Hello , I am an ex Scientologist , this blog is primarily about that but I may address other topics as the mood hits me to . I was in Scientology for 25 years and spent about 10,000 hours using the indoctrination and thought reform method "study tech " . I also spent time on staff and met hundreds of Scientologists and did hundreds of the cult practices . Many were the "ethics cycles and OW writeups " that really are an attempt to suppress or remove a person's identity and replace it with a mental pseudo clone of Ron Hubbard . To make a fanatical slave for the cult .

I looked outside the cult for answers in about January 2014 and left the cult in about March of 2014 . While in about 99% of members have no idea of the truth .

We are told we are in a mental therapy or spiritual enhancement or religion or science for helping people unlock potential . Or any of several other fronts that all pretend kind and humanitarian goals .

The truth is Scientology is a terrorist mind control cult and this blog is my attempt to understand and expose that . And try to state as clearly as possible the tools that I have found helpful in dealing with this .

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 8 We Learn Together

In earlier posts on critical thinking I touched on the crucial ideas John Stuart Mill described in his book On Liberty. As I said it is a very quick read and has a few vital ideas that are well presented. Here I want to elaborate a tiny bit on the most crucial ideas he brought up or inspired.

“There must be discussion to show how experience is to be interpreted. Wrong opinions and practices gradually yield to fact and argument; but facts and arguments, to produce any effect on the mind, must be brought before it. Very few facts are able to tell their own story, without comments to bring out their meaning. The whole strength and value, then, of human judgment depending on the one property, that it can be set right when it is wrong, reliance can be placed on it only when the means of setting it right are kept constantly at hand. In the case of any person whose judgement is really deserving of confidence, how has it become so? Because he has kept his mind open to criticism of his opinions and conduct.”John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, published in 1859

To elaborate even further I frankly believe even one person, whether you or me or anyone else, has different degrees of understanding they can have for ideas. 

An idea can be better understood if it is prepared to be presented than if it is merely thought of in isolation in the mind. Just getting ready to say it or write it or present it in some way helps the holder of the idea to look at it more than they might otherwise.

Actually presenting it takes this a step further. Even just saying something to a mirror or  toy or writing it in a private journal for no one else to see helps the holder of the idea to further understand it. Sometimes you write a sentence down then see flaws in it, see weaknesses, see errors that you otherwise never would.

To take it a step further presenting ideas to actual human beings who will comment can help you to form them even more. Someone can point out something that you haven't included in presenting an idea. You might realize you left out saying something you assumed but didn't actually say. 

You might realize you didn't think of something relevant regarding your idea. You might think your idea needs to be looked at again or another idea needs to be developed to replace or compliment your idea.

The point is really understanding and developing ideas in human beings has a necessary group interaction component. It doesn't mean groups always reason better than individuals, sometimes an individual is correct and a group, even a big group, is entirely wrong. 

There are processes in thinking and understanding that require people interacting with one another. There is just no getting around it.

There is a concept that compliments the idea that understanding ideas requires discussion and criticism and evaluation by groups.

That concept is collective learning. 

A website called Avenues Open has the following definition:
Collective learning refers to the sharing, storing, and accumulation of information over time and across generations.
Information was likely initially passed through gesture, then verbally, then with symbols, and finally through a variety of technology-based media. Collective learning is a distinguishing characteristic of humans, and the principle reason why knowledge and technology are progressing exponentially. End quote

That describes how we as humans gather information over time from multiple individual minds. Some are contemporaries to one another and may contribute together or never interact directly. 

Some collective learning occurs over time, lots of time, decades and generations and centuries and millennia.

If we look long and hard at the tiniest details of progress in human knowledge in specific subjects a very humbling realization will naturally occur. We can see that progress is usually extremely gradual in a series of many, many steps.

Often these steps have many failures and accidents involved. Progress takes many failures to achieve a few successes and many successes are attempts to do something else or understand something else that by accident produces something useful in another area.

Sometimes the incremental steps are missed and so the result seems to be a stroke of pure genius.

A simple example is the work of Einstein in relativity and special relativity. It is extremely brilliant.

I commented on this once and was given a list of about eight ideas that were partially or fully formed by contemporaries of Einstein but not combined exactly as he had done.

It made his innovation take on a different meaning. He was able to think with, reason with and combine and take apart very specific ideas in physics which most people wouldn't easily understand, much less work with.

We progress very slowly and incrementally in terms of time required to form ideas, explore ideas and develop real world applications through research and innovation.

Now, today this may seem to be happening quickly but add up all the time all the minds working in a subject and add up all their efforts together and to be even more complete and add the time of the minds that came up with the preceding knowledge that their later knowledge is built upon and you will see thousands and thousands of hours of effort going into development of knowledge, just about any knowledge.

Whether we are thinking of medicine or engineering or economics or physics or any of thousands of other  subjects this is true. 

Good critical thinking requires the intellectual humility to recognize the limits of the thinking of a single person and that we learn and test ideas together, particularly over time.

These principles help you to understand your thinking and that of other people and how ideas developed and changed over time. 

In looking at these weaknesses and tendencies another complimentary idea is important. I have found several experts in various fields who have championed a need that is almost obvious when you understand how we reason as groups, develop ideas and knowledge collectively and over time. That is the need to have an interdisciplinary approach or understanding.

Several people see needs to work with parts of different subjects complimenting each other or clarifying one another or being strong in an area where another subject is weak.

Robert Sapolsky described it regarding several subjects and human behavior in his book Behave. Leonard Mlodinow described it in his book Subliminal regarding human behavior. Critical thinking expert Richard Paul described it in a lecture on critical thinking. He described how a model someone believes in must be something you can examine with other models outside the model itself.

Of course he described how that requires a good understanding of the model being considered and not merely a superficial understanding. 

One of the best indicators of when a person has knowledge that doesn't adequately include understanding particular things is when the terms and concepts they are using to describe a particular topic are from fields that don't actually address the topic.

In seeing people who for example are well educated people on other topics who comment on things they never got educated on it can be easy to see if you are educated.

Sometimes scientists comment on Scientology and it is obvious they are not educated on cults, undue influence, aspects of psychology relevant to cults and so on. 

Sometimes experts in other subjects, even psychology, comment on racism and reveal they consider racism merely ignorance or something that can be completely explained in a sentence or two.

From a perspective understanding bias, human history and behavior there is far, far more to racism than can be explained in a paragraph or two. 

But an expert in a different, even related, field can mistakenly believe they understand something they really are not educated on, not even a little bit. 

It takes a lot of humility to understand where you are weak or uneducated and look far and wide for relevant subjects and ideas in those subjects to understand the things you don't know that are relevant and necessary to understand what you want to know. And that is the heart of critical thinking.

I recently completed a long series of blog posts on something many of us encourage but rarely actually discuss - critical thinking. It's essential to good reason and in my personal opinion recovery from the harm Scientology and other cults do. Here's the entire series.
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 1 Looking at Both Sides
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 2 Logical Fallacies and Biases
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 3 Paul-Elder Critical Thinking Framework
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 4 Being A Pain In The Ass
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 5 Show The Work
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 6 Propaganda: 7 Most Important Techniques of Propaganda
Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 7 Rhetoric and Sublime Writing

Cornerstones of Critical Thinking 8 We Learn Together

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