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The premise of this blog has been the expressing of the opinion:— I know something and I think it will help you if I write it out and post it where you can see it. — My intention has been to present ideas, not as fixed facts, but as explorations that you might make to discover some things that might be helpful to you. Most of the subjects that are covered are probably covered by other people elsewhere; after all, there are over seven billion other people and only one of me, and one of you, and of course there are some hundred billion other people who have had an input into our thought processes. So what I am really saying isn’t totally new, but rather a viewpoint, inevitably different from yours, that might give you a stereo-vision on your problem. With that additional view of it, and a different insight of your perception of it, hopefully something better might come about.

Hopefully if you do find something valuable you will communicate to others, and they to the rest of humanity at large through osmosis of thought. Perhaps just as important is when something doesn’t work you communicate that too, but before you condemn new ideas it is important that you actually understand and try them. If a idea is even a little bit different from a person’s preexisting way of doing things it will be rejected, and it is difficult to change. There is the old saying, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” but a greater truth is, “A mind is an impossible thing to change.” We never really change our minds; we only overlay a way of thinking with another one that seems to fit our new situation better than the old one. The old one is still there, but we choose to use the new one.

There is a major problem that has developed in our world over the last decade that has been created by the internet and the search engines like Google. It is called confirmation bias. That is, we search for the information that proves what we already believe is true, and therefore we can continue behaving the way we have been. That, coupled with the fact that we can now easily find people who believe as we have already conditioned ourselves to believe, means it is easier than ever to form opinions more deeply that are founded exclusively on the opinion of others who already believe what we believe. It is a positive feedback cycle of the type that can bring about poor results, because there isn’t a process for correcting any poor information. We all have these propensities, to believe that we are right, but normally when we are wrong about something we soon get negative feedback and stop believing things that aren’t true and doing things that don’t work well. The idea of science, and the reason it has improved technical operations so much is because the various people working on a subject constantly challenge each other’s work. They like to prove the other guy made a mistake, so they can get their promotions for being right, but because science in general has been tested this way it is very difficult to find things that don’t work. Part of the fair play of science is to admit you are wrong when you are proven wrong. And there is the current problem, because it is now so easy to find someone to agree with almost anything that can be conceived, and also to quickly form a group of true believers in a new cause. I don’t condemn this trend; I only want people to individually verify that what they are basing their thoughts and decisions upon is real.

 

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