How To Think
Most people could’t think their way out of a paper bag. Do you believe that I'm exaggerating? Then consider politics. No matter what your political opinions are, take a moment to think about the opinions of people with whom you don't agree. They're nuts, aren't they? Their thought processes are a jumbled mess. Their arguments are flimsy and easily demolished. Right?
Of course, they're saying the same thing about your opinions. That's the problem: we can't ALL be right and yet we can't all agree. Regardless of who's right and who's wrong, the fact is, there are an awful lot of seriously bad thinkers out there.
And it's not just politics. Think of all the people who drink and drive, who don't fasten their seatbelts, who stick their fingers under the lawnmower to see if the blade is turning (and then sue the lawnmower manufacturer (and win!)). Think of the people who open anonymous email attachments, who send money to Nigerian officials, who are afraid of flying but not driving. We can all come up with copious examples of idiotic human behavior. Worse, we can all recall our own idiotic mistakes. The human mind sure screws up badly sometimes, doesn't it?
This course is meant to help you think more clearly. It does not teach you how to be a genius; it teaches you how to avoid the mental mistakes that everybody makes dozens of times every day. Many of those mistakes are so common that we don't even notice them. Simply recognizing those mistakes and learning how to prevent them will boost the power and effectiveness of your thought processes.
I do not consider myself a genius or even a deep thinker. Instead, I realize that I have learned how to avoid the most common mental goofs that people are subject to. That's what has given me such a big advantage over many other people.
The course is divided into five parts, each delivered on a different day:
1. The many ways in which the human mind screws up. An examination of the most obvious ways that we goof. The point of this piece is to convince you that your mind is like a computer with some defective parts: if you don't trust it and instead rely on a number of workarounds, you can avoid some of the worst problems.
2. How the mind really works, part I: Human evolution and mental modules. To understand the mind, you must first understand how it got that way. The nascent field of evolutionary psychology has produced many insights into how our brains work. By viewing your brain in these terms, you get a clearer view of its strengths and weaknesses.
3. How the mind really works, part II: A detailed examination of the interaction of mental modules inside the human minds. This will include gender specialization in hominids and how it has affected the thought processes of males and females, especially as regards spatial versus social reasoning.
4. Cognitive Integrity. Most people think of integrity as a matter of not telling falsehoods to other people. While this policy has social benefits, the true value of integrity is its role as an internal mental process. People lie to themselves all the time; if you can learn how to be truly honest with yourself, you'll be far ahead of most.
5. The operational definition of reality: thinking in terms of doing rather then being. Do you see a tree as a combination of bark, leaves, trunk, branches, and wood? If so, you're going about it all wrong. A tree is really a system for combining photosynthesis, water transport, construction of lignin, and many other process. If you think about a tree that way, you gain a deeper and more insightful perception of its reality.
This webinar will be delivered over the course of five weekday evenings in early August -- if and only if I garner at least five participants. I charge $400 for the entire course, but you can participate in individual sessions for $100. The format will consist of a one-hour presentation following my standard image-rich style, followed by an hour of free discussion with participants. Exact time and dates will be determined by the convenience of the participants. If you are interested in the possibility of participating, please email me at chrisc blah blah blah at blah blah blah storytron blah blah blah dot blah blah blah com. The cut-off date for participation is July 29th.