Proper Thinking

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Scientism – Science as a Religion

Science began with the Sumerians (c4100-1750 BCE), Babylonians (c2000 – 200 BCE) and Greeks (c500 BC – 170 AD). They accounted for wondrous observations and theories that to us seem utterly incredible for “ancient” civilizations. These treasures of knowledge and discovery were snuffed out by the dark ages in Europe (c500 – 1000 AD) due to the rise and dominance of Roman Catholicism. Science lay dormant for centuries until its revival by the scholars of […]

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Independent Thinking

There’s a form of thinking that I feel we would all benefit from throughout our lives. I refer to it as Independent Thinking (or Free-Thinking).   Some of the major features of this approach are: An unquenchable thirst for knowledge and Truth – regardless of where it leads. Deciding to think outside the norm, beyond what the herd “thinks.” Understanding that the Mainstream (Corporate) Media are pushing propagandist narratives/spin and have zero concern with Truth

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Start Now!

I spent an unnecessary portion of my life mired in a lack of confidence, indecision and procrastination. Once I got into my mid- to late-30s and into my 40s I started my road to self-discovery, questioning everything, and realizing I was letting others (and myself) manipulate me into a spongy state of limbo-life —- a chaotic pinball bouncing from one bumper to another, aimlessly ricocheting through life with no clear direction. The books I began

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Knowledge of our ignorance

The more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know – or at least, cannot be certain. Those that spout certainty cannot possibly hold enough knowledge to even pretend to be aware of their profound ignorance. “The more we learn about the world, and the deeper our learning, the more conscious, specific, and articulate will be our knowledge of what we do not know, our knowledge of our ignorance. For this, indeed, is the

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Intelligence isn’t knowing everything . . .

“You must always be willing to truly consider evidence that contradicts your beliefs, and admit the possibility that you may be wrong. Intelligence isn’t knowing everything, it’s the ability to challenge everything you know.” — Unknown I’m unsure who this quote can be attributed to, but it’s a powerful statement. For those of us truth-seeking individuals, we need to actively look for evidence that blows our foundational beliefs out of the water. Present me with

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The Law of Attraction

In 2006 a DVD was released called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I’m not even sure how I became aware of this video, but at some point that year I bought and watched it  – –  several times. This was my mid-forties (age-wise) and fairly close to my initial uber-launch of seeking, discovering and growing.  I still have the DVD in my library and re-watch it periodically for inspiration and re-affirmation. The world inundates you

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Truth & Reality

I previously wrote a brief article regarding Reality but for this entry I want to delve a bit deeper into what I’m really after when I speak of “Truth” and/or “Reality.”  Starting in my late-30s I began a road to discovery (both internal and external). I began to question, to wonder, to investigate. Much of it had to do with the wonders of nature, the universe, science, history, philosophy, and cultural norms, but it also

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Skepticism or Pseudoskepticism?

Science and our understanding of how nature works has always been an evolving process over the centuries. Even with the frustrations of paradigm science and the attempts to drag orthodoxy begrudgingly along to adopt new solid discoveries & theories, progress is eventually made. As we humans continue to seek and discover newfound knowledge, there is always a blockade to progress presented by those who call themselves Skeptics but actuality are Pseudoskeptics These enforcers of the

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Cause & Effect (Causality/Causation)

I was going to make a simple post about the basic concept of Cause & Effect (also referred to as “Causation” and/or “Causality“).  My intent was more-or-less a common-sense discussion of how decisions (individual and/or social/political) affect results. Yet, when you attempt to search online for topics related to any of these terms, there’s a myriad of hyper-academic papers and incoherent intelli-talk about a myriad of nonsensical details. All of it so complex and disconnected

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Critical Thinking

We all think. But do we think well? Accurately? Proficiently? Correctly? Astutely? Properly? Objectively? In all actuality most of us barely operate at anything above basic knee-jerk emotional responses. Psychologists and philosophers would consider it something akin to unconscious thought. I wouldn’t even agree that it should be called “thinking.” A more accurate name for it would be “GarbageThink.” It’s fraught with errors, biases, prejudices, unfounded beliefs, stupid assumptions, educational/cultural indoctrination & peer pressure, as

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Burdon of Proof

Onus of the Burden of Proof

When it comes to intellectual argument and debate, there’s a philosophical concept known as the “Burden of Proof” that should (when observed properly) direct the debate at hand.  Argument is truth-seeking and is concerned with leading us to hold true and accurate beliefs/assumptions – and therefore rejecting false beliefs. Lazy thinking and sloppy argumentative technique usually rule the day however. If you have any concern for Proper Thinking you’ll want to understand this often-misapplied concept.

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Intellectual Integrity

What Is Intellectual Integrity? Do you have an internal desire to uncover truth – real truth? Do you care about the accuracy of your knowledge, beliefs and claims? Does it bother you if you might be professing knowledge that’s wrong? Does reality matter to you? Do you feel the pursuit of truth deserves a thorough, honest approach and analysis? If so, then you definitely resonate with the concept of Intellectual Integrity. Intellectual Integrity has everything

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The Benefits Of Being An Autodidact

What is autodidacticism and what can it mean for you being an autodidact? “Stack of Old Books” by Austin Kirk is licensed under CC BY 2.0 What’s an autodidact? Autodidactism is the process of self-learning, also called self-education.  An autodidact is a person who chooses (on their own) to identify a subject of interest and then learn everything possible about it; preferably researching and studying it in an objective manner.  It can be pursued as

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Conformity

I could write a long article about Conformity, but really … what could be more convincing than this representative example? (video: Brain Games – Conformity (Waiting Room) ) Peer Pressure We are pressured and convinced through a lifetime of social conditioning to conform, get along, go along, agree with, regardless of the rationality. This isn’t complicated. You will have a natural tendency to conform to the group – the majority.  You simply need to have

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Social Conditioning

Related very closely to the concept of Groupthink is a process called Social Conditioning .  However, where Groupthink relates to cognitive issues in a small group, Social Conditioning is concerned more with broad social implications – typically nationwide. Definition: Social conditioning is the sociological process of training individuals in a society to respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society. Manifestations of social conditioning are vast, but

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Groupthink

In a continuing series of articles regarding barriers to Proper Thinking let’s address Groupthink. “Where all think alike, no one thinks very much.”  – Walter Lippmann What is Groupthink? Wikipedia:  “Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation

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Dogma

What is Dogma? Dogma is any ideology that demands of its followers unquestioned loyalty and faith.  Faith in its doctrines . . . in its leaders . . . in its proclamations.  Behind its ‘scripture’ may stand elements of truths – some of which can (and are) useful at times.  However, it demands no questioning of its current tenets – particularly by laypersons and “outsiders.”  Violators of this edict are either ignored and/or ridiculed and

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Don’t Believe Everything You Think

I saw this on a car’s bumper sticker today: “Don’t Believe Everything You Think” It definitely struck me and resonated with what I continually try to focus upon.  Always question your basic beliefs and assumptions.  Objectively (truly objectively) look at all points of an argument or belief.  Use the Clinical Attitude whenever possible. Embrace intellectual integrity and be willing to admit that beliefs you’ve held for many years may be wrong when you’re presented with

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“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. . .

I love this quote: “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”  – Buckminster Fuller (Featured image by Steve Yelvington on Wikimedia Commons, licensed by Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

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Walking Question Mark

Rosicrucians, because of their world view of questioning everything, are frequently known as Walking Question Marks.  Some applicable quotes from the monograms include: “A true Rosicrucian is a walking question mark.” “A lack of explanations or obscure statements never satisfy a Rosicrucian.” “This is the spirit of the Rosicrucian – a person who is not so quick to accept as truth that which they are told is truth.  Rather, a Rosicrucian is one who is

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The Clinical Attitude Toward Arguments by Peter Suber (an Incredible Truth Tool!)

I first ran across this article in 2008 and was struck by it’s simple yet deeply accurate assessment of critical thinking.  With many things in life, as I grow older the discoveries I made years ago that struck me at the time as extremely important are many times now less inspiring.  However, THIS article is not one of them. 🙂 Peter Suber’s 1,065 words reflect the best representation of intellectual integrity as anything I’ve read

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Reality

You’ll find I periodically state, “Don’t deny reality.”  What does that mean and why is it important? What is Reality?   (basic definition) As it relates to the way I use it when I say, “Don’t deny reality,” I mean it from the simple perspective of Knowledge Adventuring: If you have facts and/or a preponderance of evidence staring you in the face, don’t delude yourself by denying its existence. Don’t ignore it.  Don’t default to Cognitive

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Cognitive Dissonance

Another critical barrier to “Proper Thinking” and intellectual integrity is the theory of Cognitive Dissonance. It’s important to understand that this cognitive weakness can be the reason for us to default to other barriers to accurate thinking such as Confirmation Bias and Rationalization. As part of our Knowledge Adventuring it will always serve us well to be aware of these thinking biases and adapt our attitude and approach to the pursuit of enlightenment and truth.

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Rationalization

Another personal impediment to “Proper Thinking” is Rationalization.  If we want to improve our intellectual integrity and thinking prowess we need to be on guard from making rationalizations. What is it? I like Neel Burton’s definition: The use of feeble but seemingly plausible arguments either to justify something that is difficult to accept (sour grapes) or to make it seem ‘not so bad after all’ (sweet lemons). We do something not so smart (a bad

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Confirmation Bias

This post, my inaugural entry to deal with one of the many specifics of “Proper Thinking,” will be devoted to Confirmation Bias. With regards to the How, Why and What of thinking, this falls into  How – honestly acknowledging a barrier to proper thinking in order to adapt and refine our adventuring path towards the pursuit of Truth. The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or

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Proper Thinking – Realizing I Don’t Think Correctly

Poor Thinking Most people cruise through life with nary a thought about thought. And, really, why bother thinking about how well, or poorly, you think? What difference does it make?  That depends, really. Do you care if others think you’re stupid? Do YOU care if you look stupid? More importantly, do you care if you ARE stupid? Or the converse . . . do you worry people might think you’re too smart?  Will they treat

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What is Knowledge Adventuring?

If I had to identify the most critical element of the shaping of my life and persona, it has to be my passion for the pursuit of truth/accuracy/reality.  At first I thought this was something that came about in my thirties. However, over the years in doing various exercises to identify my true mission and purpose in life, I realize I’ve always been hugely concerned with identifying, understanding and conveying what was truthful and accurate

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