -- what effort feels like and also the limitations of it. Because it's hard you're actually a little bit fatigued after you do that once. So in doing a stroop test then has less self-control. And if you then offer them carrots versus cookies as a snack, even if they're on a diet, they'll go for the cookies. You self-control that effort draws energy down when we use it. And so this is why spontaneity is so important because if we had to go through our lives exerting effort and cognitive control all the time we'd be basket cases before the day was through. Wu wei is an early Chinese term that means literally no doing or no trying. But I think a better translation is effortless action. And it's the central spiritual ideal for these early thinkers I look at. So the Confucians and the Daoists. And what it looks a little bit like flow or being in the zone as an athlete. So you're very effective. You're moving through the world in a very efficient way -- social world and physical world. But you don't have a sense of doing anything. You don't have a sense of effort. You don't have a sense of yourself as an agent. You kind of lose yourself in the activity you're involved in. And you're not only efficacious in terms of skill in the world. You also have this power that the early Chinese call -- unfortunately the Mandarin pronunciation is duh which sounds kind of funny. It's this energy you kick off, an aura that you kick off when you're in a state of wu wei. And this is why these early thinkers want wu wei because for both of them, the Confucians and the Daoists it's the key to political and spiritual success. So if you're a Confucian getting into a state of wu-wei gives you this power duh. And this allows you to attract followers without having to force them or try to get them to follow you. People just spontaneously want to follow you. If you're a Daoist it's what relaxes people, puts them at ease and allows you to move through the social world effectively without harm. So everybody wants this because it's a very -- it's the key to success. But they're all involved in this tension then of how do you try to be effortless. How do you try not to try. So the first strategy is the early Confucian strategy which I refer to as carving and polishing strategy which is essentially you're gonna try really hard for a long time. And if you do that eventually the trying will fall away and you'll be spontaneous in the right way. So you practice ritual, you engage in learning with fellow students and eventually somehow at some point you make the transition from trying to having internalized these things you're learning and being able to embody them in an effortless way. The second strategy, the uncarved block or going back to nature strategy is the Daode jing or the primitivists Daoists. And they essentially think the Confucian strategy is doomed. If you are trying to be virtuous, if you're trying to be a Confucian gentleman, you're never gonna be a Confucian gentleman. Anyone trying to be benevolent is never gonna actually be benevolent. They're just gonna be this hypocrite. And so their strategy is undo all this learning that you've been taught. So get rid of culture, get rid of learning, actually physical drop out of society. So they want you to go live in the countryside in a small village. It looks a lot like kind of 1960s hippie movement, you know. Back to nature and get rid of technology. Get rid of all of the bad things that society has done to us. there's good points to this strategy, too. One of the main insights I think of the Daoists, these early Daoists is a way in which social values, social learning can corrupt our natural preferences. So we're, you know, body images in advertising teach women that they have to be anorexic if they're attractive. We're taught that we always need to have the latest iPhone. So, you know, we have a perfectly good iPhone but then we see the new iPhone and suddenly our old iPhone isn't good anymore. And there's a lot of good literature on this in psychology on the hedonistic treadmill. We're never quite happy with what we have. As soon as we get it we want the next thing. And the Daode jing thinks Confucianism encourages that. And the solution to get off that hedonistic treadmill was to just stop and go back to nature and be simple. So that's the uncarved box strategy. Then another Confucian comes along named Mencius and he's essentially trying to split the difference between the Confucians and the Daoists. So he says we have these tendencies -- so this is to cultivate the sprout strategy. So we have these innate potentials to be virtuous that are inside of us but they're fragile, they need help, they need to be watered and weeded. He uses an agricultural metaphor which does a lot of work for him. So you need to put effort in, you need to try but you also can't force it. And his famous story about forcing it is this farmer who is unhappy because of his crops aren't growing fast enough. So he goes out in the field and pulls on the sprouts to try to get them to grow faster and pulls them out of the ground and kills them. You can't try too hard. You have to try in a way that goes along with your natural tendencies and strengthens them and guides them. So that's the Mencian strategy cultivating the sprouts. And then finally there's a Daoist I look at the end who's named Zhuangzi who thinks that the early Confucian strategy's misguided. That the primitivist reaction against it is also misguided. Because both of them are convinced they're right and they know the right way people should live. And Zhuangzi says we just don't know essentially. And the only way to live properly is to make your mind completely empty and let the Dao, the way, pull you along. So he has this idea that we have a force inside of us called the spirit that is of heavenly origin and is normally repressed by our mind but we can get in touch with it. And when we get in touch with it it guides us through the world in the proper way. So the famous story from the Zhuangzi is is butcher Ding who's cutting up this ox and it falls apart on the ground and it just looks like he's doing nothing. And the Lord is witnessing the ceremony. He says, "How do you do this." And he says, "I don't do anything. All I do is I shut down my senses. I shut down my rational mind and I let -- as he says -- my spiritual desires carry me along. But essentially the spirit guides him into the proper way to act. And so the Zhuangzi strategy is a letting go or forgetting. Just kind of clearing your mind with the idea that the world will take you in the right way. So if you want to learn more there are these four basic strategizes that the early Chinese developed for obtaining spontaneity. And I'm gonna walk through each of those four and talk about both why they make sense from a religious philosophical perspective and also why they make sense from a modern cognitive scientific perspective. And also why no one of them is actually 100 percent effective at all times for all people. Why we'd need actually a grab bag of strategies to pull from because no one of them is actually fully successful.