Friday, July 30, 2010

Home Schooling - The Importance of Lateral Thinking

A famous saying in the medical community, "When you hear hooves...think horses...not zebras".


The essence of this statement is to decide upon the most obvious or most likely solution first when faced with multiple possibilities.


The problem arises when the obvious doesn't work or when a more efficient way is yet to be discovered.



The way of science involves taking into account all known variables and calculating probabilities to arrive at a hypothesis and to then test it in all known instances to arrive at a theory.



Lateral thinking is the consideration of unknown variables along with possible new parameters, trying them and if the experiment succeeds...the previously unknown variable becomes a known and new parameters are set...and so a new solution has been found.


In the real world, many problems are time dependent. Lateral thinking involves questioning the implied parameters...expanding, altering, or erasing them and trying anew. A quick mental run through usually brings forth possibilities.


To think laterally initially is not usually the best way to go as the obvious would, so often, be missed. Where the obvious has been considered...and fails...lateral thinking is a strength. Fix it men...whether in business, science, law....etc...the specialists in their fields, utilize lateral thinking to a great extent. They may quickly review the situation to ensure the obvious has been considered...they may then concentrate on what has been missed considering all the possibilities...not just on the standard.


An example of simple lateral thinking:







The solution lies in changing the implied parameters.  















While they may seem to be simple solutions...often times tradition or societal norms are used as a perceived unbreakable parameter and so possible solutions are not considered.  It is only when it is shown to be the correct path that new norms are emplaced.  Sometimes not.  The breaking of a sacred parameter sometimes disagrees with societal norms to such a strong degree that it is not considered to be a viable solution.


The saying, "Think out of the box" refers to lateral thinking.


There are many books available on lateral thinking.  It is a valuable way to increase his critical reasoning...to take in all known variables...and to consider possible unknown variables with possible adaptable parameters.


Lateral thinking is science so long as it follows a hierarchy of reasoning.  


Consider the obvious first.  Lateral thinking is used to solve the previously unsolvable or to fine tune a solved.




What is 1 + 1?


Typical thought pattern: 2




What a lateral thinker thinks:


When does 1 + 1 not equal 2?  How can 1 + 1 equal anything else?


1 + 1 equals 1 when it is a part of a whole (two fitting parts) or when combined makes a new whole with twice the mass (as in two pieces of clay mushed together).
Or even zero when you have a chemical reaction that converts the components to energy and no leftover mass...etc.


The inherently great lateral thinkers are usually innovators as their thinking goes beyond the bounds of normal thinking processes.  Many ask not...why? or...how?....but...why not?...or...how not?.  They have a solution in their head already and must then merely reverse engineer it to a viable solution.  


Either way...lateral think should be encouraged in the study of critical reasoning.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Home Schooling - Alex's most effective courses

Alex is presently being home schooled.  Although his old elementary school was doing a great job trying to accommodate his accelerated learning curve...they simply could not keep up with him....and, I have to admit,...neither can we, his parents.  He is simply accelerating faster that we can keep up with him.  

The answer lies in DVD University courses and online courses many grades ahead of him.  I shall put in some of his favorite on line courses.  I highly recommend that you research on your own....however, I have given you a very good starting point.  Some courses are simply too expensive and do not offer anything more than the ones my wife has chosen for him.  What Alex responds to is also indicative of his learning style....so it may not fit all.  I do encourage you to check these out first though.  They were chosen after seeing the depth of explanation and the resulting understanding that Alex had with them. 


I have NO ulterior motives here.  I get no money from this Blog or from the links I incorporate within.  I do this purposely so the information may remain pure...simply the best results, done within economically reasonable bounds, and in the most efficient manner..what else matters?


This is his personal laptop.  He loves using it over our other three computers.  He loves taking it whenever we go out on vacation or even out to eat....especially where there is WiFi.



He is self motivated...he loves how he can advance at his own speed....no distractions.



Both offer Lectures and examples / Assessments / Testing


Offers a free look into this highly successful program for greatly advanced math students from around the world.









Some of Alex's lessons on line from the above on-line courses.

Alex also is learning from a DVD University lecture course that one of his Aunts had gotten for him as a gift:




Alex is also starting a very highly rated course covering all general education:



Now the above, my wife explained, has a definite starting date and is very expensive unless you go through certain sites.  We are home schooling Alex and are in a group that gets a group rate.  We had gotten Plato though here:


For many children, where there is someone at home to guide him....home schooling offers him the chance to greatly accelerate his learning and to a greater depth than can be covered in a public school.

On a more personal note:

For young women out there who are planning on being a stay at home mother....and do not think that pursuing YOUR education is important.....it is you who MUST be educated so you may be able to guide your children in Critical Reasoning as well as their other subjects.  

Give them the capability to reason and all their subjects will make sense.  You, as their mothers, shall be able to guide them and to give them efficient and effective conceptualizations...this will give them perspective.  With this overall picture in their mind....they will be able to construct a logic tree in their minds. They will be able to see the many interlinking patterns of their knowledge.  With this they will be able to approximate intuitively, not just in math, but in all subjects.  They will develop foresight and will be able to reason forward instead of having to learn by mistakes.  They will be able to recognize where something is amiss (applies to life) and they shall be able to reason how to achieve desired effects over undesired ones.

Friday, July 16, 2010

THE IMPORTANCE OF OPTIMISM

Drive is THE most important variable in success.  Optimism not only gives direction, but is the progenitor of drive.  Drive is the result of a realization of the possibility of success in an endeavor or the chasing of a passion in life, both of which are seen as an objective on the horizon...because of optimism.

The following is from a one of my threads in a forum. It helps illustrate my point:

My thread:

With optimism and drive, you can accomplish anything.  Optimism allows you to see forward, and opens hope...your goal becomes apparent. Drive allows you to overcome all odds to achieve your goal.

Pessimism is more akin to being a fatalist (no power to change your fate). Anyone who realizes that one's future is written by one's actions, is not a pessimist. You have the power to change your future...that much is plain. You can change your health through healthful eating (of course, up to your genetic potential...), exercise, and sound sleep. Your mental state ( barring off kilter physical variables- a product of genetics - how much and in what ratios your neurotransmitters/hormones are in), can be altered somewhat,often times to a healthy degree, through plentiful exercise, a healthful diet, plentiful amounts of deep sleep, and by attitude. Your economic potential is raised by educating yourself so you may be more marketable, or even better, by creating your own business...etc. The capability to alter your course is undeniable.

The way I see it:

A pessimist is a cork at the mercy of the tides. It is safe, as you have no expectations of yourself. To know that you are the captain of your ship, able to buck the tides of fate through your helmsmanship, takes effort, but offers freedom. The effort is a result of drive. The drive is derived from passion. To have passion, you must be able to see an end result, or at least have clear knowledge that the path taken is the correct one. To have a clear vision of the future, coupled with the knowledge that it is reachable through your efforts, is optimism. Your ship is powered by the winds of passion, and steered by applied intelligence. The stronger your passion, the fuller your sails, and so, the faster you shall go. The more efficient your plan for the future, the more efficient the path the ship shall take. Both speed up the transit. With both in place, you may also take time to enjoy the clouds, the seabirds, and the sunsets as you effectively move toward your goal. You have firm knowledge that you are moving steadily forward, and so, your life is in perspective. Little things don't bother you (for long), and you may enjoy the process. This is the key to mental health fitness. The more you advance, the easier life becomes, and the richer the experiences. There are no dark clouds on the immediate horizon, and you have the knowledge that, with your solidly built ship, you could weather any storm.

Any one that has experienced life, already knows the feeling of winning, of accomplishment. You already know that it can be achieved through effort.  Don't concentrate on your deficits. Concentrate on your strengths.  Focus on a task, and fully master it. Once you realize this, you are on the way to mastering anything you truly desire. You can outwork your competitors. Drive is THE most important component in success. You are compelled to practice your craft far beyond the limits of those with less passion. Through repetition, you will master. Through mastery, you shall find success. Nothing drives success more than success. Once you know you can master something, you know, with enough applied effort, you can master anything. Life becomes thoroughly enjoyable. You will realize the energy and strength of the gods, which in turn, allows you to drive on further and faster. That is being on a Positive Spiral. Life becomes easier and more enjoyable the higher up you go.

Looking at the whole picture and weighing and measuring the probabilities of negative outcomes is rational thinking (realist). To be a realist with expanded horizons, is an optimist. To not do something out of fear of possible negative consequences is pessimism - besides being plain stupid. NO - all of you self proclaimed pessimists are not stupid...it is just...you are not pessimists.

I think the key is in the preparation.  Optimism, to me, is not a consciously applied state of mind...but a realization...a foregone conclusion...if you have prepared yourself.  You know the direction you must travel.  You prepare the supplies necessary and pace yourself so you may walk at the highest sustained rate until completion of the journey.  You will have done all that you could have done.  You know that you will reach your destination...it then becomes a matter of when.  The more effort applied...the faster the rate of travel. You are in control.

Optimism is a result of knowing what you are facing...adequately preparing yourself to win...and never quitting.  You can conquer the more intelligent...the more advantaged in some way...by outworking them.


Optimism doesn't mean not being realistic. It means to stretch your horizons to areas beyond where you dare not tread due to the comfort of the known. It means to prepare yourself to venture into the untraveled to achieve your goal.

I think the confusion comes from people thinking to be optimistic is to be reckless. No...it is to dream....to lay out an efficient path to the realization to that dream....to keep that dream alive amid a sea of pessimists and naysayers...to not allow self sabotage....TO NEVER QUIT until your dream is realized.

THE MOST IMPORTANT VARIABLE IN SUCCESS IS DRIVE.  If you want it badly enough...you will do anything to achieve it.   Narrow your interests down to a realistic goal...take care of one thing at a time...build success upon success.  Optimism is a natural result.  You have knowledge, forever more, that you can do that which you most want to do.

Optimism gives you the dream...the vision of your goal.

Objective Reasoning allows you to lay out the most efficient path to that goal.

Drive gives you the energy of the gods to see that goal to fruition....to never stop...to never look back...to never quit.

Give your child one of the great keys to happiness in life.  With optimism...borne of the successful conquering of true challenges...he will take care of everything else.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Philosophy for Children / The Importance of Objective Reasoning



Philosophy teaches correct thinking through objective reasoning as well as the capability
 to discern right from wrong and the correct application of it in life.

Morals are the crystallization of the correct applications as it applies to all beings.

These subjects are critically important to all children, and are non existent in our schools.
Elementary school is a prime time for these subjects.
It offers a framework for true thought, and allows perspective.

With Critical thinking skills (Objective Reasoning vs. Subjective Reasoning) and morals...
all the isms (Racism, Sexism, Favoritism...etc)  that are so prevalent in the world...
would simply melt away.

Children would see the stupidity of the isms...
along with the various fallacies that occur when one thinks subjectively...
before they could fully take hold.

With a thinking populace, every entity from education to government
would be held to higher standards.

Nothing less than a meritocracy would be demanded...
Marxism, in all its incredibly stupid forms, would not be able to rear its ugly head.
The rational thinking children would be able to see the fallacies inherent in them.
The world would progress, as their generations would effect change.

Through correct critical thinking...
 the child may efficiently learn how to learn, and to truly think...
and not merely regurgitate information. 




Socrates is the father of all Western thought and is thought of as the father
 of the Scientific Method.

This link is just one of many delineating his methods...
as well as how to teach them to your children.


Objective Reasoning is so incredibly important to all...
and yet many people still see the world through subjective eyes.
Alex was taught, many years ago, basic Philosophy, Logic
(As well as many of the fallacies of)...
Objective Reasoning and the Scientific Method.

Basic reasoning used to be so natural with people that it was merely called
good ole basic country common sense.

Our schools have put in fluff and taken out the hard core courses so necessary
for correctly making decisions.

What is now, so incorrectly, valued in today's world...
 is the subjective instead of the objective.

It is so imperative for a child wishing to go on to higher education
to have these skills developed.

It is up to parents to fill in where our education system is so failing.
A child's mind develops its full cognitive capabilities by age 8 or so.
What they lack, at that time, is experience and acquired knowledge.
That is what you must give them....the gift that truly keeps giving.

The following is an example of the lack of correct thinking in many adults today.
I go on to various forums, on line, to discuss, and debate, a wide range of topics. 

This topic was about the ego of certain individuals who "always have to be right".  

MY REPLY:

The problem isn't with people wanting to be right....All should wish to be.

That isn't the problem most people have...most merely wish to go along to get along. 

 They pick PC over substance. They think that everyone has a RIGHT to their opinion. 


 NO...no one has the RIGHT to be wrong. 


 Correct Premise...
Correct reasoning...
Correct conclusion derived directly from that reasoning.  


These are what matter.

Being able to correctly see what the problem is....

being able to find the most efficient, and so, effective means of correction....
being able to apply the correction at the highest sustainable rate 
to ensure the highest rate of change...
these are what matter.

Most people cannot admit when they are wrong, because of THEIR egos.


 The old standby is, "Everyone has a right to their opinion"...
as if that were an automatic pass to never have to change.

People think that getting along and not pissing people off is somehow admirable.



That is group think borne of cowardice. 


 It is more than counter productive - it is an attempt to shut out reason...
to censure through societal pressures, in order to gain political power in the group. 


 The real danger then becomes the application of any number of fallacies of logic 
to stir and manipulate the masses to try to win by majority (another fallacy).

That is why we are not a democracy...

no matter how often the media try to impress that as a fact. 

 We are a Constitutional Republic - a representative government...
one that can react far more quickly and is not supposed to make decisions 
by how the people feel, but through Objective Reasoning...
seeing and applying appropriate goals that do the most good
for the whole for the long term...
buffered by correct morals (not necessarily religious ones). 


 People do stupid actions because of stupid ideas...
as if an opinion carries any validity in of itself.

 If any opinion is as valid as the next....
there is no such thing as right or wrong....and anything goes. 

 That is the definition of willful stupidity.


I feel passionately about this because people frequently try to weasel out of arguments 

by saying that I "always have to be right".

What else is there? Forego facts for opinion?


It is every thinking person's sacred duty to ensure right prevails. 



 That is how wrong is corrected. 
 That is how progress is to be made.
 That is how justice prevails. 
 That is how evil loses to goodness. 


 Knowing the difference between right and wrong is THE basis for all morals...
that which apply to all... for the long term over the short. 


 Anything else is pure stupidity...and no..that is not merely my opinion :)

---------------------------------

Other discourse followed and I again rebutted:

Quote (from other):
You are not fully objective. No one is.

You are not always in possession of all the facts. No one is.

You are not a paragon of rationality in an irrational world. No one is.

You are not immune to groupthink. No one is.





MY REPLY:




That is not the question. 



 The direct implication is that unless I am perfect, at all times, then I may be wrong here. 


The problem with this is...
just because one is not perfect does NOT mean one could not have come up with 
a completely perfect answer at that particular time. 

 A person is a messenger, a postman...once the letter is delivered...
the postman doesn't matter...
only the message does. 

 You must take the message at face value and judge it objectively.

 A man at a bar could drunkenly mumble a perfectly logical argument. 

The fact that he is mentally impaired at the time does not take away from the message. 

Too many people judge the person and not the argument. 
The PERSON does not matter. The ARGUMENT is what matters. 

The motive of the messenger also does not matter. 
 "He is just mad and wants to lash out"...."He just wants to be the boss"....ad nauseum.....


 The MOTIVE does not matter. 
 The ARGUMENT is what matters. 




Quote:
Everyone thinks irrationally most of the time. Often "rational" thought is just a rationalization of irrational ideas. While some people are more immune to groupthink than others, no one is totally immune. Just witness the conversations on this forum as an example. Lots of groupthink abounds here. Lots of irrationality, prejudice, etc. too. One example of a myth that is common here is the myth of the logical, Spock-like, hyperrational aspie who is immune to groupthink and understands the way the world really works unlike those illogical NTs.

And sometimes when someone disagrees with you it's not because they're an idiot or a sheep. Sometimes they know something you don't. Sometimes they are using something other than formal logic to get to their conclusion and sometimes they're right and you're wrong. If I had to use formal logic to think I would be lost but even I can see holes in the ideas of the more logical-aspie-stereotype folks. I can be wrong too, but so can everyone, welcome to the human race.




MY REPLY:



Everyone, I hope, does NOT think irrationally most of the time...
even if that were true...again...it does not take anything away from that particular argument. 

 A rational thought is the thought based upon Objective Reasoning...
the taking of all the variables and applying logic
 to come up with the best solution for the situation. 

 If someone rationalizes an irrational idea, it was done with Subjective Reasoning
 (The input and prioritization of anything other than that which is Objective).
Or it was the improper application of reasoning or logic. 


Correct premise...
Correct logic...
Correct conclusion derived directly from the logical argument.

 If any of the three is incorrect...the answer MUST be incorrect. 

 Of these three, the correct premise is the one most often incorrect. 

 Whether by mistake...asking the wrong question...incorrect assumption 
(taking something as fact without any supporting evidence)...
reliance upon incorrect stats...etc / or through deception..
(VERY often used by politicians and business through their marketing)...

 their thrust is almost always toward the Logical portion 
 (the second of the big three).
 They will ask you, "Now isn't it logical?" 




A perfectly logical argument (however incorrect the conclusion must be) 
 can be made for anything....IF....you accept the initial premise. 
 That is what must be looked at the most closely. 

 Try to point out their flaw and their next defense is for you to try to disprove it. 

 WRONG...They made the assertion...
THEY must provide the supporting evidence for their premise..
the stats used (a whole other subject)...
 their methodology used to gather their stats and how it applies to their premise. 

"Welcome to the human race"...hmmm....
because we are human and we are prone to making mistakes...
we therefore are allowed to get a pass on being accountable 
for being Objectively Reasonable? 

 The message is what we look at, because, otherwise...
"hey..I'm only human and I could be wrong so what do I know..what do you know"...etc. 

Humans separate themselves from all of the other animals 
through their Objective Reasoning skills. 

 The correct answer lies within Objective Reasoning. 
 A wrong answer may come about because of incorrect application of reasoning 
or because of the necessary variables not being available...
not because the method of Objective Reasoning itself. 

 True, in many cases, all is not known, therefore, most things are non-absolutes. 
 However, they are the most plausible with the available variables. 

Many people simply throw out posits...
an idea, usually based upon Subjective Reasoning...an opinion. 
 No supporting evidence. 

However, just because an utterance comes from another human doesn't necessarily 
make it an "opinion"..and therefore subject to dismissal as such. 

 If it follows Objective Reasoning, it is a logical argument. 

 It is not necessarily a fact...
but an argument designed to demonstrate why it would
 be the most plausible explanation or path to follow. 

 It is in an open forum that such ideas flourish. 

 To dismiss a logical argument as merely an opinion...
without dissection and digestion...is attempted censorship. 

 It comes about because too many people rely upon Subjective Reasoning
 and do not understand Objective Reasoning. 


  -----------------------------------------

Objective Reasoning....critical to correct thinking.  


Correct thinking is critical to correct action.  


Correct action is critical to leading a correct life...
one borne of passion and purpose...and justice.  


Teach your children how to correctly reason...
and they will be able to extract information from all that they observe 
from the world around them, and they will be able to make informed decisions...
and so, shall be able to live their life riding on a Positive Spiral.  

They will then be able to pass this way of life on to their children.



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