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Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

Experience, Discipline & Thin-Slicing


Gladwell says this on pg. 97 of Blink:

Our first impressions are generated by our experiences and our environment, which means that we can change our first impressions - we can alter the way we thin-slice - by changing experiences that comprise those impressions... Taking rapid cognition seriously - acknowledging the incredible power, for good and ill, that first impressions play in our lives - requires that we take active steps to manage and control those impressions.

I would tend to agree with this. Isn't this truly what we mean when we talk about spiritual disciplines, community environment and accountability, what we expose the "eye" and the "ear" to, and how we are shaped by our experiences and our culture. I am certainly not one to ever be blamed for retreat from culture or one who thinks we need to sanitize our lives from the world, but I do think that training the heart and soul through serious mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual exposure to the things that good, honorable, pure, beautiful, and godly is key in training our subconscious in order that our first impressions as well as other thin-slicing would be subconsciously godly.

I can't seem to find it right now, but recently I read something by Dallas Willard in which he was talking about the spiritual disciplines as training that would allow us to act as Christ would naturally because we have had Christ formed "in us." We might take muscle memory as an example. When athletes or musicians train their muscles to react with a memory because the discipline of repeated action, they can act perfectly without the thought because they have trained their muscles. I would say that the subconscious that allows us to thin-slice can also be trained with muscle recognition through repeated exposure to goodness, godliness, and righteousness.

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