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A Beautiful Mind

Excitingly Existentialistic

Posted on 2012.05.09 at 07:26
Current Location: 67114
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As a non-linear thinker, I have a difficult time conceptualizing abstract ideas for the purposes of illustration. But when I do, they are very nearly irrefutable. That is, unless it butts up against disbelief. Just as one cannot use logic to prove or disprove the existence of The Almighty, there will be people who do not believe my expanded definitions of more common ideals. And very often in trying to illustrate them, their more simplistic chunks appear contradictory rather than nuanced. Its no wonder I struggle so hard to be understood. My comprehension of abstruse theories of my own creation fascinate me to no end; ideas which I find poignant to everyday living, or more to the point, creating/sustaining success out of each and every day, indefinitely.

Its interesting to inspect that which unearths from a process of critical thinking. One of my weaknesses (strengths) is my inability to apply logic to only a single instance without further applying it across the board. I was once told by a professional psychologist who awkwardly suffered from confirmation bias that the scientific method cannot be applied to everything. Naturally, I disagreed with him.

That same psychologist also ridiculed me for being too esoteric - as if the very underpinnings of psychology were based wholly in the concrete sciences! My point is, while we all understand different things at different levels, I tend to place far less restrictions on even applied concepts, and even less so on the theoretical. But it wasn't always this way with me.

I used to believe in rigid, stovepipe definitions of concepts - believing my societal views absolute - until I experienced them differently, or was faced with something which fell outside the default. Over time, by very slowly absorbing and applying knowledge which differed from my initial beliefs, I now not only experience a much broader spectrum of defining attributes, but by default now reject traditional ideas and their definitions. Why? I have discovered that most everything I believed true was inaccurate. At least from my perspective of experiencing it. Default societal values are nothing more than lowest-common-denominator guidelines. Its when the masses treat these starting points as hard and fast rules that conflict arises.

While I was a young man attending an environmental science academy I was taught many liberal things - things I believed to be true because my instructors were articulate, world-weary adventurous adults. By the time I left home, moved overseas and started experiencing the world firsthand, I found that what I saw and what I was taught were two very different things. It was a very confusing couple of years for me as I worked to reconcile, and unlearn certain truths which had been ingrained in me.

Regardless, what is right for me may or may not be right for someone else. Rigid, stovepiped definitions work very well for those who cannot wrap their head around abstraction - it is therefore not wrong for someone like that to grasp onto those comforts, provided they don't attempt to apply it to what everyone else ought to be doing. My wife surprised me the other day with an idea of considering the "European Method" for an upcoming event. I'll have to admit, I was shocked. I was not raised that way. But I can certainly take new information and apply it to my own life. After a little consideration, I agreed with her assessment. Had I not, it would have been for entirely my own, newly formed reasons.

And don't forget the importance of continually expiring personal baselines! Just because that question was answered once before doesn't mean an adjustment hasn't been made to the filter used to accept the inclusion of new information based on previous experience. Absolutely question it again! Its only when we don't that we become a part of the problem and stop thinking for ourselves.

While its true that one can always find the negative in any outcome, I've discovered that restricting my own actions based on someone else's fear has never enriched my life, and more pointedly, has never actually managed to alleviate those fears. The other day I posted this quote:

There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.

It got me to thinking it could be far more reaching than the face value indicates. If we do not know why we believe what we believe - question ourselves, our intent, our motivations, the source of our beliefs - if we do not know why we behave the way we behave, there may very well never be happiness because we're operating under false assumptions. The only thing I know for sure - and I apply it to myself only - limiting myself crushes my soul. Like Bell in SyFy's Alphas, I see infinite possibilities in the very air surrounding me able to be limitlessly manipulated.

Sometimes its not about finding happiness, but keeping it.


michelle1963 at 2012-05-09 12:47 (UTC) (Link)
Many people prefer to rely on default societal views because it's easy. Yes or no; right or wrong; black or white; 0s and 1s. No analysis required. Use the default view and move on.

What's worse is that some people have been indoctrinated to believe that if they do not use the default view, there is something wrong with them. Not using the default view? Why you must be some kind of sinner, deviant, freak. Many abhor the thought of being shunned by the group at large, even on the small stuff.

However, in my experience, EVERY situation is nuanced. I can't make a hard and fast rule that can account for every factor in every situation I encounter. Yes, there may be similarities between situations, similarities that I can draw on to help form a conclusion. But the details are in the differences. The differences cannot be ignored and must be accounted for in the analysis.

There have been a lot of articles lately on "bad science". One continuing theme is that scientists (because of the way much research is now funded ~ but that's fodder for another post) disregard the findings that arise in their research that do not support their initial hypothesis. Like a televangelist trying to convert others to their belief system, these scientists have become interested in "proving" their hypothesis ~ which is nothing more than an untested belief ~ than finding the truth.

Just as in "bad science," the default societal view conveniently ignores factors that do not support the default societal view. So the default is often crap, but hey it's easy, and we're all going to the promised land together.

ehowton at 2012-05-14 01:57 (UTC) (Link)
Many people prefer to rely on default societal views because it's easy.
The question was posed to me today, "What if you do believe in whatever happens to be the default societal view?" I answered that as long as you have tested it for yourself and discovered it to be sound, you are vindicated. In other words you still have to know WHY you agree with the default societal view.

However, in my experience, EVERY situation is nuanced.
Isn't that the truth. The thing about relying upon past experiences is to either simply use them as time-saving frameworks, or expire them altogether to retest a hypothesis. But you're right - something is ALWAYS different, and different garners consideration.

these scientists have become interested in "proving" their hypothesis
You mentioned to me at one point that even if an experience doesn't lend itself to an obvious lesson, a lesson can be found in that. Brilliant, really.
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