Social Consciousness Pedagogy
by Charles Pidgeon
MainSpring Books

"Recognizing that the world was built by people using their minds facilitates social reform from being primarily guided by money considerations."

Pidgeon's dive into an understanding of the mind, particularly social consciousness, delivers an educational experience that is both comprehensively researched in the areas of psychology and neuroscience and geared to help people better understand the inner workings of their brains regarding their own life situations, challenges, and formation of belief systems. While the material is undoubtedly complex, as expected, the author is committed to illustrating the scientific concepts through the lens of universally relatable examples, including but not limited to effective parenting and overcoming alcoholism.

With a key focus on universal social wisdom, which can take the form of guidance or inspiration, Pidgeon emphasizes the need to understand the social constructs because "human behavior is clearly determined by what the brain constructs and loads in one's conscious mind." Interestingly, the brain's processing is compared to a film in how we interpret the world as a continuous frame per second. Digging deeper, the author explores whether the brain is not just digesting sensory responses but also if it can anticipate what will happen next in a person's particular reality. For instance, if a patient in a dental office is viewing a needle, they may flinch in preparation for the pain, even if the needle hasn't actually made contact yet with the mouth. More than anything else, the author appears to make a direct connection between the brain and reality, with the mind constantly using its platform to ask questions and probe deeper into reality.

In discussing reality and the various social constructs, the text makes one of its most emphatic points: "God" on U.S. currency should be replaced with trusting the "mind" to align with a far more spiritually conscious world that does not necessarily equate spirituality to religion. Using a series of prominent, age-old religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, Pidgeon's research and analysis establish that religion is the intersection of brain function and cultural constructs and beliefs. Moreover, the author dissects the most vulnerable and fearsome aspect of a human's life—change—and attempts to help readers understand not to wallow in what they cannot control. Instead, they should seize what they can control with ferocity despite one's "prealities," a term coined to represent a person's personal reality.

By adopting the human social wisdom premise, Pidgeon essentially provides a pathway to avoid any discrimination that could occur due to one's religious affiliations and others' upbringing rooted in their pre-conceived notions. In particular, the author's suggestion of charging a two-penny tax on all credit card transactions has the potential to create immense ripple effects that will ultimately help individuals recognize the sheer strength and power of the human mind and provide a tangible treasure trove of resources to create social change. The idea of nature versus nurture is also prevalent in understanding Pidgeon's teachings on learned behavior versus that which is innate. Taking the example of children, Pidgeon provides insight confirming that the development of the brain simply does not allow children under the age of three to five to fully grasp the concept of God as anything more than an abstract entity.

Centered on love, unified connectedness, and altruism, Pidgeon's guidance on social wisdom and social navigation is supported by poignant examples of one's identity and self-esteem, among others, as depicted in vignettes where a son or daughter is coming out as LGBTQ. Shame, guilt, and self-esteem jeopardize the growth of consciousness if not addressed promptly. Whether it is using mosquitoes to establish his premise on the embodied mind or examining the prospective trauma resulting from a student transitioning to a new school and having trouble making new friends, Pidgeon has a knack for simplifying complex topics using diagrams, analogies, extensive research, and timely examples that resonate with readers.

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