An opinion about reality that cannot be changed by any contrary evidence or persuasion.

This applies to anyone close-minded and stubborn enough to say, "Not only do I think I'm right, but no amount of evidence will ever convince me that I'm wrong." Technically speaking, refers to a basic cognitive activity where invariant perceptions become permanently encoded by the nervous system--even after the sense data do begin to vary. Usually this is sound evolutionary practice: e.g. if I cognitively commit to the fact that apples are edible, I'll have an easier time nourishing myself than if I had to rediscover the apple every time. I first heard this phrase used by Deepak Chopra in a lecture of which the following is an excerpt:

It's a phenomenon that psychologists call Premature Cognitive Commitment. Premature, because we make it at a very early stage of our development. Cognitive, because that's how we cognize or see the world. And commitment, because it fixes us to a particular reality, it imprisons us in a fixed mode of perception.

In India, when they train elephants, they take the baby elephant and tie it with an iron chain to a huge tree. Then they start reducing the size of the chain and the tree. Ultimately you can tie the elephant which a big animal now, with a flimsy rope to a green plant but the elephant is unable to escape. It's made a commitment in its body-mind that it's in a prison!

Or you can do another simple experiment. Take some flies and put them in a jar. After a while remove the lid from the jar and you'll find that most of the flies, except for a couple of pioneers, will not be able to escape. They make a commitment in their body-mind that they're in a prison.

People will tell you who work in aquariums that you can separate fish from each other. They're in big glass tanks and the separations are transparent glass partitions. You can remove the glass partition after a while. The fish will swim to the edge of where the partition was and return. They made a commitment that that's as far as they can go.

All these experiments, and there are many variations of these, are pointing to a very crucial fact as far as the mechanics of perception is concerned. And that is that our initial sensory experiences and how we interpret them or how they are interpreted for us actually structure the very anatomy and physiology of our nervous system in such a way that ultimately the nervous system serves only one function: to keep reinforcing the initial interpretation. Anything that doesn't reinforce the initial interpretation doesn't even get into the nervous system. So if you don't have a concept or a notion or an idea that something exists, then your nervous system won't even take it in.

- Dr. Deepak Chopra, M.D. at the Seattle Center, May 18, 1991

This perfectly describes the World's Greatest Logical Fallacy believed by most humans on this planet:

Because the world has been like this for as long as I can remember, it will continue to be like this forever.
Or perhaps a political example is in order. You might call this one Premature Candidate Commitment:
For as long as I can remember, the position of President of the United States has been held by a male Democrat or male Republican; therefore this will continue to be so forever.
We are the flies in the jar folks! We are in a wall-less prison of our own design; a ten thousand year-old game of Pretend called History. Only we've forgotten that it's a game.

Questions must be asked:

  • Are you unable to read minds, fly, walk through walls and manifest physical objects because it's absolutely impossible? or because it goes against the rules taught to you since you were born and you've cognitively commited to them?
  • Are we really on the verge of the Singularity when all the rules will be re-written?
  • Awaken! magicians and dreamers. The Universe doesn't have laws, it has habits.

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