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ConfidenceConfidence is the ability to handle emotional pressure without falling apart. Therefore, it only makes sense to talk about confidence within the context of emotion. Building confidence is like doing physical exercise. In order to become stronger, you have to use your muscles at the edge of their ability. Similarly, confidence grows when thinking is subjected to emotional stress and survives intact.

There are three types of confidence: Perceiver confidence knows which Mercy experiences are connected and which ones are not; Server confidence ties together Teacher words to builds sentences and paragraphs; Contributor confidence ties together Perceiver and Server memories.

The interaction between emotion and confidence can also take one of three forms:

1) Confidence is stronger than emotion. Here mental connections will survive intact and will be determined by active thought. This leads to rational and logical thought.

2) Confidence is weaker than emotion. When this happens, feelings determine connections; emotions mesmerize thought. There is no active processing. Instead, information is being accepted passively. This leads to blind faith and blind obedience.

3) Confidence and emotion are similar in strength. The result is confusion, because thinking is semi-awake. Confidence is not strong enough to work out connections and emotion is not intense enough to impose connections.

Now let us look at this in more detail:

Perceiver Confidence: Perceiver thought builds connections between Mercy experiences by looking for similarities and differences. This organizes experiences into groups and objects and arranges them into categories and maps.

For instance, suppose that I look at a cup, close my eyes for a few moments, open them and see the cup again. How do I know that the first and second cups are the same? Perceiver thought provides my mind with that knowing. But, isn’t it obvious that these two cups are the same? It is only obvious when Perceiver confidence is much greater than Mercy feeling. For the adult, that is usually true. However, if someone plays a shell game and moves the cups around really fast, then Perceiver confidence can be overwhelmed and will no longer know which cup is which. Similarly, for the small infant, it is exciting to play a game of ‘peek-a-boo’ because when an object disappears from view, Perceiver thought does not have sufficient confidence to know for sure that the object will reappear. For adults, this uncertainty only arises when viewing objects from strange angles or under unusual lighting. Look at a cup from the top or in a darkened room, and its identity may not be immediately apparent.

Finally, George Berkeley, the philosopher, pointed out that we can never be certain of anything. All we have is physical sensation; we don’t know if the cup is even there. The answer is to realize that only blind faith is 100% certain. Ironically, the only time that Perceiver thought is totally certain is when it is asleep, mesmerized by emotions. However, as soon as Perceiver strategy begins operating, then doubt becomes an issue. Building confidence brings this doubt down to manageable levels, but it never eliminates it completely. I may be 99.9999% certain that the two cups are the same, but there is always the finite possibility that maybe a second cup exists, or that someone moved the cups, or something similar. This is especially a problem for the Perceiver person, who is consciously aware of all of the secondary possibilities that could also be true.

Blind faith occurs when emotions overwhelm Perceiver thought. Because the mind of the infant is filled with emotional Mercy experiences, every child emerges from infancy with Perceiver thought mesmerized. Perceiver processing in the child may have sufficient confidence to deal with cups and other non-emotional objects, but when dealing with parents and other authority figures, or with deep loves or hates, then Perceiver strategy is totally mesmerized.

Blind faith and rational thought treat emotions in totally opposite ways. Blind faith needs strong feeling to remain certain. If Perceiver thought ever starts to wake up from its mental slumber and question ‘truth’, then blind faith will use strong feelings to re-mesmerize Perceiver strategy. For such a person, ‘truth’ is defined by important people and defining experiences. Rational thought, in contrast, is skeptical of emotional excess, because this threatens its ability to think clearly.

Blind faith also confuses facts with feelings. It knows because it feels, and it feels strongly about what it knows, and when it no longer knows, then it uses feeling to back up knowing: “My mind is made up; don’t confuse me with facts.”

Most people experience major personal confusion during their teenage years. On the one hand, their physical bodies have grown to the point where they no longer give automatic emotional status to every adult. And, Perceiver thought has developed sufficiently to be able to work out some facts on its own. On the other hand, their physical skills are still somewhat limited and their knowledge is still fairly restricted. As a result, Perceiver thought tends to be confused in many areas, no longer knowing who to believe, but unable to work out what is correct.

Server Confidence: Server strategy is the part of the mind that is responsible for moving the physical body, therefore most Server confidence relates to physical action. I may have sufficient Server confidence to walk across a narrow bridge if it is not too high above the ground, but if the bridge is too narrow, or the chasm is too deep, then the feelings will overwhelm Server confidence and I will be unable to carry out the task.

Server strategy is also responsible for assembling Teacher words into sentences and paragraphs. This ability can also be overwhelmed by emotional pressure. For instance, I may be able to talk clearly and organize my words properly when speaking to a single person, but become tongue-tied when addressing a large group, or talking to a pretty girl.

The Server examples that we have given so far all refer to Server strategy loses confidence and becoming confused. It is also possible for Server strategy to become mesmerized by emotional pressure.  For instance, this is what happens when a person follows instructions or obeys orders. As long as he is given precise steps and told exactly what to do, then Server strategy ‘knows’ what to do. But, if he has to deviate from the steps, or is asked to act on his own initiative, then he becomes confused. Such a person will remove his uncertainty by clinging more strongly to the instruction book, following the ritual or procedure even more carefully, and clutching on to the chain of command: “I am just following orders.”

Again we see two completely opposing views of instruction. Growing Server confidence will say, “Don’t tell me what to do. I can do it on my own. I want to make my own decisions.” Obedience, in contrast, says, “I am confused. Tell me what to do. Give me explicit instructions. I do not know how to do it by myself.”

Contributor Confidence: Contributor confidence builds upon Server and Perceiver thought. The result is that Contributor thought assumes Server and Perceiver confidence. Perceiver and Server thought treat confidence as an analog value, something that can vary in strength. Contributor thought, in contrast, sees Server and Perceiver confidence as something digital—either present or absent. Therefore, if a fact is sufficiently solid within Perceiver thought, then Contributor strategy will assume that this fact will always remain solid, and will be rather shocked if it suddenly crumbles.

Putting this another way, Perceiver facts and Server sequences set a context for Contributor strategy, a sort of mental ‘valley’ within which Contributor strategy functions. Contributor thought is very good at moving within the valley, exploring every aspect of the valley, and finding the best location in the valley, but has major problems seeing ‘over the hill’ or ‘around the corner’. 

Contributor thought builds connections between Server sequences and Perceiver facts. On the practical side, it adds Server actions to Perceiver facts about the real world; on the intellectual side, it adds Perceiver meanings to Server words and sentences. This is where Contributor confidence plays its role.

For instance, think of the Contributor businessman. He deals with objects that have value—Mercy experiences with associated Mercy feelings. Perceiver thought organizes these Mercy experiences into objects and builds connections between them: “This package contains a dozen eggs. That package contains a pound of butter. Here is a case of light bulbs.” Contributor thought then comes up with Server actions that relate to these Perceiver facts: “If I bring these eggs from the warehouse to the customer, then I can make ten cents a dozen. If I drop the price on the butter by five cents a pound, then I can move it from my store to peoples’ homes.”

Contributor knowing can also function in one of two ways. On the one hand, there is the confident Contributor. He does not tell other people what to do, but rather presents them with opportunities, confident that his network of Perceiver facts and Server actions is sufficient to guide the choices of others: “I don’t have to tell others what to buy. They can decide for themselves. If I provide the right products at the right price, everything will work out.”

On the other hand, there is also the controlling Contributor. For him, there is no freedom of choice. Instead, decisions are imposed by either him or others. He controls the flow of thought within his mind, and he controls the actions of people who surround him.

There is also an intellectual side to Contributor thought. Here, Contributor strategy adds Perceiver meaning to Server words and sentences. Abstract thought is not the easiest either to work out or to explain, but it appears that this type of thinking can also be driven either by confidence or control.

Think, for instance, of the person giving a lecture. The goal of the practical Contributor is to improve his ‘bottom line’—to improve Mercy feelings in a specific area. For the intellectual Contributor, his bottom line is Teacher understanding; he wants to understand and he wants his audience to understand. He starts with a verbal map of language, a network of Teacher words and Server grammar. He then uses Perceiver concepts to build Teacher understanding: “Let me tell you about cars. A car needs fuel. A car drives on a road. A car is built out of steel. A car is driven by an individual. Do you understanding the meaning of each of these phrases. OK. Now, put these concepts together. What can we learn about the transportation industry? What sort of society will use cars?”

Intellectual Contributor thought can also operate with either control or confidence. The controlling speaker sticks with his notes. He is afraid to say anything spontaneous. He does not want any questions from the audience. He has a single path mapped out for his talk, and he is afraid that if he gets off the path that he will lose control of his audience or enter some mental territory where he lacks understanding. When he is rattled, then he clings more closely to his notes. Similarly, the controlling manager tells his employees exactly what to do. He dictates every step that they take and feels threatened when they take any initiative, because he fears that freedom will disrupt Teacher order.

The confident speaker, in contrast, speaks spontaneously. He has not written down every phrase. He also welcomes comments from the audience because they will extend his mental map and allow him to come up with new and better ways of delivering his message. Likewise, the confident boss also gives freedom to those who are under him, because he is confident that the structure that he has set up will be sufficient to preserve the order of the organization. And, he welcomes initiative from others because he knows that this can lead to improved efficiency, which will add to the overall Teacher order.