Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

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Morpheus's picture
Morpheus
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Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

No, Seriously. Help me out. 

I struggle by the day to become "less ignorant". But, after decades of western education, there was a point in my life where my ability to incorporate logical, rational, and critical reasoning had atrophied to such a degree that my responses to the issue du jour went something like this:

"America, love it or leave it". (Any criticism of America elicited this response)

"What? You want regulations? You're just a big government socialist!" (Auto response to suggestions of regulation of business activity)

"Peak Oil? Bwahahahaa! OMG! *laughing uncontrollably*. Trust me, if we were running out of oil they would tell us about it. Besides, we have 100 years of coal!" (Nevermind asking who "they" are. "They' were about as definable as "society".)

The point that I am making is that in the past I used to rely on beliefs, dogma, and emotions for all of my arguments. I'd made up my mind and sure as heck didn't want YOU confusing the heck out of me with those pesky FACTS. 

So, this recovering Half-Baked PseudoIntellectual still struggles daily with beliefs vs. facts. Most of the time I overcome the former, but the programming is in place and it's a daily inner struggle. 

Basically, I am on a long road to what I call Demoronification. That is, the replacement of emotionally elicited responses to intellectual stimuli with reasoned, rational, and logical analysis. 

And I need a little help. Do you ever find your "beliefs" challenged with a tough counterpoint made, only to become insessantly angry, and unable to respond to your opponents argument? Do you become filled with indignation that this guy could so overlook "the obvious"?

The fact is that often "the obvious" is not so obvious. Gutcheck time often tells me that I am becoming irritated with someone when I fall into dogmatic certainty, and that person challenges my dogma and he/she is doing a damn good job at it. 

That's a problem that I still see in myself at times, and more so in the culture at large. 

Is it me, or when someone gets angry when presented with an uncomfortable argument or information (such as the Crash Course) we are reacting to cognitive dissonance

And how to deal with it?

How do I, or anyone else for that matter, fight dogmatic impulses and get back on track with respect to constantly challenging one's beliefs? 

How do you seek truth, rather than a comfort zone? And do it without deluding yourself into thinking that you're discovering the former, while really fulfilling the later? 

 

 

JRB's picture
JRB
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Pete,

I feel your pain.  No, I mean it I too feel your pain!  Maybe we share too much phiysics training and too few applicable equations/models?

- Jim

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Morpheus, "demoronification" is now one of my favorite words!  OMG, the world could use an outbreak of that!

Also, are you sure you're not my husband (based on your description of emotional responses)?:)

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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Hey Morpheus --

While I have no ironclad strategy for coping when somebody is hammering in on my dogmas/beliefs (and the whole thing is complicated when the emotional response kicks in, muddying my thinking), I do try to keep listening unless/until I start to hear talking-point-type volleys.  Conversely, when I feel some pushback in a conversation with somebody (i.e., where I'm bumping up against *their* dogma/beliefs) I try to shift sideways out of my argument and see where I might come in sideways around their dogmas.  Sometimes coming in from the edges helps to evade their big walls. 

But usually, if someone has a strongly-defended view of things, no argument is going to sliiiide past the defenses.  For this reason -- and because I'm so very busy with a hundred other things -- for the most part I longer try to convince people.  I just let them know what I'm thinking and then disengage if it's a dogmatic debate they're looking for.  I sorta figure either they're a lost cause or they'll catch up with me later (assuming what I told them sank in) when their perception of reality catches up with mine (if it ever does).  If it never does, then either I was wrong (in which case I saved both of us some time) or they never 'get it' in which case I don't know what the point of conversation would be (I'll be too busy feeding my chickens and mucking out the composting toilet to worry about it).

Viva -- Sager

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pinecarr
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

P.S.  By the way of a little more constructive response, learn to recognize your anger as a "litmus test" indicating that a belief you hold is being challenged.  It won't happen right away.  First you'll recongize it too late, after the fact.  But the more you work at it, the sooner you'll recognize and become conscious of what's going on.  Eventually, you'll be able to catch yourself as you're doing it, then before. 

A friend, giving me the same advice, once told me this great little story (and this is mega-paraphrasing),

"I was walking down the street, and there was a hole in front of me.  I did not see the hole, kept walking, and fell into it. 

The next day I was walking down the street, and there was a hole in front of me.  I saw the hole, but still kept walking, and fell into it.

The next day, I walked around the hole."

Hang in there Morpheus.  You've made a ton of progress already, based on what you said above, and your posts that I've read before.  Stick with it, and with your desire to change, you will!

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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?
Morpheus wrote:

How do you seek truth, rather than a comfort zone? And do it without deluding yourself into thinking that you're discovering the former, while really fulfilling the later? 

Truth? What's that?

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anarkst
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Morpheus asks:

How do you seek truth, rather than a comfort zone? And do it without deluding yourself....?

Truth is omnipresent.  It is our intellectualization of  truth which deludes us.  Keep up your inquiry, especially into those areas which cause you the greatest dis-comfort.    

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ckessel
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Morpheus,

I would offer that most of us that  visit this site are on the same road with you. I appreciate your being on the road!

If the majority of our race was enlightened as regards what our future may hold then we would not be visiting this site at all or having issues with reasoning out solutions with others. I too go through what I would call a cycle of emotional responses and "unwillingnes to look" is the one I have the most trouble with, esp if it is coming from someone who is in a position of undue influence over others.

In those situations I have changed up my response somewhat and simply ask "Do you think our civilization will continue like it is indefinately? The answer can be no or yes but the follow up is "What event do you think will happen to cause it to change? Then you will need to end it off so they leave thinking about their answer. This gets their attention off of responding to you and actually consulting their own beliefs rather than attacking yours. I leave them with a CC  DVD and say, there are some interesting facts here that you might find interesting.

IMHO I don't think there are more than 3 or 4 % of the population that will really develop a good conceptual understanding of what we are truly facing. That comes from the Pareto's 80/20 Law. So you will encounter a fair amount (80%) of resistance to find the 20% that is more aligned. So the more you communicate the better the odds of finding like minded people. You just have to get past that doggone 80%. Keep Swingin!

Coop

 

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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Is it me, or when someone gets angry when presented with an uncomfortable argument or information (such as the Crash Course) we are reacting to cognitive dissonance

And how to deal with it?

How do I, or anyone else for that matter, fight dogmatic impulses and get back on track with respect to constantly challenging one's beliefs? 

How do you seek truth, rather than a comfort zone? And do it without deluding yourself into thinking that you're discovering the former, while really fulfilling the later?

Morpheus,

Thanks for a very thought provoking post.  I guess I feel very similar because over the past few years, after a lot of reading and introspection, I have found my beliefs about a lot of issues have drastically changed.  I remember when I first found this site, I agreed with the Economic issues in the CC but I thought the Environmental threat was over blown and peak Energy was a load of crap. 

The ways it going now, I just wonder what I will believe a year or two.  Wink

 

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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Pete-

Well to be honest I'm probably on the opposite end of the scale from how you describe your old self, with an inclination to look at the world as a range of varying possibilities rather than certainties or absolutes.  My 'core' beliefs can probably be counted on one hand (a clumsy wood shop teacher's hand no less Tongue out), and even those few are quite general in nature.  Arguments or dialogue based on unshakeable belief, emotion, dogma, or absolutes tend to make me a little uncomfortable or frustrated, so to be honest the kind of person you describe yourself as being in the past are usually the ones I reflexively avoid!  On the plus side, I don't often experience reflexive anger or indignation with people challenging my positions, probably because I'm not usually highly 'vested' in them.  Also, I find it usually helps me to make better, or at least better informed, decisions.  The negative side is that I get more easily confused or more prone to indecision than most people, and I find myself spending entirely too much time trying to be 'well-informed' (it's particularly hard in the current media environment where so much questionable or biased information is thrown around).  Obviously I place heavy emphasis on logic but so often I still find myself having to operate on intuition, without which I would be totally lost.  I also seem to get burned out pretty easily by the world at large, often needing to spend extensive time away from the news and even other people.  I find either myself getting irritated with the way most other people think, or find other people getting irritated with me for not choosing a side or taking a firm position on something.

I suppose I could say try to look at all things in terms of ranges of probability without a lot of emotional attachment, but that sort of seems like telling a moose that he should act more like a fish.  And to be honest I don't think my way of thinking is the best way either, because I don't think I'm having a much easier time of things than the people who are sure of themselves for the wrong reasons.  So instead of that, maybe you can try to actively look for those same stubborn habits of 'the old you' in other people you interact with, and maybe it'll make you more aware of your own emotional or belief-based reactions.  Contrary to what some say, people can't 'control' emotions or emotional responses... but if you can learn to recognize them you can at least 'manage' them, if that makes any sense. 

- Nickbert

 

 

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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

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JRB's picture
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Occasionally I am helped by remembering that there is no truth, only approximations thereof.  Think Heisenberg.

- Jim

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Vanityfox451
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

Pete,

I swear this is going to sound as fickle as hell but we'll see wherever this goes...

You're looking through a local newspaper and, turning to page 5, the third column across shows the picture of the most beautiful blond girl of 17, with straight white pearls for teeth, a clear complexion without make-up and inteligent eyes. Her eyes dig right to your soul at the curiosity life is to her. Then, your eyes drop down to the column inches dedicated to her and, to your horror you find that a freak accident between an uptown bus and a bicycle snuffed out her so short life.

You're dismayed at the cruelty and injustice in the world that something that was so perfect in that one snapshot should have ended so very soon; a shortened life ... is there really a God etc, there couldn't be; this confirms it etc ...

Then ...

You're looking through a local newspaper and, turning to page 5, the third column across shows the picture of a rather ugly muddy-blond girl of 17, with crooked teeth, a pock-marked complexion from years of too much make-up and vacant eyes. Her eyes repel your soul with the lack of apparent curiosity life has been to her. Then, your eyes drop down to the column inches dedicated to her and, with brief horror you find that a freak accident between an uptown bus and a bicycle snuffed out her so short life ... Shame ...

Without further ado, you turn over the page and continue your day ...

I bite my lip ...

For those of you that have been reading here for a year and know my writing, I think you have some of an idea as to who I appear to be from what I write. For those new to this forum I must as disclosure explain that every day I speak to no less than 5 people about the crash Course and have directed literally thousands to it, It's principles and its realities, accounting Pareto Principles to it :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle

To those who have no notion of Thomas Malthus (13 February 1766 – 23 December 1834), again, a link to him with a snippet :-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Malthus

[snippet]

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"Yet in all societies, even those that are most vicious, the tendency to a virtuous attachment is so strong that there is a constant effort towards an increase of population. This constant effort as constantly tends to subject the lower classes of the society to distress and to prevent any great permanent amelioration of their condition.

The way in which these effects are produced seems to be this. We will suppose the means of subsistence in any country just equal to the easy support of its inhabitants. The constant effort towards population... increases the number of people before the means of subsistence are increased. The food therefore which before supported seven millions must now be divided among seven millions and a half or eight millions. The poor consequently must live much worse, and many of them be reduced to severe distress. The number of labourers also being above the proportion of the work in the market, the price of labour must tend toward a decrease, while the price of provisions would at the same time tend to rise. The labourer therefore must work harder to earn the same as he did before. During this season of distress, the discouragements to marriage, and the difficulty of rearing a family are so great that population is at a stand. In the mean time the cheapness of labour, the plenty of labourers, and the necessity of an increased industry amongst them, encourage cultivators to employ more labour upon their land, to turn up fresh soil, and to manure and improve more completely what is already in tillage, till ultimately the means of subsistence become in the same proportion to the population as at the period from which we set out. The situation of the labourer being then again tolerably comfortable, the restraints to population are in some degree loosened, and the same retrograde and progressive movements with respect to happiness are repeated."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It is a dreadful struggle to 'Make' people see the full picture. We can only give what we have as best we can and hope that people will really get 'It'. If they don't, what can we do?

I love my family dearly, yet not one of them has any interest whatever at the vital truths written within the Crash Course or the vital truths that fit the frame for the majority of Forum pages within ... I can but try and try again ...

Paul

 

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Gungnir
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Re: Help A Guy Out With His Thinking, Would Ya?

ok I've been kicking this around for a couple of days before responding. So here it is

Morpheus wrote:

The point that I am making is that in the past I used to rely on beliefs, dogma, and emotions for all of my arguments. I'd made up my mind and sure as heck didn't want YOU confusing the heck out of me with those pesky FACTS.

I can absolutely categorically refute that the new you, is still indeed relying on beliefs and dogma, just now you've developed a belief that you're relying on facts.

So you ask "Huh, what's he talking about?"

JRB was kinda right, prove beyond a reasonable doubt that I exist, or in my case prove you exist, unfortunately neither of us can, similarly to the proof that 1+1=2 it eludes us because of a limitation in the experiment parameters. To prove that I exist, you must observe me my behaviors my actions, however that's invasive, called the observer paradox or quantum waveform collapse. The universe and all it's laws and theories may be an entire figment of your imagination, it's impossible to disprove.

Now lets look less esoteric and examine the scientific method, observe a physical interaction, posit a theory (a belief?), extrapolate that theory to apply it to a similar problem with similar constraints, then gather data that may prove or disprove that the theory (belief?) is or is not correct. However by definition this is flawed, not just because you're observing, but also because (assuming that everything isn't a figment of your imagination) people are flawed, sure get enough people together and you reduce the error bar, or do you?

For just one moment, lets think if Einstein had put a gaping flaw in the theory of relativity, that up until his death no one had discovered, it's so big that it would refute most of his life's work. Now, who would challenge it, and who would believe it? Scientists are people too, and this is one area where we have a belief that the theory is mostly as accurate as we can currently determine (although it's crude in certain areas, such as gravitational fields). I mean imagine that; millions of Physicists for 80 odd years, who just couldn't see this gaping flaw, and then comes along one person who points out the flaw, would the scientific community go hey, you got a point, Einstein was wrong, here lets go build an FTL communicator, so we can warn Churchill about Hitler and stop the second world war (Feinbergs reinterpretation principle notwithstanding). I don't think so, chances are it would be buried for 10 years or so, and come out as a differing theory that reinterprets Einstein, I mean you can't have all those smart physics type guys looking like idiots for 80 years can you. Well the Tachyon disproves Einstein in one way since its velocity is greater than c, and spawned the idea for the Alcubierre metric (Warp Drive), although this is flawed because a Tachyon surpasses c in it's own inertial frame, whereas using the Alcubierre metric nothing ever surpasses c in it's own inertial frame.

However again a Tachyon has yet to be proven or disproven, however 2 large area's of thought incorporate them as existing, Quantum Field Theory and Superstring theory. Things appear to work, even given that the Tachyon has yet to proven, as if the Tachyon exists, however there is always quantum waveform collapse that may account for this.

So in answer to your question... You've merely switched beliefs

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