Daily Archives: Wednesday, 15:56, September 15, 2010
I have just as much of a tendency to fool myself by making assumptions as anyone else does, for I have the same general sort of bipedal hominid brain they do…
I do it all the time when I’m not careful, as do we all.
In order to maintain a certain amount of reasonable separation between what I can deceive myself into assuming, what I merely imagine, what I merely suspect might be, and what I eventually wind up concluding more or less definitively, so that none of the first three of these bleeds into the fourth, I thought it would be a good idea to learn to think more critically than I otherwise may.
My ‘attitude’ is not a determinant of my beliefs, since skeptical thinking is merely a psychological toolkit, a box of intellectual equipment that most anyone can learn in order to better themselves.
Despite my style in a few of my posts, I don’t really believe that anybody is truly stupid. But it’s not the ideas one holds that have rights or deserve respect, but people themselves who do. People in general aren’t stupid, but ideas often are, though there are times when I fail to properly convey that distinction in a given entry.
But people can be irrational even when highly intelligent and educated, hence the value to me of clearer reasoning and a better grasp of how the world really is as a way to a more personally fulfilling life, a healthy and vibrant society, and a better world.
Critical thinking is a technique, a systematic approach, like the intellectual pursuits that use it, to finding out the closest approximation of what’s really true, and not a worldview, belief-system, metaphysical position or ideology in and of itself. It’s merely a mode of thought useful for discovering things rather than merely believing to keep me from fooling myself, and to extend that to others as well.
Critical thinkers have an enormous diversity when it comes to how they subjectively see things and what they opine, believe, know, and value as individuals.
Knowledge, real knowledge, is more than just that which doesn’t disagree with your biases.
I find it very much to my continued good fortune, to the extent that fortune actually exists, to maintain and refine my current thinking techniques as a valuable means of keeping myself from thinking with my gut, fooling myself, and so getting myself and others into serious trouble.
After all, if you can’t keep from fooling yourself, how can you keep from doing the same with anyone else?
There are some things that as a result of my thinking that I no longer believe as I once did, many of them being extraordinary sorts of claims more or less common to the greater culture, and many more ordinary ones, but simply wrong nonetheless.
I’m still working on both, a situation that I suspect will continue till my dying day.
So for this installment I’ll ask this of you as a reader…