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Thinking Critically and Rationally

Critical rationalists hold that scientific theories, and any other claims to knowledge, can and should be rationally criticized, and (if they have empirical content) can and should be subjected to tests which may falsify them.

Thus claims to knowledge may be contrastively, normatively evaluated. They are either falsifiable and thus empirical (in a very broad sense), or not falsifiable and thus non-empirical. Those claims to knowledge that are potentially falsifiable can then be admitted to the empire.

In plain English: Being rational is one thing, but are you thinking critically as well? If you are, then you are open to the idea of being wrong, because it leads to a better society. People have killed and been killed over ideologies that were later proven to be invalid. Many were neither rational nor critical of their own ideas. Some were only one of these things.

So how about it? Before another law is passed, before another person dies or kills for the wrong reasons–let’s think critically and rationally about EVERYTHING. That means putting your party-specific biases aside.

Jersey Shore, the Coliseum, and Obama

Have you ever wondered what popular culture is all about, and why it is so vacuous and devoid of worthwhile intellectual conversation? It’s to placate the masses.

Popular culture isn’t about thinking, it’s about placating the masses, allowing them to vicariously live through imaginary people. It is the ultimate Shakespearean tragedy.

Who watches Jersey Shore? People who are desperate to believe that their lives are relatively not that hopeless. Who watches celebrity gossip? People who want to watch the stars fall back down to earth with the rest of the “regular folk”.

Roman political leaders knew the importance of the Coliseum. It served the same purpose that the television, a major delivery system of the pop culture dream, which placated the masses.

Now ask yourself: Why does Obama go on The View?

Fighter Jets, Bull Riding, and Thinking

The second process–thinking-is an evolutionarily newer ability, rooted in language and not closely related to motivation. In other words, thinking is the rider, affect is the elephant.

- Michael Haidt

Affect reactions can reduce your options thereby limiting your choices or shutting down the ability to reason across a broad spectrum. This would sever to protect you in dangerous circumstances, however you would need to overcome this when trying to fly fighter jets or ride bulls.

How fast could genetic switches be activated under repeated bouts of training for dangerous jobs or sports to take advantage of the speed of affect reactions? Is this what happens when no one has to “think” while performing?

How fast can these same switches be activated before it’s time to head to the polls? When was the last time you asked yourself: “who wants me to believe in this idea, and for what purpose?”

The Great Society Can’t Rest on Design

hayek

As soon as we recognize that the basic order of the Great Society cannot rest entirely on design, and can therefore also not aim at particular foreseeable results, we see that the requirement, as legitimation of all authority, of a commitment to general principles approved by general opinion, may well place effective restrictions on the particular will of all authority, including that of the majority of the movement…

-Friedrich A. Hayek

Here it would be quite easy to invoke mysticism, recounting the doctrines of the world’s greatest faiths. Yin and Yang, the Hindu Upanishads, anima and anamis. I am assuming that Hayek’s answer lies in recognizing our intellectual limitations and having “faith” int the evolutionary process that created civilization–Spontaneous Order.

When Democracy Gives a Voice to Envy

“(The Ephesians) said: nobody shall be the best among us; and if someone is outstanding, then let him be so elsewhere, and among others.”

Eric Hopper, The Open Society and its Enemies

So democracy gives a voice to envy and class warfare leading to the great equalizer – totalitarianism. The only problem is that those who take power under this tribal form of government are the very people ostracized under democracy – the elites.

As people demand that government take power away from both them, and  those that have earned their way through life, they in effect create an even worse class of elites than they ever intended.

And these elites eventually answer to no one.

-Mike