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THE IDEA EMPORIUM


FULL MENU
explorations on ...
ANIMAL RIGHTS,
AN INNER VOICE,
GAMBLING IMPULSE,
STUPID OPINIONS,
RELIGIOUS RAGE,
GOOD THINKING,

and more ...

New!
What's Narcissism?
and what's wrong with it?
Sept 2009
 

Fatal Flaw in
Economics of Growth

Aug 2009
 MORE   ALL

Hard Lessons About
Islamic History

August 2009


Deceptive Advertising
and Islam

July 2009

Conservative America
bad thinking
June 2009

The Ultimate Reality
are all religions equal?
Mar 2009

The Brain Game
Manifesto

good thinking,
great thrills
Mar 2009

Collective Guilt &
Political Correctness

past horrors,
current baggage
Feb 2009  MORE  ALL

MORE ...
plus    

Lots of Thinking!
A Celebration
of Thinking

Mar 2009

Western Tolerance,
Islamic Intolerance
Muslim outrage, Western
blindness - seen through
my curious eyes
Jan 2008   INTRO

MORE ...
or
MORE DETAIL



Imagination -
Hope and Horror

not just make believe
Dec 2008  MORE   ALL

Open Secret on
Surviving Recession

Nov 2008  ALL

Bush, McCain, Palin -
Armed & Dangerous

Oct 2008  MORE   ALL

Paranormal
or Para-nutty?
proof of life after death
or wishful thinking
Sept 2008  MORE   ALL

Political Correctness
and Fundamentalism

Jan 2008   MORE   ALL

Autism, Vaccines -
and Parents

May 2007  MORE   ALL

Gambling -
Great? Gruesome?

May 2007  MORE   ALL

How To Think -
Tip Number One:
Ask This One Question

Apr 2007  MORE
  ALL

Walls in the Mind,
They Cripple and Bind

inner walls,
invisible from within,
frustrating for outsiders
Jan 2007   MORE   ALL


Don't Keep it Simple -
Keep it Alive

mental challenge -
the thrill of a lifetime
Dec 2006   MORE   ALL

Animals and Ethics
a childhood NO to a god
Dec 2006  MORE   ALL

Whose Dog Is It?
pets, ownership, slavery
Dec 2006   MORE  ALL

The Rottweiler Pope,
The Danish Cartoon
and Muslim Moderates

the pope's remarks -
help or hindrance?
Sept 2006  MORE  ALL

Mirror, Mirror,
Who is that Horror?

on the rage of the
righteous when coming
across mirrors
Sept 2006  MORE  ALL

A Dangerous
Temptation -

Counter-Prejudice

the lure of hating back
Sept 2006  MORE  ALL

Bush the "Righteous"
illusions, delusions, lies
Sept 2006  MORE  ALL

The Pope Speaks
outraged Muslims protest,
kill nun, demand apology

Sept 2006  MORE   ALL

Give Peace a Chance
by giving empathy
a chance
An Open Letter to
All People, and
for now, especially
all Muslims -
Feb/Aug 2006   MORE

The Rage
of the"Righteous"

on Muslim outrage
at a Danish cartoon
Feb/July 2006   MORE

This Is Not Me
but it's a tempting
disguise due to the
"righteous"
MORE

Stupid
Opinions


stupid opinion #1
all opinions are equal
Aug 06  MORE  ALL
  

logical fallacy
opinion #2

you are where
you are supposed to be
Aug 06   MORE   ALL

Collective Sense of Guilt
Crazy Not Thinking

past horrors,
current baggage
Feb 09  ALL

Breaking the Spell
of Irrational Opinions

rule #1 - don't start by
calling it a stupid opinion
Aug 06  MORE   ALL

stupid opinion #3
everything happens
for a reason

stupid opinion #4
everyone always did
the best they could

stupid opinion #5
we shouldn't
be judgmental

stupid opinion #6
all religions are
basically the same

stupid opinion #7
all cultures are equal

 

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Idea Emporium?
why? what?
plus exploration of the
definition of "idea"

em-po-ri-um
exploration of
the word
emporium

innerwear that dares
innerwear for those
who dare -
The Idea Emporium

 

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Elsa, Brain Trainer




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NEWSLETTER

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    elsa with ideas  

We're born with the capacity to think.
What we learn to do with it, is what matters.


Do we learn thinking is a chore? a punishment? Something painful, like a horrible headache? Are we in love with mental constipation? Or do we love fresh thinking like fresh air, like sunshine and snow, winter and summer - growth, development?

Don't Keep It Simple, Stupid -
We're Not All Mental Vegetables, Mental Couch Potatoes

 

I heard of the KISS system long ago - keep it simple, stupid. That came to mind the other day when I read that complexity was the kiss of death on the web. People don't want more than one idea per article - and that idea had better be nice and easy. Dense writing does not get read. That's it, plain and simple.

Plus, people don't want hard words - don't use a long word if a short one will do. Big words turn people off.

Which people, I wondered? And if it's true, just what does this mean? Is this the kiss of death for thinking?

I thought of Dead Poet's Society, a brilliant film about a teacher who really reaches students. The message is the opposite. Use vivid language. Don't always say sad. Say glum, morose, grief-stricken, sullen.

And I thought of my students. Many of them, college students, display mental rigidity - almost a rigor mortis of the brain when it comes to some ideas. All opinions are equal, they hold - and can't recognize that KKK opinions might not have as much validity as opinions based on evidence, in this case evidence that humans, whatever our race, are inherently equal (basic equality in intellectual and emotional range).

Evidence is irrelevant to most of my students, when it comes to opinions. How can I possibly bring up something like evidence in relationship with opinions? Even more horrific, how can I possibly question that all opinions are equal? They look at me as if I were some alien monster.

But, I counter, their opinion means that the opinion that all opinions are not equal is just as valid as the opinion that all opinions are equal. After all, all opinions are equal - even the opinion that they are not equal. That's a contradiction, I continue. Again, that's irrelevant to most of them. Many faces turn blank and stony.

The wall.

For more on the inequality of opinions, read Stupid Opinion #2:

For another stupid opinion, click onto Stupid Opinion #1 - the stupid opinion that we are all where we are meant to be. Millions of people hold onto it as if to give it up meant death - though this opinion means that every rape victim, murder victim, everyone who dies in a genocide is where they are meant to be.

I said, don't keep it simple.

****

But I am keeping it simple. And my point is equally simple: we need quality, we need works that challenge and stimulate - or we get mental couch potatoes.

Our brains, like our bodies, need to learn how to function well - or our thinking is as clumsy as the violin playing of someone taking their first lesson. Painful.

For stimulating thinking, try more of The Idea Emporium.

****

I don't know if quality triumphs every time. Actually I know it doesn't. Lots of people like junk food - and junk thinking.

I do know that, with ideas as with food, in many ways, you very often are what you eat.

Many foods are linked with cancer. I wonder what poor thought patterns contribute to cancer of the thought processes.

Responses welcome.

signed,

Elsa
December 16, 2006

copyright © Elsa Schieder 2006
publishing house - FlufferDuff Impressions 2006

 

Background. This piece was sparked by a brief blog entry on ezinearticles.com. The main idea: dense writing does not get read.

The basic point: to get read on the web, keep it simple, simple, simple - in ideas, in vocabulary (a word I probably shouldn't use, as it's long!!), in every way.

I don't believe in unnecessary complexity. I also don't believe in unnecessary simple-mindedness. Flat language. Flat thinking. A flat-line brain.

I love to think. And I find it boring to be around people who don't. Imagine dance - two moves only, everything else is just too much. A painting - two shapes only. Nothing too difficult. And so on, ad nauseum.

As a species, we feed on challenge. I have just been learning web design. Frustrating - and fascinating.

****

Another thought on the importance of ongoing mental challenge. A longitudinal study was done on a group of nuns. The finding. Those who, when young, had mental flexibility, a large vocabulary, as well as a wide range of interests and thought patterns, were mentally undiminished in old age. On the other hand, those nuns with a narrow and rigid thought range were often senile - with deep ruts, it seems, dug into their brains.

Of course it's not so simple: some brilliant people are felled by Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. But it was great to find out something that made deep intuitive sense to me: mental flexiblity is developed and needs to be exercised. It doesn't just happen.

I have an 83-uear-old dance teacher. Very mentally alert, always ready to see what I've learned, always responsive to the world around her - which includes keeping up with what's new and changing in the dance world. She listens outward - instead of deepening ruts in her brain. A delight to be around.

Again, r esponses welcome.

signed,

Elsa
December 16, 2006

copyright © Elsa Schieder 2006, 2009 - all rights reserved

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IDEA * EVALUATION * CONCLUSION * INSIGHT * COMMENTARY * CONTROVERSY * INTELLECTUAL CONFLICTS * CONFLICTING VERSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS * DIFFICULT AREAS * THEORY * THEORIZING * FEMINIST THEORIES * PSYCHOANALYTICAL THEORIES * ENVORINMENTAL CONCERNS * UNDERSTANDINGS * COMPLEXITIES * UNCERTAINTIES* GUESSES * HUNCHES * GUT FEELINGS ABOUT THINGS * EXPERIMENTS TO VERIFY IDEAS * VIEWPOINTS * OPINION * THOUGHT-PROVOKING IDEAS * STIMULATING THEORIZING - IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS *

blue green idea

Study finds:
dense writing does not get read on the web.
Complexity is the kiss of death.
Big words turn people off.
The Idea Emporium asks:
is this the kiss of death
for thinking, critical thought?



The Idea Emporium - why and what

One of my lifelong concerns has been trying to make sense of reality. What is happening? Why is this happening? And with that I come to ideas - ideas about reality, ideas that need to be checked against reality, not just believed in like the tooth fairy is accepted by a child. But how does one check them? What qualifies as proof, as evidence?

And why, so often, is evidence of no interest to people? We have masses of evidence of how good many people are at denying evidence when it goes against what they believe. Millions have denied, and continue to deny the equality of women and men, of Jews and nonJews, of atheists and Muslims, gays and heterosexuals. People are incredible experts at denying reality - what is seen, experienced. Of course we need to interpret reality - we do not know it "pure" but through our limited senses, our limited memory, our limited ability to perceive and make sense of the amazing array of information that does gets perceived.

Still, it boggles the even slightly rational mind - how can so many people be so utterly blind to, let's say, findings about nutrition? It amazed me to find out, when I was growing up, that there was evidence for the health benefits of whole grains over refined products - because masses of people stuck with white flour, white rice, white sugar. How could they be so closed to evidence? Somehow they had a wall against the evidence.

The ideas I want to explore are those that go with, not against, the evidence, that try to make sense of evidence.

So, the Idea Emporium - a place for ideas.
The Idea Emporium - a place where ideas are explored.
The Idea Emporium - a place where ideas are entertained , played with,
looked at from many angles.
The Idea Emporium, a place where ideas are evaluated.

What is an idea, by the way. I hadn't thought of that when I chose the name of The Idea Emporium. It just seemed the obviously right name. It was months before I realized I had a hard time putting into words what I meant by idea. I began to think about the word. Sentences with the word, idea, floated into my mind. Like, "I have an idea. Why don't we order pizza?" That was an eye-opener for me.

My guess is that most of us use the word without knowing exactly what it means. "I have an idea of what we might do. Maybe we could go out for Chinese food. But It's just an idea" - meaning this need not come to pass, but we think it might be fun. That is obviously not what I meant by idea.

"I have an idea. Maybe you left your hat in the car." Again, no

""My idea is that we go in together and talk to her." No.

These are all legitimate uses of the term, idea, but it's not what I meant when I came to name The Idea Emporium. And I'm sure it's not what people might expect if they click on The Idea Emporium - because it's not what most people mean by the word "idea."

Word has a built-in dictionary. This is what it says:

Idea -
a personal opinion or belief;
a thought to be presented as a suggestion;
an impression or knowledge of something;
a realization of a possible way of doing something or of something to be done;
the aim or purpose of a plan or project;
the gist or précis of something such as a book, report, project or plan;
a thought about or mental picture of something such as a future or possible event;
a concept that exists in the mind only;
a mental image that reflects reality.

The last is what I'm most interested in - ideas that reflect reality as well as possible. But I've decided that I like it that idea is such a wide term.

Here I am taking idea to mean (and I think this is what most of us think of when we think of the meaning of the word, idea) some thought one has about something. "I have an idea" - meaning, I am not sure this concept fits reality, but it is a hypothesis I have formed.

I also think that, when I named The Idea Emporium, I was blurring words together in my mind - idea, concept, conception, understanding, hypothesis.

The Idea Emporium - a place for all these things.

This is not the same as people having "an idee fixe" - meaning, a fixed idea, a rigid belief that something is one way or another.
The sooner people get rid of such ideas, the better. The Idea Emporium is not a place to set out rock-hard beliefs and stone people with them, hurling them like missiles at all and any that come within striking range.

That is not The Idea Emporium.

The Idea Emporium - a place to present and explore ideas - for now my ideas.

That does not mean the idea need to be timidly set forth, all hemming and hawing, tentative even when the evidence is strong.

The Idea Emporium – the goal is smart opinions, critical thought, perception, good analysis.

The Idea Emporium. Smart opinions - meaning, drawing on every resource possible, rather than "it's my opinion, that's why I believe it, and it's as good as yours any day. Who are you to say blacks can do math, women can learn to read, Jews deserve to live. I have every right to my opinion." Personally, I'd rather do my best to think well, but many others are clearly proud of their avowed right to be thoughtless.

That's not The Idea Emporium.

The Idea Emporium. Critical thought - that means we do our best to think well, to apply logic, information, all our capacities.

The Idea Emporium. Good analysis. Again, that means we try to ensure that we use valid arguments - not, "because it's my opinion," "because I say so" "because I know that's right" "because my god says so" "because everyone knows that's right" . We both draw conclusions from evidence (so there may be evidence showing patterns and tendencies in certain groups (for instance, I've done lots of research on the impact of rights movements on those who get involved, and have found lots of evidence for patterns of response) - and at the same time we are careful not to generalize, to draw conclusions beyond what we have evidence for, and even contradicting the evidence ("Women are ..." "Muslims believe ..." "everyone this happens to ..." "Jews are..." "Gays are ..."

The Idea Emporium. Perception. Not easy to perceive. We each do it through a filter of experience, memory, assumptions, and so on. We have all learned not to perceive many things - denial - and to magnify other things. The goal at The Idea Emporium (and this should be the goal everywhere) is to be as perceptive - taking in as much information - as possible.

The Idea Emporium. i could go on and on. But this is enough for a start. More important now to put it into action - because it's ideas came first, surging inside me, wanting to find a place to be heard.

I'm (among other things) a college teacher, so my teaching gives me one outlet for my ideas, to express them, modify them, listen to other ideas, test the evidence, the power (or lack thereof) of different arguments.

But that hasn't been enough for me. One small class at a time.

I have a sense that I have some ideas that could be valuable to many people - ideas many people don't have (many have very different ideas), ideas where my ideas may help other people struggling with some of the same concerns, and so on. I think these ideas could help make some kind of positive difference in the world, reach people who are reachable, maybe even break through some shells many people live inside, shells that stop them from perceiving things.

There will be space for the ideas of others as well. Right now I am starting with a few ideas of mine. But I envisage that The Idea Emporium is a place that will grow, enriching both others and also myself - that I and my ideas will grow from some of what comes back.

Elsa
July 30, 2006


copyright © Elsa Schieder 2006
publishing house - FlufferDuff Impressions 2006

Questions - on rage, hatred, narcissism, empathy, caring, peace.
Good thinking and analysis. Logic plus emotion.
The Idea Emporium - facts, ideas, conclusions.
Plus stupid opinions exposed.


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IDEA * EVALUATION * CONCLUSION * INSIGHT * COMMENTARY * CONTROVERSY * INTELLECTUAL CONFLICTS * CONFLICTING VERSIONS AND CONCLUSIONS * DIFFICULT AREAS * OPINION * WELL-REASONED OPINION * UNFOUNDED OPINION * STUPID OPINION * THEORY * THEORIZING * FEMINIST THEORIES * PERCEPTION * PERCEPTIONS * PERSPECTIVES * PSYCHOANALYTICAL THEORIES *
THE IDEA EMPORIUM + THE IDEA EMPORIUM + THE IDEA EMPORIUM * THE IDEA EMPORIUM
ENVORINMENTAL CONCERNS * ANALYSIS * DISCOVERING UNDERLYING CAUSES * AMBIVALENCES * AMBIGUITIES * FEAR OF AND RAGE AGAINST IDEAS * FEAR OF EXPRESSING IDEAS *
ANTI-THINKING TORRORISM * ANTI-INTELLECTUAL TERRORISM * FALLACIES * FLAWED REASONING *
THE RAGE AGAINST UNWANTED IDEAS * THE RAGE AGAINST UNWANTED VISONS OF REALITY *
THE IDEA EMPORIUM + THE IDEA EMPORIUM + THE IDEA EMPORIUM * THE IDEA EMPORIUM
BLINKERS AGAINST PERCEPTION * BARRIERS TO THINKING * BARRIERS TO REASONING *
INTELLECTUAL STIMULATION * STIMULATING IDEAS * FERTILE THOUGHT * VIEWPOINTS * UNDERSTANDINGS * COMPLEXITIES * UNCERTAINTIES * GUESSES * HUNCHES *
FACTS * GUT FEELINGS ABOUT THINGS * EXPLORING IDEAS * EXPLORATIONS OF IDEAS *
EXPERIMENTS TO VERIFY IDEAS * REALITIES * REASONING * IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS *
THOUGHT OF THE DAY * PERCEPTION * PERSPECTIVE * DATA * INFORMATION *
OPINION PIECES * LOGICAL THINKING * CRITICAL THOUGHT * INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS * IDEA

 

 

THE IDEA EMPORIUM
A CELEBRATION OF GOOD THINKING

THE IDEA EMPORIUM
NO HOLDS BARRED THINKING

THE IDEA EMPORIUM
LOOK AT ANYTHING, ASK ANYTHING

LOOK ANYWHERE

PLUS, LOOK AT THE JOURNEY

 

 

"It is a fact readily acknowledged,
that for humans,
an idea is much more powerful
than a fact."

 

WHEN I HEARD THAT,
I HAD A EUREKA MOMENT.
YES, I HAD SEEN THAT SO OFTEN.

 

SOME OF US ALREADY LOVE GOOD THINKING.

BUT GOOD THINKING IS POSSIBLE
FOR ALMOST ALL OF US,
JUST LIKE EVEN A COUCH POTATO
CAN GET INTO SHAPE!

SO, FOR THE THINKERS
AND THE POTENTIAL THINKERS


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