For years I have been re-thinking my beliefs and learning that many of them have been wrong. I have tried regularly to convince others along the way, but have failed almost without exception. Generally speaking, it is as if I were speaking a different language from those I try to convince; they simply don’t seem to comprehend my reason for rejecting this or that popular belief or tradition. Further, when I have tried to wrestle with people’s attitudes about their beliefs, it only irritates them in most cases, and they regularly conclude that I am either dull or evil.
After two years of study in cognitive science, I am now convinced that the reason I am so ineffective at convincing others to see the same errors I have seen is that they simply aren’t employing the same kind of thinking that led me to the conclusions over which we disagree. It reminds me of the day my high school math teacher rocked our Base 10 worlds by introducing Base 2, wherein, she explained, “11” equals three!
It’s a different way of figuring things, or perhaps of expressing them. What I have been trying to do these last twelve years or so is to rethink life through the filter of unswerving reality. At times this is easy, and at times, it leads to conclusions that require some courage, and even some deliberate eye opening and self correction. And ultimately, it is quite effective in separating me from those who think otherwise—not as some deliberate shunning of people for the sake of being separate, but a philosophical parting of the ways that practically limits what we have in common. Reality is a gap maker, and even though I still have much yet to learn, and much yet to be reformed even in my own existing beliefs, there are widening gaps between me and those who aren’t interested in walking down this same path, just as I am not interested in walking down the path of make believe. The philosophical gap between all-reality and sometimes-unreality is tricky. It present no problem on topics in which the sometimes-unreality practitioner is engaging reality, but in cases where he or she engages unreality, the philosophical gap is somewhat analogous to the conflict between “On” and “Off”. Indeed, what do these two things have in common? There is no middle ground.
Thus do I notice with great frustration that it aggravates matters for me to share reality-based conclusions I have drawn with those who aren’t interested in an all-reality paradigm—-that is, those who are still willing to hold onto beliefs against overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I have shifted my approach, therefore, and decided that I will no longer publish such conclusions except to those who ask for them explicitly—particularly when they concern politics and/or religion. Rather, I would like to limit my publishing, for the time being, strictly to the promotion of Reality-Based Thinking as a sustainable way of thinking.
For this reason, I have made several of my articles on this present blog unavailable to the public. I have also removed some of my other websites from public view. I will soon launch a new venture dedicated to promoting Reality-Based Thinking (RBT), and I don’t want critics to be distracted by searching my various websites for conclusions of mine with which they may patently disagree. Rather, it is my hope to hold out on its own merits, and to find as many takers for it as possible, without publishing any opinion as to political and religious questions.
For more on this philosophical change of gears, be sure to read this post.