Thursday, January 16, 2014

When lazy becomes fact

Lately and I mean in the timeline of the internet age, facts get past around a lot. It can be certainly be hard to navigate what to absorb and what not to.
I want to go back to a critical point in my life. My first semester of college. At the time I was a psychological guru one might say. I surrounded myself with books about theories from Sigmund Freud, Carl C. Jung, Buddism, Hinduism and way to many to count. Needless to say, I was thirsty for understanding. I remember being so excited at the opportunity to share ideas in a classroom with long standing facts. Little did I know, I would be hugely disappointed. There was no dialogue in my psychology major. No sharing of ideas. I was to simply memorize information in a textbook book to be regurgitating later on command. Not all is lost though. For in my psychology book on the first page was a paragraph that has guided me to this day title Critical Thinking.  After one semesters I never returned and vowed to seek my own answers and my library card has proved invaluable to this day.
Critical Thinking:
Ask questions:  seek to understand and don't be afraid to ask what hasn't been asked.
Define the problem: clearly define the question as your result will depend on this greatly.
Examine the evidence: just because a bunch of people believe something is true doesn't make it so. We once thought the Earth was flat!
Analyze assumptions and biases: We are human it's going to happen, just be willing to evaluate yours and others. What do you gain from this being true?
Avoid emotional reasoning: intuition can be a guide, but sometimes will get in the way.
Don't oversimplify: Now this one can be tricky, especially if you follow Occam's razor. To me I see this as exploring all angles.
Formulate your hypothesis: quite simply come to a reasonable answer.
Tolerate uncertainty: To me Quatum Mechanics leads me to be inclined to consider all things are possible and impossible :-)
I tend to always have my head in the clounds and one other simple piece of advice I received some years later at the bedside of my dying grandfather completed for me a grounding set of tools. With every problem pose to yourself how does this effect me and what can I do with it in my life with this information. If it has no apparent relevance, unless your a fiction writer or a theoretical scientists you might be better suited persuing other problems.