|Elsas Creativity Space Update|
today: HOW TO THINK - tip number one:
What people want, I've heard over and over again, is HOW TO material. How to nail. How to hammer. How to knit. How to sew. I couldn't see myself providing any of that.
And then it hit me. There is one How To area I'm rather an expert in, and where I'd be delighted to give tips and pointers. How To Think.
Today - How To Think tip number one.
But first, three things. One. I do care about good thinking - I'm also having fun writing this. If you're reading this, I hope you too both care about good thinking and are having fun.
Two. Maybe, like me, you're one of the people sometimes frustrated by common inner barriers against thinking well. In that case, the tip may be useful for you with other people.
Three. My experience is that most people are not pleased with How To Think information. One is likely to come up against:
I'm entitled to my opinion. (More on this here.)
One response is to directly tackle the opinon that all opinons are equal:
Today's response. If I saw someone hammering their fingers, few would dispute that How To Hammer tips might be helpful. The person might even appreciate learning how to get a nail into the wall without sacrificing a finger in the process.
But How To Think - that's another story.
Why is that? That's another question altogether.
Here I will give just one big pointer that can help enormously with thinking.
TIP NUMBER ONE. Whatever the idea/thought/opinion/belief, ask this question: If this is so, what are the ramifications? Or more simply, if this is so, what does this mean? And if answering that question leads to nonsense, then the original belief also does not make sense.
Example. Many people hold that "everything happens for a reason." One student (I'm a college teacher) is convinced her younger brother got cancer for a reason - he's become a much more caring person.
If this is so, what does it mean? It means that for some god or cosmic force, the best way to teach her younger brother to be nicer, was to give him cancer.
Next step. Does it make any sense that some god or cosmic force could only teach, or would prefer to teach, her younger brother to be nicer by giving him cancer?
Another student asserts that, if it hadn't been for the Holocaust, Jews wouldn't have a country of their own.
Again, does it make sense that some deity or cosmic force held it would be good for Jews to have a country, but could only achieve that goal - or preferred to achieve it - by having six million Jews murdered?
It does not make sense.
There's a zero violence tolerance at my college. But for many people, it's fine if a deity or cosmic force metes out horror. Slavery. Rape. Murder and mayhem. Genocide. It happens for a reason, they say.
I say, think it through. That tenet makes no sense.
Yes, one can learn from horrors. But it makes no sense that some god or cosmic force can only get us to grow by having us endure calamity after calamity.
By the way, yes, it does make sense that things have causes - environmental, historic, genetic. It makes no sense. though, that everything we are living is happening for "a reason" - for some lesson, whatever that may be.
And that's it for How To Think tip number one.
The tip, once again: Think things through. Figure out: if this belief/idea/opinion is true, what other things must also be true?
For more thinking through, here's Stupid Opinion Number One - the opinion that we are all where we are meant to be. Try thinking that one through! Here's what I came up with:
What if someone responds with, you're bringing up stuff that's too extreme? That brings us to How To Think tip number two. Coming soon.
Comments are very welcome. What's your favorite How To Think tip? And if you try my question on someone, how do they respond?
And with that,
copyright © Elsa Schieder 2007
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Welcome to Elsa's Creativity Space
How To Think. First Tip: Ask and Answer This One Question.