Everything you think you know is wrong, part VI – the grand final 3

Photo by Kathy McEldowney

Everything you think you know is wrong…I know it sounds harsh – condescending even, well it’s not. At least it’s not meant to be. You see, I have no problem admitting that everything that I think I know is wrong too. It’s not a question of right and wrong, it’s not a question of “truth” – whatever that is. What we are talking about here is a mindset. I want you, and me, to say “now wait just a minute here…” whenever we find ourselves or anyone else blindly accepting anything as “true”.

If you have followed my line of reasoning in my posts here and agree on at least a few of my conclusions, then this should have consequences for how you think and act.

Let’s ruin it all and sum it up in a few catchy rules of thumb:

1. It’s extremely difficult to prove causality, i.e cause – effect relationships. When someone says with too high a level of confidence that A causes B – be careful, since it is so difficult to prove these relationships, chances are they are wrong. And what’s worse: they probably know it and try to force feed you their nonsense anyway. When things seem to have a causality, more often than not, what people are really talking about is correlation. Correlation can suggest causality, but only suggest. So, mistrust people who claim to know the truth. The evidence is in the language.

Look for words such as: “it seem as if”, “this suggests” etc. If they are included you should pay attention. If not, go play xbox.

Rule of thumb: When anyone says that something is true – it’s probably not.

2. We live in a system. We have ideas on how stuff works in this system, these ideas are theories, and they can be valid, but never true. Science does not deal with truth. These theories are often based on assumptions. Assumptions are stuff taken for granted without proof. There are always competing theories trying to explain the same thing.

Rule of thumb. Find the underlying assumptions. Mistrust people who try to hide their underlying assumptions.

3. Information is always processed. The further you are from the source, the more likely it is that something is distorted. Sometimes intentionally, sometimes by mistake. Examine all information and look for the source. Always ask yourself if the channel you are tuned in to has anything to gain by relaying the information.

Rule of thumb. Look for the source. Find the agenda.

4. Three very common concepts run through our system and we should be careful when they appear. There is a difference between “nature” and “civilization”. “Normal” is a statistical term dependent on the sample base. The concept of “Common Sense” means nothing, and in a worst case scenario it’s a useless simplification towards stupidity.

Rule of thumb: If a line of reasoning involves the concepts natural, normal or common sense, further debate is probably futile.

And so, the finish: What I’m promoting here is healthy skepticism. I’m not promoting cynicism. Cynicism is a terrible trait in a person, and even though I admit that I succumb to it a lot more than I should, I try very hard not to. Cynicism is unattractive. The whole purpose of healthy skepticism is to cut through all the soul sucking nonsense out there and find a path forward. We are the good guys. Our hearts are soft, but that does not mean that our brains should be. Quite the contrary, the more noble our purpose, the more our cause deserves that we step it up and play the game like a pro. Only then can we find that path forward. The one where hope and change is possible.

And cue violins, and…wait for it, wait for it: OK, on my mark, release the doves. On three. Ready…one, two…and release the doves. Zoom in on crying child. And lift the camera towards the starry sky. And….cut!
It’s a wrap.
Thank you everyone. Great work.
Anyone for drinks?

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3 thoughts on “Everything you think you know is wrong, part VI – the grand final

  • stinkbugprod

    This brings me back to the touchy subject of religion. Having grown up in a religious country, it's easy for me for me to relate it in this manner, despite not being a religious person myself.

    Once upon a time people believed in Thor and Zeus. Then a long came Christianity and all the other modern religions and said ha ha how silly you believed in mythological gods. I instantly think, that makes what you believe in, “god”, “our father”, what have you, different because? Faith and devotion being the measure of how great a follower you are. How good a person you are. It's a phenomena not a truth and this devotion keeps as stagnant. Devotion should be a daily choice not a demand or a measurement. Go for it believe if it makes you feel better and gets you through life. But, be aware that it may not be a truth. In fact my bet is on it isn't. And that is okay too finding out that your beliefs have changed. It should change.

    In contrast, I also find that both religious believers and the non believers look at each other with fool colored glasses. Afraid to budge in their belief systems because they identify too much with what they believe in. Making the mistake of thinking that what you believe is WHO you are, thus afraid to change their minds, their beliefs for fear of eradicating who they are. To do so would be admitting to be wrong and in the worst case realizing you were in fact a FOOL. You were FOOLED. Thus, people hold on to their worn out belief systems because they are afraid of losing themselves and they don't take on new ones, also every important, because they are afraid of standing out from the crowd and looking a fool.

    This can be applied to all areas in life. People will hold on to CRAZY ideas like the world is flat because it is easier to live in denial. Other people will look down on people for entertaining CRAZY ideas because how can they be so foolish. Thus we stop ourselves through peer pressure from developing and seeing the possibilities right in front of our faces.

    We should allow our beliefs and truths to be fluid. Allow them to change over time. If we do that we need not worry about living in denial or being the fool. Live a little, dare to entertain an idea, a belief, a truth, just because. The worst that can happen is you might change your mind.

  • Thomas Lindqvist

    Whoa! That's quite the comment right there. This is obviously something that you've been thinking about a lot. I always tread lightly when it comes to faith, I might take issues with organized religion at times, but an individual with an individual faith is no enemy of mine.

  • stinkbugprod

    Yeah, I have. Teaching does that too you. I hope it didn't sound like I was being neg. towards religious believers or faithful. I think it is completely fine and I respect it. It was that with or without faith people can be very ademant and judgmental towards others and themselves. Point being that EVERYONE benefits from a little faith, a little skepticism and a little change of heart. ; )

    Yeah I can get involved in my thoughts. But you made me think isn't that the idea.