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  • Chris Kent

"Cogniostasis"


"Cogniostasis." Interesting word. Don't bother looking it up in the dictionary because it isn't there. My friend, Pete Sisco, who is a leading expert on strength and fitness training, as well as author on several best-selling books on the subject, coined the term himself.

The term "homeostasis" refers to the body's ability to maintain biologic equilibrium or stability when conditions vary from normal. It is always seeking a state of balance. According to Pete (and I agree with him one hundred percent), many people's beliefs seem to operate in a similar manner. Tell them something that makes them feel uncomfortable or out of harmony with what they 'believe' and they'll tend to push back against it so they can keep believing what they're used to believing -- staying within their normal conditions. This is what he means by cogniostasis. Cogniostasis is not "skepticism," because skepticism is actually a very rigorous philosophical discipline that involves careful, objective scrutiny and the use of scientific methods.

How does cogniostasis make its presence known? As a kind of "fixed" or "locked-in" thinking or perception; a refusal to look at any other sources or listen to any new or varying opinions, and a reluctance or resistance to change. This can occur both in individuals and in groups of individuals. Some people (or groups) become so rigidly fixed in a belief or a set way of doing something that they ignore or refuse the opportunities for growth that change offers them.

How do we counter cogniostasis? If a new thought or idea challenges something we believe, rather than immediately fighting against it, we should take the time to examine it to see if there is truth in it, and what applicability it may have for us. But we must be careful not to look at it through any lens of conditioning we might have, looking to merely support our own current view or belief or disagree with the other. We need to try to look at it clearly and without any form of prejudice or preconceived ideas.

Cogniostasis can block us from new ideas, new thoughts, and new perspectives. It can prevent us from growing and moving forward. We need to maintain fluidity in our thinking as well as independence of thought and inquiry. Keep in mind the ancient Chinese proverb, "Be not afraid of growing, be afraid only of standing still."

Walk On!


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