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Second-Order Thinking

9 Basic Thinking Errors


Second-Order Thinking Is Helpful or Hurtful


First-Order vs. Second-Order Thinking

  • First-order thinking is any type of thinking that is about something other than thinking itself.
  • Second-order thinking is thinking about thinking.

Second-Order Thinking Helpful

  • Second-order thinking can be helpful, productive, and enlivening.
  1. Analysis is a form of second-order thinking that uses thinking to look for patterns, drives, and meaning in other thinking.
  2. Contemplation is a form of second-order thinking that using thinking to understand thinking.
  3. Deconstruction is a form of second-order thinking that breaks thinking down into parts for analysis.
  4. Detaching is a form of second-order thinking that distances the person from the thinking.
  5. Interpretation is a form of second-order thinking that attempts to make sense of other thinking.
  6. Introspection is a form of second-order thinking that investigates and examines thinking with thinking.
  7. Mediation is a form of second-order thinking that uses thinking to observe and follow out thinking.
  8. Negation is a form of second-order thinking that refuses some thinking based on its being false.
  9. Reframing is a form of second-order thinking that intends to view and understand some thinking in a more productive way.
  10. Testing or disputing is a form of second-order thinking that challenges or verifies some thinking.
  • Analysis, contemplation, introspection, and meditation can be helpful or harmful depending upon how they are executed.

Second-Order Thinking Hurtful

  • The common forms of invariable harmful and hurtful second-order thinking all involve trying to control thinking with thinking.
  1. Thinking trying to control thinking fails every time.
  2. Thinking trying to change thinking fails every time.
  3. No thought has ever been controlled or changed by another thought.

Any claims for a thought being controlled or changed by another thought can be instantly disproved by recalling that supposedly changed or controlled thought.

  1. It will return in its original form.
  2. You might have put other thoughts around and over it, but it is still exactly as it was at first.
  • Avoid trying to change, control, fix, or work on thinking with thinking.

Failed Second-Order Thinking Handled with Repression

  • Once people become stressed and weary from trying to change or control thinking with thinking, then they repress or suppress that thinking.
  1. Repression and suppression make the thinking unavailable to productive second-order processes.
  2. Repression and suppression make the thinking unavailable to consciousness, but they do not stop it from continuing.
  3. Repression and suppression make problems unrecognizable, not nonexistent.

Consider Negative Thinking

  1. The first level or order of negative feeling, thinking, or behaving is simple and weak.
  2. The second level or order of negative feelings, thinking, or behaving is complicated and strong.
  3. The first level is just a temptation or a passing whim.
  4. The second level is trying to change or control the first level or another second level about the first level.
  5. The second order is stronger because we identify and intend stronger with it thereby making it a deeper and darker energy force.
  • The cure is worse than the illness.
  • Trying to fix problems with thinking is your biggest problem.

Notes on Second-Order Thinking

The result of thinking about thinking when it is trying to change or control behaving or thinking is to keep you focused on what you don’t want to be focused on.

  • Acting on thinking about it, is not acting on it.
  • Acting on images and concepts of it, is not acting on it.
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