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The defining difference between the human race and all other living beings on Earth is our higher potential for reasoning and the various abstract ways we do (and don’t) reason effectively. This reasoning, or thinking, at any level of ability is what is referred to as “intellect”. People usually reserve this word for those of higher intellect, such as referring to them as “intellectuals”, but by the mere definition of both words, seeing as we’re all capable of critical thinking, we are all intellectuals. It’s just that our intellectual abilities and traits aren’t the same. “Critical Thinking” is great for problem solving, but what if you don’t critically think about thinking itself, the very tool used to do the problem solving? How do you keep the blade sharp? How do you know that it hasn’t been dull for a very long time? How do you see the effect of your thinking, if you don’t see your thinking as the cause?
Seeing as there are various ways to think about any given subject and these different ways may vary in effectiveness to different degrees, we are unable to use these various ways to perceive and understand as a gauge of our overall ability. However, there being specific ways in which we can sabotage the effectiveness of any of them, means that we can gauge our ability to think based on a scale of how often we sabotage or use flawed thinking amongst all thinking we do.
If we can take this bell curve of intellect among society and a set of widely accepted assumptions about the human race, the average person, society within the United States, and the limits of our flawed thinking, we can come to some pretty believable conclusions. So, how about we do that? What are the assumptions?
- The “Average Person” has very flawed thinking in regards to multiple subjects and facets of life.
- Because flawed thinking can go from simple mistakes, to irrationality, to being completely broken in the sense of mental capacity (ie, mental handicap, “brain-dead”, etc), there is no limit to how low the quality of thinking can be to the point of there seemingly being no thinking going on.
- While people have various levels of aptitude for thinking which may be genetic or due to the natural “wiring” of their brain (ie. autism or dyslexia), there is still a limit to how well a person can think without the conscious acknowledgement of flaws in thinking and the intentional practice to change one’s own thinking behavior so to be able to avoid the mistakes in thinking.
- The majority of people don’t make the quality of their thinking a priority in their lives.
- The majority of people not only believe that they think at a higher level than they do (unaware of the flaws in their thinking), but they also believe that they think “well enough to get by”, despite the consequences of their flawed thinking.
- Because the majority of people don’t make their quality of thinking a priority and/or come to a point where they believe they “think well enough”, the higher the quality thinking, the more rare it becomes in society, hence our bell curved scale.
- Seeing as flawed thinking limits our ability to come to the correct conclusions and these flaws are manifested within oneself on a subconscious level, it can be said that this is how people unknowingly keep themselves closed or narrow-minded. They are limited by their habitual thinking behavior.
- Considering this with how the vast majority of people believe they “think well enough”, it’s easy to see how no-one believes they’re close-minded in even the slightest, when the truth is that most are to varying degrees. That subconscious close-mindedness being a tool used by survival instincts, whether it be the injury of a bad taste in our mouths as a kid with a food we haven’t tried before, the possible injury of being in a perceived dangerous situation (ie flying on a plane, spiders, etc), or the possible injury to our ego, because we use the conclusions we’ve already come to develop our beliefs and we then use those beliefs and what we do because of them to define ourselves and our self-worth and we can’t let that dependency on our beliefs be at risk due to contrary information and possible conclusions.
- Those who make a habit of acknowledging flaws in their thinking in regard to all subject matter (some people are only narrow or close-minded about certain subjects) and practice their ability to do so in order to improve their ability, are what we would call “open-minded” as there is no limit on their potential for having less-flawed thinking, as every internal conflict of ideas is allowed to be an opportunity for growth rather than sabotaged by flawed thinking or avoided all together.
- If you take the probability that any position you take on any subject is correct and multiply that by the probability of all other correct positions on all other subjects, you will have the astronomically small probability that you simply fell into being right about everything you’ve so far thought about on the first conclusion. An example being that if every conclusion you came to was the one you held onto for the rest of your life, the odds that they were all correct (even those you felt strongest about), would be the equivalent of winning the lottery multiple times. You can, and likely are, wrong about more than you’re willing to let yourself realize.
- It’s a ridiculous notion to believe that the liberal “left” or conservative “right” are 100% right about every position they hold.
- Those who cannot acknowledge the fact that they may be wrong about the things they define themselves with, especially along the two sets of positions on all topics on the left/right paradigm, are limited by their arrogance, rather than by their assertiveness.
Now, if those assumptions are acceptable, let’s continue…