DO WE KNOW HOW TO THINK?
Do we know how to think? Everyone is sure that knows how to think, knows how to form an opinion. He or she is also sure that he or she thinks often and that almost every his or her thought is “thinking”, reasoning. You are also sure of it. But this assurance is deeply erroneous and leads to unfortunate consequences.
Let’s determine what is “thinking” at first. It is really very simple. Let’s say you want to make a decision in a situation – what to do. For this, you sit down, write out all the options that seem the most reasonable to you. Then you write out all the pros and cons of each solution and then you ask yourself – which option assumes more pros? If you use Selection of perceptions, you will ask yourself another second question: which option gives you the greatest anticipation?
And do you often do like this? Of the thousands of more or less important decisions made, how many times have you done this? I think, two or three times, or none.
Now, let’s say you were asked to create an opinion on some issue, for example: do you agree that people have a legal right to openly and publicly have sex. If you want to form an opinion on some issue, what is it reasonable to do? Firstly, to collect information from sources that you believe for some reason or other to be reliable. Secondly, analyze this information, contrast it. Then, based on both processed information and your personal experience you make up some reasoned opinion – you are “for” or “against” it.
Do you often do this? I think very rarely. Or even never. To answer the question asked about public sex, will you do this? I think no. How then will you create your opinion? It is very simple – on the basis of a) an emotional reaction and b) repeating someone’s authoritative opinion.
There are two simple criteria for the fact that a person actually created his own reasoned opinion – an opinion as a result of reasoning:
a) before answering, a person will say “I need to think”. When was the last time you heard this phrase from someone? Personally I hear it very rarely. Have you ever been surprised that people always have a ready opinion on almost any issue? Did they spend so much time to think about everything? No, on the contrary, they do not have the habit of thinking and that is why they do not need reasoning.
b) he or she will spend a certain amount of time, more or less significant, on reasoning
c) when he or she finally expresses his or her opinion, he or she will necessarily (!) want to tell you about why he or she came to such an opinion, which train of thought he or she had, which the most significant arguments for and against he or she has considered, just because it is interesting, nice to tell you about it. Well, if you ask him the question “why do you think so”, he will tell you about the progress of his reasoning with particular pleasure and thoroughness. Reasoning is pleasant, it gives pleasure and it will be pleasant for him to share his pleasure with you. And vice versa – if a person expressed an opinion rashly but under the influence of emotions or authorities, as it almost always happens, then in response to the question “why did you come to this opinion” in spite of all the diversity of personalities of people, almost everyone will experience a clearly visible surge of irritation, discontent.
You can conduct as many experiments of this kind as you want and discover that people never think. And after that, perhaps, you will have enough sincerity to admit that this also applies to you.
It is an amazing situation. On the one hand, we are sure that we are rationale people, that is, in our lives, the mind, reasonable and consistent thinking plays a rightful role. On the other hand, this is completely wrong. And this leads to very sad consequences. Imagine that a sick person takes instead of a medicine some kind of pacifier by mistake. If his condition does not improve, if his health gets worse and worse, then everyone will advise him to take the medicine, and he understands perfectly that once the body cannot fight it itself, medication support is needed. But he is already sure that he is doing it! So, he comes to the conclusion that drugs do not help either. The same is with the mind. People in their actions are almost never guided by common sense and moreover – they never use it at all, and therefore they are sure that the misfortunes they face are inevitable, then the mind will not help, because they already “apply” it. Thus, this self-deception leads to the fact that people do not even try to use common sense to solve their problems. Unhappy, they rush between decisions motivated by emotions and decisions motivated by dogmas, and finding no way out, they are assured that there is no way out and cannot be. In their thinking there is chaos, sheer contradictions and inconsistencies and gradually they are assured that there is no other way, being skeptic, and, eventually, refusing even attempts to think independently.
Sometimes it seems that people think at least at work. Otherwise, how could our world, based on technology, exist? But it is not so as well. Even in the work of scientists, where it would seem that you can’t take a single step without reasoning, people think extremely little, simply following the established rules, algorithms. In fact, at work, people often follow instructions that someone once did thinking well an other than that they do exactly the same as in everyday life – following emotions and dogmas.
So the answer to the question “do we know how to think” is: we know how. But we do not use this skill almost anywhere except at work and even there we hardly use it. And in vain.
And they do not teach to think in schools.