Sent by a Friend

I did verify that these articles are real; you can read them (clockwise from top left) here, here, here, and here.


raven said...

Well now, I am glad that the concept is clear.
There is just one sticky point left.
Who, exactly, constitutes an "authority"?
Pretty sure it is no one I know.

E Hines said...

Plainly, the Left is terrified of folks who can think for themselves.

Separately, I'm my own authority.

With (not many) apologies to Homer and Jethro.

Eric Hines

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Those are all very valid points. They apply at least as well in the mirror.

I will have to object, E Hines. You don't think for yourself, and it's not close. No one does. It's not a small and technical point, it is a dangerous delusion we are all subject to. The more you think you are an exception and well above average on that score, the more likely it is that you are wrong.

Again, that's not you specifically, though I suppose I could go back over previous comments and see if I thought you were plus or minus. But we should all of us look at all of our opinions with fear and trembling.

Grim said...

There is a way in which we all think for ourselves; it is the way in which we all die alone. We may be surrounded by family, but in the end it is an experience that we go through with undeniable solitude.

Thinking is like that, too. Even if I sit down with friends to work through our thoughts on a problem -- and many of my friends are trained philosophers who like nothing better than this -- each of us has to think alone before we can bring the idea forward to the group. Even then, each of them receives the idea brought forward in conversation in a unique way: their own experiences or assumptions probably ensures that none of them understood what I said in just the same way as any other.

There is another way (nice Aristotelian move: 'in a way; in another way') in which we don't think for ourselves, because we bring in everything we are thinking about from outside. Unless we are backpacking alone in the forest or something similar, that probably means hearing what other people are thinking about and what they think about those things. Some of those people we value and others we reject, and we will often tend to heed the ones we like or value more than the ones we don't.

This is one reason to maintain friendships with people who think very differently, or who have different values. It's the positive argument for real, philosophical diversity. I have friends who are Marxists and others who are hardline conservatives, anarchists and church-going lovers of authority (that is hopefully) aligned with God. Because I value all of them, their opinions are at least worthy of consideration; and thus, I can think about things from different perspectives, and according to different models.

But still, in the first sense, I can and must think alone; and so must you, and Mr. Hines, and everyone else. Well, everyone who thinks. Some people seem not to do.

E Hines said...

...we don't think for ourselves, because we bring in everything we are thinking about from outside.

But even there, we're thinking for ourselves, if we're thinking at all: we think first whether the outside thoughts/ideas/what have you are worthy of incorporating into our own thoughts/ideas/what have you or rejecting them or simply disregarding them. And if we decide they're worthy of incorporation, we think how they might be absorbed.

We're always thinking for ourselves, if we're thinking at all.

Eric Hines

Anonymous said...

AVI, if by "we don't think for ourselves" you mean that we, even as individuals, are the sum of our culture, our experiences, and our associates, then I agree. If you mean that we are nothing more than that in terms of what leads us to reach certain decisions and beliefs, then I disagree.

It IS hard to break loose of the "water" that we "swim in" to reach personal decisions, there I vehemently agree with you, especially if you are or have to be bombarded with opinions and "experts" all day, five or so days a week. [My job requires me to be up on current politics. This is proof that the Universe's sense of humor is black and warped, rather like an LP left on the rear shelf of a dark car, in August, in southern New Mexico, with the windows rolled up.]


Tom said...

AVI, what is your definition of "thinking for oneself"?

David Foster said...

IF people are to believe Experts uncritically, then unlimited power flows to those who tells us WHO the credible experts are....namely, the media.

Texan99 said...

I was just thinking of drafting a post about the alarming number of articles I've been seeing lately about how evil it is to "sow seeds of doubt." No one who expects me to submit to his authority has any business expecting me to suspend doubt; just asking me to do it destroys any moral or persuasive authority he might fondly have imagined himself to possess. It's a sure sign of ignorance and a flabby mind.

Texan99 said...

We do have a need, even a duty, to rely on other people for information and ideas; that's part of being in a culture instead of living on a pillar out in the desert. But by the same token we have a need and a duty to discern which people we can count on to provide us with reliable facts and ideas. Once someone has revealed his facts and ideas as false or useless, there's no use saying "Well, I'd rather not even try to think it through for myself or find someone else to consult; I'm just going to go along with the usual authority figure, because I'm busy or limited or humble or obedient by nature."

Aggie said...

Joe Rogan happened to bring this guy up on one of his podcasts and I hadn't thought about it for a long time, since first seeing it but - it's worth reviewing what Yuri Bezmenov - the Soviet journalist, ex-analyst (and possibly, spy in India) had to say about the principles for deconstruction of American society - ironically in 1984, of all years.

“Despite the abundance of information, no one is able to come to sensible conclusions in the interests of defending themselves, their families, their community, or their country….”

james said...

WRT that pillar in the desert: Simon's life was actually fairly social. People fed him, and came from far away to hear him. "In contrast to the extreme austerity that he practised, his preaching conveyed temperance and compassion, and was marked with common sense and freedom from fanaticism."

E Hines said...

It's a sure sign of ignorance and a flabby mind.

Not necessarily. It's also a sign of a dictator.

Eric Hines

Tom said...

Since I am asking AVI for his definition of "thinking for oneself," it would be fair to put my own here.

What I mean by the phrase is simply this: When faced with a decision on what to believe or what opinion to hold, to try to figure out the relevant facts (at least, as well as one can given limited time and resources), to apply the basics of good thinking, and to come to a decision based on that.

What I do not mean is to be an original thinker or to come to novel conclusions or to necessarily disagree with the majority or authorities. It also does not mean necessarily coming to true conclusions, since we have to make a lot of decisions on what to believe based on incomplete or faulty information.

One further point for me (and this is my definition - not a general definition) is that my focus is on "think" as a verb. Thinking for oneself is a process, so the inputs, the subjects and objects, aren't that important in considering whether one is thinking for oneself or not.

Texan99 said...

James, I was thinking the same thing myself just as I wrote that, but I was too lazy to come up with a good example of a truly isolated organism. I was imagining the guy living up on a pillar, and how he ate. He didn't exactly have a self-sustaining little physical universe up there, with a garden and rain barrels.

Maybe a shark. They're pretty solitary, when they're not breeding.

ymarsakar said...

I think for myself. Anyone can try and think like Ymar. You may go insane however in 5 seconds.