Friday, December 19, 2014

My Dinner With Alex - A Lecture On The Importance Of Reason



Song:  Reflections Of My Life

Group:  Marmalade

(I fell in love with this song when it first came out in 1969...
and to this day, it remains one of my favorite songs).

(picture taken with my iPhone)

I took Alex out to dinner at our favorite Chinese / Vietnamese restaurant on this night.

One of my favorite times to spend with Alex...
besides being in the mountains...
is in a restaurant, eating a delicious meal...
and discussing what I consider to be...

NO...

not just what I feel is the most important...

WHAT ACTUALLY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL IN LIFE...

that of Critical Reasoning.


It is with this skill that a person is taught how to think...
not merely what to think.

Through Critical Reasoning...
whatever one doesn't know...
one can always reason out and discover.


It is this ability that will give him the direction to look for new information...
AND...
the ability to know how to best apply it in life.

With the ability to reason correctly...
all things of past and present may be understood...
and all things of the future may be be given the highest probability of correct prediction
given the necessary variables...
and with limited given variables...
can offer the most plausible outcomes for any given path.

It allows people to problem solve.
It is a fundamental component of common sense.

I constantly reinforce this with Alex...
as it is the most important lesson of all...
without which, leads to a person being led all his life...
to him forever being a sheep...
one whom may be manipulated and herded at the will of others.

As Alex is so pure hearted...
I fear others may try to take advantage of his kindness...
and so, of him.

While Alex understands frustration...
he doesn't understand evil.

It took me a while to understand evil also.

Although I am sometimes a hot head, and at times...impulsive...
I have never been evil...and so, I must speculate as to why
some people are so driven to do evil acts.

Although I have never felt the desire to dominate anyone else...
I have always refused to be dominated...
and so, I have fought in whatever arena of combat that was necessary
in order to protect myself...or other innocent beings, from evil intent
(physical / intellectual - each of which is actually psychological warfare...
unless, of course, the goal is death).

A man can only be truly free with this mindset.

There is no free choice without having all the available options.
A person doesn't have these options unless he is free from tyranny...
in whichever form it manifests.


Critical Reasoning allows one to find the correct path to his destiny
through three basic understandings:

 Right And Wrong
(morally and objectively)

Correct Chronology
(to establish that which is objectively factual)

 Long Term Over The Short
(forethought using categorization and prioritization)

I will go into the details of each...
however, I will start at the beginning of our dinner conversation...
or more accurately...my dinner lecture.


After Alex and I had ordered...
I started our discussion with the necessity of respect.

I told Alex that while arguments are going to happen between people
because of emotions...it is most often NOT because both are being unreasonable.
It is almost always because one is being unreasonable...
and the aggrieved is defending himself...or that of reason.


Although the below is paraphrased...
its content is true in context:

Me to Alex (talking in general context)

 Just as you must give respect to others...
you are also a person...
and so, you are also worthy of respect.

People are going to have disagreements...
that is a given.

What must not be allowed to happen is to have a person winning an argument
through force of will instead of through force of reason...
one who is willing to escalate...in essence...
to nuclear warfare with every skirmish...
just to win at all costs...
in order to never have to admit they are wrong.

This is intellectual tyranny.

It is an attempt to psychologically enslave the other person
through a threat of war to disturb all possible peace 
should they not bend to their will.

This must never happen.

This will merely ensure that peace will never happen...
unless the person is willing to subjugate himself to the other.

A person must be willing to fight the good fight if he is ever to have true freedom.

Man should never be ruled by man...
but ruled by reason.

No one has the right to be wrong.

A tyrant often attempts to have others bend to his will...
often knowing that it is wrong...
as it is to show all that he has dominated through force of will...
especially to the dominated
(which is an emotional drug for the dominator).

This is why people of evil intent do not wish others 
to know how to think for themselves.

They lose their power.

 People with critical reasoning skills think for themselves...
and so, come to rational conclusions based upon reason.

They end up coming together with like minded individuals at the same destination...
which then gives reason the power...
and not the attempted dominator.

When people attempting to manipulate others don't have direct power through action...
they will often resort to passive aggressive tactics.

It is the difference between a car and a tank.

With a car...
you simply steer by turning the wheels in the desired direction of travel.
The car will then turn through positive action.

Do you know how a tank is turned?

When you have two parallel tracks...
there are no separately steered wheels on the ground to turn.

You must control the rate of one or both of the tracks.
It is usually by decreasing the rate of one of the tracks 
so it turns in that direction.

So, it is through a decreased amount of action that the vehicle may be manipulated.

The same applies to people.

Those applying passive aggressive tactics
will attempt to gain control of a necessary function...
usually through political maneuvers...
and then simply withhold their obligatory actions.
They attempt to manipulate others through non-action.

The same response applies to manipulators...
whether it is through action...
or through non-action.

You must never allow yourself to be dominated by force of will

(To bow to reason is NOT bowing to the person...
merely to that which is reasonable.
The person of reason deserves recognition.  
A simple nod, or the word 'touche' will do).

To have a person dominate you...
 is to be perpetually manipulated to serve his wishes.
It will never stop...and will only escalate.

You will also have others who wish to shut out reason through censorship.
When they see they will lose through reason...
they will often attempt to censor you through
threat of social castigation by scarlet letter...
usually by spuriously claiming racism, sexism...
or some other invented PC offense on your part.



Momma is an excellent mother.
She ensures you have the most knowledge through her research of educational materials.

I am teaching you how to best apply that knowledge...
by knowing how to think through Critical Reasoning.

Reasoning skills became formalized under Socrates
(whose pupil was Plato.  Plato then taught Aristotle.
Aristotle became the teacher of Alexander the Great...
of whom Alex was named after).

Socrates operated through force of reason...
and not through social rank, any ideology...
or for any other reason than through pure intellectual merit.

It was actually a step forward from the idea of a Democracy...
as a Democracy relies upon the false premise that 
all men are men of reason.

Democracy relies upon the fallacy of a plea to the masses as somehow being sound.

The danger of having a simple majority rule is that most will choose for themselves
at the expense of the good of the whole for the long term.


Now...
there are three basic necessities to establish before critical reasoning
may be correctly applied to life.


You must know Right and Wrong.
It is through this that people may work together.

(I hadn't gone further into this area
as I had already explained the value of morals to Alex.
This was just a reminder for him).

Also Right and Wrong as objectively true...
without which nothing else matters.

With no objectively true facts...
fiction becomes just as valid as fact...
and then anything goes...
there then can be no right or wrong...
everything is grey...and it all depends upon perspective.



You must have Correct Chronology.

Without this, cause and effect cannot be established.

Many people who lack reasoning skills actually fail to realize
the importance of keeping track of the chronology of events.

It is through this that makes critical reasoning possible.

When chronology becomes confused...
so does cause and effect.

When there is no cause and effect...
anything goes...anything becomes possible.
It then becomes intellectual anarchy.

It is also through the disruption of chronology that deceit is born.

When people may select pieces of information for false presentation...
they are attempting to disrupt any cause and effect...
any logical reasoning...
and so...
how they deceive others as to the actual context of the presented information.

This is also how the media stirs up the masses
using selected soundbites or clips.
By omitting much of the previous footage...
they attempt to imply the situation had started without reason.
It is through disrupted chronology that cause and effect 
had been misrepresented.

This is one way immoral lawyers attempt to deceive.
All lawyers know that by controlling the questions...
they control the answers.

They will attempt to establish a false chronology through implication.
They will use any means to misrepresent information...
to introduce confusion...
to steer others on a false path
(just one of many ways).



Long Term Over The Short


Many think of short term good...
of taking the easiest path.

Many think the path of least resistance is the best path.

This is what water does...
it takes the easiest path...
the path of least resistance.

Many don't realize that water always flows downhill.

It is the top of the hill that is your destination.
Often, it is the more difficult path...
and so, why many people travel the easier path.

This is why the path most traveled is frequently the wrong choice.
It is based on immediate comfort...instead of long term gain.
And this is the reason that decisions must be determined
with long term gain over the short term gains...
and why you must never sacrifice the long term for the short
(deferred gratification).

The categorization is simple...by its effect and its expected result.
The prioritization is simple...that of the long term over the short.



Alex...
you are highly intelligent.

We are training you to be a leader...
to not be a sheep.

It is through the correct application of critical reasoning 
that you will be able to find the correct paths in life.



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



At this point...
 we had finished supper...
and so, we left.


On the short drive home...
I couldn't resist going a little further into the subject.

I told him that while critical reasoning was one of the 
fundamental pillars of common sense...
it is wisdom that makes decisions intuitive...
and which allows for speed of decision making.

All wisdom is...
is the matching of similar past circumstances...
with the new...
and so, applying similar solutions.

It is gained through experience.

I had told him that to gain valuable experience...
one has to first accurately observe.

It is through his observations that he will record
the circumstances in his mind for 
retrospective introspection
(critically reviewing the movie of the mind).

It is through this that he will be able to collate the information by category...
and so, to notice patterns in the similarities.

Through this...
he may establish correlations...
and so, a possible route to the establishment of a causation

(the mind records its thoughts for later recall in categories of similarity...
from general to specific.
This is what allows correlations and patterns
to be recognized automatically...and rapidly).

I said that the path to common sense is to first...
 truly observe...
and then to try to understand the underlying reasons (why).

A second thing to do is to notice anomalies...
and then to ask why they don't fit into the pattern of the norm (why not).

Once this is established...
the correct categorization of the information
will automatically be stored by the mind.

It is upon this correct categorization of information
that common sense is built.

This is also why some people lack common sense.

It is a failure to truly observe...
and a failure to seek the underlying reasons for what they had observed.


By the time we had pulled into our garage...
I had summed up our talk by saying:

"You must first observe...
then you must ask why...or why not."

And NO...
I didn't try a Yodaesque voice  :)


----------

I have often been accused of over thinking things.

The common understanding of this is when someone 
introduces too many variables...
and so, is unable to render a decision...
or because of entering implausible variables at the same priority as the plausible...
an implausible conclusion is often reached.

It is meant to say that the simple was made overly complex.


No...
I am quite the opposite.

I strive to simplify the complex.

This is not by conscious design so much as it is out of necessity.

I have a terrible memory...I've always had.

I am terrible with names...and I am very forgetful in general.

I have to organize information into very simple generalized rules...
otherwise...I would simply forget them.

So, in order to not have to remember details...
I must simplify information into concepts.

However, through simplification...
information is more easily stored and recalled.


This is why I talk and write in the manner in which I do...
because it is the way I think...in as basic and as simple a manner as I possibly can.
Things have to interrelate...they have to make sense logically...
otherwise, I simply wouldn't remember them.

(or as my wife would say...I simply wouldn't care to remember them  :)













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