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What Is Patterned Thinking?

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Pattern Thinkers (PT) are "Creatures of Habit," meaning they stereotype what they do. Stereotyping is a term of the printing business, derived from the invention in 1725 of a printing plate cast from a mold used to print in a uniform invariable way. Similar to how this metal plate is used over and over again to produce many exact copies is how a habit is formed. Such habits, when applied to emotional responses, people, or situations are assembly-line PT. A PT response is merely doing things without thinking--i.e. reacting to a happening without a reason; or paying attention to its details (as in thinking of people as "faceless"); or considering the consequences. Historically, many Black American "Creatures of Habit" reflect being socialized by Slave Survivals--whether within ones family or by ones community--to always do the same thing in the same way. The impact of African American slavery on the minds of Enslaved Africans was like a bomb-loaded airplane flying into a skyscraper building. This caused a shattering of practically all of African Traditions philosophies and ways of living. To illustrate with one example, the African Cosmic Law of Opposites (Principle IV) says a real thing is both identical in nature with its opposite but different in degree (e.g. light/dark). Every real thing (not man-made) is within Cosmic Wholism, is interdependent in its unified system, is harmoniously balanced, and is necessary to each other. Like two side of a coin, one side is meaningless without the other. However, slavery's impact was so devastating that in order to mentally "Escape," the Enslaved chose to deal with only one side of the coin. Such occurred from disconnecting the painful and suffering part of their Selfhood using (among others) Repression, "Dissociation," and Extreme Evasion (willful mental function disintegration)--each generating a Splintered Selfhood within ones Self-Absorbed state. Such a mindset in turmoil creates its own concepts, images, and name delusions, distortions, and fantasies that contain just enough pieces of the truth to be believed.

Meanwhile, out of the retained part of their Selfhood with which they consciously identified, sprang every conceivable method for surviving and enduring their daily hellish situation. Perhaps feeling a sense of Selfhood instability while "walking in the valley of the shadow of death" they were oriented to not wanting to "Disturb Thyself" any more than necessary, as in doing things not requiring any thought. Most "went along to get along." Many were in a state of apathy or having already "given up." Some did more than expected for the captors or failed to do things they really wanted in hopes there would be benefits. When these mindsets were passed down to today's struggling descendants, the most afflicted have maintained a disconnection from the outside world so as to not disturb their Selfhood and continue to engage in PT for handling problems present in activities of daily living.

PTs are easy to recognize. In Church a difference is noted between a spirited "Amen!" and the PT Amen. The spirited "Amen!" reflects the considered approval of the church member as a real response from recognizing something vital in ones life experience; from manners (respect shown by paying attention); from something one identifies with; from something indicating an awareness of this being serious business or has that potential; or from other nuances (seeing shades of differences) by means of Critical Thinking. PT Amen's lack these and instead give automatic, non-thinking, superficial, impulsive responses to the preacher's statement about black-eyed peas and corn bread. Otherwise, I see PT several times a month in trying to help Black youth stop going in a self-defeating direction; to leave the "Failure" realm; and/or to go forward on the positive scale. Their outstanding feature is lacking assertiveness in pursuing opportunities, as in "giving up" without trying or stopping shortly after beginning. If anything gets done to help them, I have to constantly pursue them.

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