When one person says about another, “Now they are finally thinking for themselves,” what they usually mean is; “Now they are thinking like me.” In truth, thinking for yourself without first considering others’ opinions, is a sure way to become ignorant and entrenched in biased, dogmatic belief.
That’s because thinking is inherently social, and our ability to think well depends on other individuals. Good thinking is like scaffolding. You learn a concept and add to it. One thought builds off of another. We formulate ideas by hearing other ideas and refining them based on our own knowledge and experience.
Discussing and debating ideas is how we make progress as individuals and groups. The last thing you want to do is to be thinking in a bubble.
This is why becoming a Next Level Human requires that you associate with Next Level Humans. These types approach debate as an opportunity to enhance their knowledge base. Agreement or winning is not the goal, learning is.
People have lost the art of civil debate debate because they enter into it with the wrong goal. I realize debates can get emotional. The fact that you feel something about an issue is a good thing. Without that excitement you have no impetus to think about it. Feelings are a starting point to intelligent thinking, so long as the goal is to learn rather than win (Base Level) or fit in (Culture Level).
When I first started out in health and fitness, I would read a book or a study. It would then become my religion until I read the next book or study. That’s not thinking. That’s copying, memorizing, and regurgitating.
Thinking is one of the most difficult things for people to do because it means they must take their current beliefs and admit they may be wrong.
I try to remind myself of three things:
✅ Learning is the goal, not winning or appearing correct.
✅ Just because we agree does not make either of us right.
✅ Just because we disagree does not mean one of us is wrong.
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