Humility, Great Mind, Genius, Master, Expert, etc.... you've heard the words... perhaps said them...

4 months ago
72 in philosophy

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I'll admit it now when someone says I have a great mind, calls me a genius or anything like that I recognize it as a compliment but internally I find myself slightly embarrassed. I thought I might share why...

I may be overly optimistic on what I see as human capabilities, but I believe just like we can work out our body physically consistently and get a very strong body, I also feel this is true of our minds. ALL OF US.

I don't really view myself different from most people. I just exercise my mind a lot, and honestly I neglect my body. If you think I have a great mind, that is a nice compliment and I appreciate it, yet I also see that capability in you and most people.

Some people are born with mutations (some people might call it defects, but sometime it might not be) and differences that may not enable them to achieve the same expressions and understandings I do. However, they likely will also be able to achieve some understandings that I cannot due to their state.

I see value in people. I do not really see my fellow humans as me the Teacher and other people the students. I tend to see us all as simultaneously teachers and students. We are learning as we teach. It is a symbiotic, communal relationship.

So for those of you that follow my posts you know by now that I'm a bit obsessed with Critical Thinking. This is because I see it as perhaps one of our single greatest mental tools for freeing our mind, and accepting other people who disagree as a blessing rather than as a WIN/LOSE, Me against Them type of mentality. I also know our education systems do not teach this. You may see a class that has the phrase Critical Thinking in the title, but in reality they usually barely scratch the surface and it usually is a 100 level class that people just rush through in college as a requirement. It doesn't challenge the students unless you're a glutton for punishment and happen to take the old instructor everyone warns you to avoid. It ended up likely being the single most valuable course in my college experience. It nudged a door open in my mind that the education system was fine with leaving closed. As I peered through it my mind began to expand in new ways. I was always a bit of an odd duck and I've always been considered smart by people that know me, but I assure you my grades did not always reflect that. I was an individual from early in my teens, and I loved being an individual, I stopped trying to fit in. Yet I was lacking some amazing tools. I was mostly lead by my emotions, my speculations, and various factoids I had memorized.

This I believe is actually where most of the population of the world becomes stuck. This I feel is likely by design. Now before you tell me to put on my Tinfoil Faraday Cage Hat I assure you I've spent years thinking about this. Can I be wrong? Sure. I guarantee you I am wrong about a great many things, and I love it, for that means there is always more to learn. Yet, let me at least give you a hint of the path that lead me here. I learned about the Prussian Education System. I read about how that system was developed, and I read the positives that the governments involved had to say about that system. I extrapolated in a mental exercise what such "positives" would be like after several generations of that system. Essentially, you get what you have today. Why is that? Well in the U.S. and most countries our education system is based upon the Prussian Education System. It is actually where the word School comes from. Those positive traits. Obedience, and patriotism were high on the list. It was seen as a positive that they would believe what they were told and tend to stay focused on that task. These are framed as positives. Yet, I look back and see them mostly as negatives. It was about believing what you are told and not questioning. Learning the world and the facts in the framework they decide rather than actually teaching you to free your mind and THINK.

It teaches that asking questions can be bad unless they are asked under very controlled circumstances. It teaches you that there are some things you simply do not ask questions about. It teaches you that if someone who has gone to school or is a supposed "expert" tells you a thing is true that you should not question this and should take it as fact. In a sense it turns the State (aka government) into a religion. Just like religions protect themselves by calling some questions "blasphemy", "heresy", or "Satan", so too has the State managed to condition the population about questioning certain things.

Through years and years of this our mind is fitted with shackles that limit its movement, and for the most part we are completely unaware these shackles exist.

I consider myself closest to Anarcho Capitalist in terms of what I currently believe is a workable Utopian goal for society. For me Utopia is the societal version of infinity. I do not believe it is completely attainable, but it is something to strive towards.

As such I've pondered how would we get to that Anarcho Capitalistic world, and would it work?

I came to the conclusion that the mass populations minds could not handle such a society yet. I realized that until the society as a whole fully embraced critical thinking, and their own comfort in the beautiful INDIVIDUAL they are that Ancap, and all other utopian ideologies would not work.

In fact, I came to believe that getting the masses to learn critical thinking, and be okay with being an individual rather than obsessed with fitting in is likely the key to us potentially solving many of what are known as the BIG PROBLEMS.

So that is something I can try to do. I can talk about critical thinking. I can tell people to google it. Find places that do flashcards on logical fallacies, and do them every so often. This is like exercising your body. I am no critical thinking expert. I am individual who hopefully gets better and better at it with practice.

I use logical fallacies, and I am still flawed. I will likely always be so to some degree. I just seek to always minimize the impact those flaws might have on my life by continually pushing myself.

Part of that is seeking out people I disagree with and trying to have civil discussions with them. I learn far more doing this than intentionally only hanging out with people that agree with me.

So when someone calls me a genius, a master, a great mind, etc. I am a little embarrassed. I see myself as an individual like you. The only thing that separates each of us is our personal experiences, and yes perhaps some genetics. Yet since we are all supposedly using a fraction of our brain anyway, I don't see how my intellect is much difference than most peoples CAN be if they are in the right place at the right time, they exercise their mind, and hopefully they learn critical thinking and knock the Prussian Education System's shackles into the dirt where they belong.

It would be my hope that as the shackles fall away from you, or if they long ago fell away from you without my help, and possibly before mine had fallen away, is that you will use that knowledge to help other people free their minds.

I believe that is the most important thing we can do right now if we truly want to solve the big problems.

Let me give you one parting "gift" of something to look for...

Are there certain things be they words, phrases, topics that as soon as you hear them you say "uh, uh, no way" and turn away? If you can think of some examples ask yourself this. If something important that was fact in that conversation were to be presented how would you ever know if you turned away and did not engage? Why is this a conditioned response? Who benefits? What is the risk of listening? If you know how to use critical thinking then there should be no danger of mental contamination in talking to anyone about anything. Talking, and listening does not have to translate to believing. Unfortunately in the Prussian Education System people are conditioned so Listening, and Talking do lead to unquestioning belief in the fact of what they were told. So is it natural when we hear someone speaking of something uncomfortable to our world view for us to instinctively be trying to avoid this conditioning because the person speaking the words is not perceived as an authority figure? I don't know if this is the case or not. This is simply something I found myself pondering now.

The gift to you is that having such phrases and words that shut down your mind and make you refuse to listen, and use your head are BAD things. If you can recognize their existence you can take away the control they impose upon you. You free your mind a little bit more. Listening, and hearing someone does not mean you have to believe them. Listen and be open but use critical thought, don't give in to appeals to authority, appeals to tradition, etc.

And spread the word... if people en-mass are versed in critical thinking then we can seriously tackle many of the world/solar system/universe big problems as they head our way.

Thanks for reading.


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61
  ·  4 months ago

(applauds) I am still learning, loved how gracefully you can analyze let alone type all this out for all of us to read in a short amount of time. Hats off Sir again. I am getting engulfed with all of this in the most self wanting way, but having the full 100% of my mind and time is not as easy as for some. Tends to take me a bit longer, which is embarrassing but I don't mind. Even that didn't sound right, but I am confident you get what I mean. I don't know how you do it Sir, but it's working.

We can skip to the helpings of others free their minds in a peaceful more thought out planned way. Since THEY payed closer attention to the so called schools than I ever did, but how would of they of known at the time. No shackles to worry about here. Looks like 39 minutes went by, just thought you would be interested to know. Need a break. Look forward to engaging later. Thanks again.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Thanks... this is just the windmills I have chosen to tilt at for now.

I ask myself like many, what can I do to help make the world a better place. Currently this is the best course of action I have come up with.

I learn a lot in trying to do it as well.

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61
  ·  4 months ago

Well your windmills have tilted in your favor. Takes bravery, and You Sir are a prime example. Great place to teach and learn, am very glad to be here and it's truly an honor to hear and engage with everyone is this post. Will try to keep up and follow the lead. I am probably biting more than I can chew, but that keeps me sharpened.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Biting more than you can chew and SURVIVING the experience is usually the best path to take, until you don't survive. :)

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61
  ·  4 months ago

"Raises a glass of Red Wine"

67
  ·  4 months ago

An excellent read and good points for further exploration.

I suppose I am naive in my own way, in my belief that differences of opinion can exist and be understood compassionately and cordially without requiring some kind of "conversion" or "persuasion." Typically, this is met either with statements about my naivety about the world, or statements that I am just trying to "intellectualize myself" out of actually being passionate about something.

It gives me thought for pause... but most people are not receptive to entertaining the idea that they may merely be mislabeling violent expression of opinion as "passion." But hey, that's just me.

I share your dis-ease with things such as being called a "visionary," "genius" or "great thinker." I'm not. I'm just "some guy" who's pretty good at connecting the dots between hugely disparate perspectives.

I am not sure what sort of -ist I am, and I tend to avoid -isms simply because my thoughts tend to be rather fluid as I gain new perspectives and ideas that add/subtract to the strange tapestry of stuff I call "my reality."

Anyway, I seem to get stuck in a chicken-vs-egg conundrum when it comes to critical thinking and society, but I am probably missing something... we have to teach people to think for themselves in order to better the world, but in order for that to happen, people who are mechanical automatons have to think for themselves and choose that path, before they have been taught how to think for themselves.

Sadly, I sometimes feel like we're regressing... the recent US election installed a President who represents the archetypical "Strong Father" who takes charge and does the thinking FOR us. Will not be questions, and "knows what's best for us." That's not an editorial comment on Trump the man, but a comment on the mindset that made his election possible.

So, where do we go from here?

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72
  ·  4 months ago

I am not sure what sort of -ist I am, and I tend to avoid -isms simply because my thoughts tend to be rather fluid as I gain new perspectives and ideas that add/subtract to the strange tapestry of stuff I call "my reality."

Haha... if you noticed I made sure to use the word CURRENTLY in the sentence. That is because I am fluid as well and often change my mind.

we have to teach people to think for themselves in order to better the world, but in order for that to happen, people who are mechanical automatons have to think for themselves and choose that path, before they have been taught how to think for themselves.

I tend to think we can help them. Is it easy? NO. Does it always bear fruit while I am sitting there talking to them? Actually, this rarely happens.

What tends to happen is myself, or people like you plant seeds, and they might start to grow at a later time. They may not even remember us when these new thoughts start to suddenly make sense to them.

I am fine with that. I don't do this for credit. I do this as I want people to believe it is wonderful that people disagree as long as they can be civil and learn from each other. I want them to realize it isn't about WINNING or LOSING and argument, in fact when someone says something about winning or losing when I am trying to talk to them it makes me a little sad. I realize they are still stuck in the conditioned environment of US vs THEM, HOME vs VISITOR, WINNER vs LOSER, and that is a very narrow view of what actually is going on.

But I am fine with my slim hope that maybe I plant some seeds that might turn into something later on.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

As far as the current president. I wasn't happy with the choices. Worst choices I've ever seen. I don't consider Trump as bad as Hillary after doing deep dive research on her. I actually think she may be the single most corrupt person I've ever seen run for office. I'd rather have a random woman off of the street than her.

Yet at the time Trump was an unknown, and let's face it until after January 20th, he was all WORDS. People were calling for his impeachment and other crazy things (assassination) when he hadn't even done anything yet. He'd said words. I told people I care less about words than actions.

I voted for Obama in 2008 based upon words. Then the things I voted on him for he did exactly the opposite.

They are calling Trump a liar constantly when in reality he might not be lying he may be simply be WRONG. To lie you have to know what you are saying is wrong and say it anyway. I don't know that he lies, I just think he may not actually really know what he is talking about or get it from a bad source a lot of the time. Obama on the other hand in 2008 distinctly laid out why certain things were bad (Patriot Act) and against the constitution, etc and that he'd get rid of them. Then he gets into office and strengthens them. He didn't actually do a damn thing I voted for him for. Those were lies. He made it clear on the campaign he knew the facts, and then once in office he did the opposite of what he said he would do.

Trump has been actually doing what he said he would. However, remember people were afraid of his words so that is not necessarily a good thing if you were afraid of the things he was saying. So he is not lying there either.

I actually have more and more sympathy for him because of the media, and some of the outrageous hypocritical crap targeted against him.

I don't really think we had very good choices for President this time around. I voted for Gary Johnson of the Libertarian party. I was not happy with Gary's VP choice and how he was handling things towards the end I voted for him with the slim hope of getting the Libertarian Party to 5% so they'd supposedly get more rights in future elections.

Everywhere else across the board I voted for a 3rd party anywhere I could, Libertarian was my first choice, but I'd choose 3rd Party of other types if that was my only choice.

When it came to Dem/Rep I voted a little bit for both.

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67
  ·  4 months ago

My mention of Trump was mostly to allude to thinking, and the way the choice of someone representing the "Strong Father" archetype can signal a desire to abdicate one's own opinions and thoughts to a central authority, rather than be responsible for them on an individual... a return to 1950's "Father Knows Best" values. Nothing essentially wrong with that aside from the way it may suppress individual thinking.

Time will tell what sort of President Trump ends up being. He's definitely being "beaten on" from all sides, which I sense (reading between the lines) is largely a response to nobody really knowing what they are dealing with... he's non-establishment and unpredictable-- it scares people.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Yeah, him not being status quo and actually doing what he says he will do are the only things I definitely can say with certainty are good things.

Whether what he says he is going to do is something I like or not is a completely different story.

As far as him I am reacting to actions, though I do find it interesting what he says he is going to do so far is proving to be a pretty good indicator.

That's unsual. I'm used to presidents saying things and having NO clue what they actually plan.

64
  ·  4 months ago

Just focus on being the best you possible. I find wisdom in what you write. Remember we are all exactly where we are supposed to be at any given moment.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Life is an adventure... the good and the bad.

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64
  ·  4 months ago

Everything is a lesson. Some we learn more quickly or easily and some we may never learn in this lifetime. The most important lessons are the memorable ones, we will keep those with us forever. Every life has value, even the ones we don't want to find the value in. I'm glad I finally learned that lesson. The truth is on a human level we never can comprehend the ripples we send out into each other's lives and how they grow into waves spreading over a sea of humanity. Life is all about learning and growing.

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61
  ·  4 months ago

I guess I'm not the only one. Good crowd here.

67
  ·  4 months ago

School is teaching you the basics. For some things, like basic math or science, there is no other way to learn them. You need a solid ground to be able to move forward.

However, school also teaches us there is no stupid questions, only stupid answers. And this is where I disagree with you. I am not saying that what you depict does not exist, but this is not like this everywhere. At least I like to believe it.

Except that part of your artucle, I fully agree with the rest.

Other point. One becomes expert only once we had to transmit the knowledge once. That shows us that we actually do not know everything and what we need to work harder. This means, we need to be at least two to learn.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Education is where you learn the basics. Prussian Education System which is where the word "school" came from, is only ONE way. People were learning science and reason and other education basics long before it existed. I was not blasting education itself, simply the indoctrination and obedience aspects that are a core part of the Prussian system.

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67
  ·  4 months ago

Sorry for having read too fast. I thought you were aiming towards something more general.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

No I believe Education is critical. I simply believe critical thinking should be at the core of our education from a very early age. Teach people that it is okay to ask questions, teach them to spot and avoid logical fallacies such as Appeal to Authority, Appeal to Tradition, Generalization, Ad Hominem attacks, etc.

I mention the Prussian Education System in the article mainly as like me, I bet people don't know much about it. I didn't until last year some time I think.

It has some positives, but there are other ways to achieve those positives, and some of the positives the governments that chose to implement it saw as positives actually in the long term are not that positive. They seem to discourage asking questions in many places.

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61
  ·  4 months ago

So would it be wise to start by teaching/helping the Teachers that our teaching our children?

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72
  ·  4 months ago

I've seen that the government actually seems to often get in the way of good teachers these days. I've known a number of very passionate and good teachers that have tons of problems and it tends to be related to growing government programs.

No Child Left behind, Common Core, etc.

I do know a lot of teachers are not taught this so it is definitely worth teaching them this sooner rather than later. Whether they are actually permitted to pass that on or not is another issue.

I am all for teaching anyone that I can, and teachers are definitely a wise low hanging fruit if you want the best chance of spreading it to the youth. If the government doesn't get in the way.

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67
  ·  4 months ago

Critical thinking is indeed really something missing today. People just do not think and repeat what they have heard here and there. That is especially true for young guys. Too sad.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Yep, which is why I've kind of chosen it as my personal target to try to aim for. When thinking "how can I help", this is something I can actually do. I will keep doing it as long as I am able and until some better target in my mind arises. If we succeed with more people that will make them better able to grasp what you have to offer too.

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61
  ·  4 months ago

dwinblood has got me hooked on this critical thinking. I think, I mean I know I bit off more than I can chew, but I admit I still am wanting a side of me to learn more. Hoping somebody who may also read this one day incrementally would benefit as well.

Frank

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67
  ·  4 months ago

Replying here (hopefully the nesting limit will die soon)...

I am really thinking about what I could do on the field, with respect to the courses I teach, to make my students teach by themselves more. It is actually not easy when you teach sciences. You are trying to educate students (young adults) to think by themselves and solve a problem, but what they want to do is to get a good mark. This is easy to achieve when learning by heart (I really hate this).

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Yes, it is a big problem. I understand. If we could get them passionate about actually learning at an early age and familiar with critical thinking I do believe it would end up making it easier to accomplish once they make it to someone like you. This is my hypothesis anyway... still needs to be tested.

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67
  ·  4 months ago

Yes but the passion is hard to get. When one chooses a field, one must first learn (often boring) bases before being able to tackle cooler and state-of-the-art topics.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Passion is indeed hard to find until you either fall in love with learning itself, or are fortunate enough to be exposed to something you find personally interesting.

65
  ·  4 months ago


Hi @dwinblood, I just stopped back to let you know your post was one of my favourite reads yesterday and I included it in my Steemit Ramble. You can read what I wrote about your post here.

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72
  ·  4 months ago

Thank you very much. I just went and read your post and up voted it. I appreciate the shout out.

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65
  ·  4 months ago

my pleasure, it was a very thoughtful post. no pun intended. Thanks for the upvote.