Thursday, May 26, 2011

I just know that that doesn’t make any sense, but I’m just not sure why.

You may often find yourself in this situation: “This is f***ing nonsense! Haven’t this guy got a brain to think?” Yes, he did, but not effectively. You may also being left frustrated to know in your heart that what you’ve just heard is nonsense but not being able to pinpoint why it is nonsense. What happened to the basic common sense? You know? That reflex in your brain that used to make you scream bullshit!  To everyone’s dismay, nonsense comes about every day and unfortunately, committed by even supposedly high intelligent/wisdom people (For example, your local government or your boss). I also find myself from time to time. None of us is immune to nonsense.

Are men and women by nature hopelessly muddled creatures? By nature, yes. Muddled, yes. Hopelessly, no. Men and women may be rational animals, but they are not by nature reasoning animals. We often think with the tendencies of: disorderly, beginning at an inappropriate place or failing to proceed properly; disorganized, with different objects not properly distinguished from each other or properly categorized; inconsistent, often with direct self-contradiction; unclear, whether intentionally or unintentionally; irrelevant, that is, injecting information or arguments that are irrelevant to what is being asserted; or incomplete, omitting some important fact, point or perspective.

Here is the list of patterns that seem to characterize the ways that people tend to respond and think. Almost, if not all the myriad ways that our thinking can go illogical. Let’s not call them laws, and, since they’re not particularly original, I won’t attached my name to them. For example, people:

1. Tend to believe what they want to believe
2. Tend to project their own biases or experiences upon situations
3. Tend to generalize from a specific event.
4. Tend to get personally involved in the analysis of an issue and tend to let their feelings overcome a sense of objectivity
5. Are not good listeners. They hear selectively. They often hear only what they want to hear.
6. Are eager to rationalize
7. Are often unable to distinguish what is relevant from what is irrelevant.
8. Are easily diverted from the specific issue at hand.
9. Are usually unwilling to explore thoroughly the ramifications of a topic; tend to oversimplify.
10. Often judge from appearances. They observe something, misinterpret what they observe and make terrible errors in judgment.
11. Often simply don’t know what they are talking about, especially in matters of general discussion. They rarely think carefully before they speak, but they allow their feelings, prejudices, biases, likes, dislikes, hopes and frustrations to supersede careful thinking.
12. Rarely act according to a set of consistent standards. Rarely do they examine the evidence and then form a conclusion. Rather, they tend to do whatever they want to do and to believe whatever they want to believe and then find whatever evidence will support their actions or their beliefs. They often think selectively; in evaluating situation they are eager to find reasons to support what they want to support and they are just eager to ignore or disregard reasons that don’t support what they want
13. Often do not say what they mean and often do not mean what they say

On top of that, most people want to feel that issues are simple rather than complex, want to have their prejudices confirmed, want to feel that they ‘belong’ with the implication that others do not, and need to pinpoint an enemy to blame for their frustrations.

The above comments may seem jaundiced. They are not meant to be. They are not even meant to be critical or judgmental. They merely suggest that it is a natural human tendency to be subjective rather than objective and that the untrained mind will usually take the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance is rarely through reasoning.

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