Using Your Own Brain

Discussion in 'Comments on Forum' started by Ken Anderson, Jul 11, 2019.

  1. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    This is going to be long, and probably rambling, because I tend to do that; in fact, it's one of the things I like about myself.

    This is something that I have thought about often, and for a long time, even before Internet forums. I have expressed it in different ways within the context of other threads, and I feel like talking about it now.

    Over many years, we have been encouraged to surrender our brains to the experts, our curiosity to the media, and our facts to the professionals, and I don't think that this has served us well. We look to religious or secular leaders for guidance on what to think, how to act, and what positions to take. We may not like or agree with what our political leaders do but we accept that they can do pretty much whatever they want, and our acquiescence on these matters hasn't necessarily served us well either.

    The very fact that we consider others to be our leaders is doing us a disservice. It's one thing to accept that someone has the power to take my stuff, to lock me up in jail, or to kill me, but it's quite another for me to accept that they are my leader. Where are they leading me? Is it anywhere that I want to go?

    Even as Christians, for those of us who are Christians, we have found it easier to accept the words that we hear from behind a pulpit or a television screen than to read the Bible for ourselves and realize that it was intended to be comprehensible to the average person. I am pretty sure that something similar applies to other religions, as well.

    Discussions so often involve an exchange of quotes from one expert source or another and we don't accept that anything is the truth unless it's reported on CNN or in the New York Times, this despite the fact that we may realize that these sources have an agenda and they have lied to us repeatedly. The same idea is true of pretty much every discussion imaginable. Rather than discussing something within the contents of our own abilities and brains, we look to experts who we can cite.

    Sure, it makes sense to consider the opinions of people who specialize in whatever it is that you want to know but, more often than not, these people have chosen their specialities because they want to control the flow of information, pushing an agenda. If they didn't go into the profession for that reason, they have very likely absorbed it because, in order to continue to be considered an expert, to be eligible for grants, or to continue to be employed in their field, they can't go off on their own.

    An expert who does not go along with the global warming agenda will soon be discredited, no longer cited as an expert, and may well become unemployed. Reporters who resist the political and social agendas of their employers will have no bylines, and will soon find that they have no future in media.

    Whatever your own social or political inclinations, the best discussions erupt from within the brains of the people who are participating rather than slinging citations at one another. Certainly, the contents of our own brains includes things that we have learned in school, from newspapers, and elsewhere, and I am not suggesting that we keep what we believe to be facts out of our discussions.

    I'm not even suggesting that we refrain from posting news articles, the results of studies, or other things that we come across, because these things can prompt valuable discussions, as well. By all means, keep doing that, as I am going to.

    However, it bothers me when someone discounts their own opinions, as if they are only useful when an expert can be found who agrees with them, and it annoys me even more when someone doesn't even bother to think things out for themselves, choosing to allow the professionals to tell them what to think, believe, support, or do.

    If it's a political discussion, are you giving your own opinions or are you parroting buzzwords from whichever political team you consider yourself to be a member of? We all do that, but perhaps we should try not to do it so often, or at least recognize that we're simply repeating something that was determined to be a good slogan by a focus group.

    In religious thought, my perspective comes from a Christian point of view because I am a Christian, but the same thing would apply to any religion, I trust. Are your Christian views the result of personal study or are you simply repeating the doctrines of whatever flavor of Christianity you decided to join? In other words, is it really in the Bible? Does it necessarily mean that?

    If you consider yourself to be an atheist, have you ever wondered why you're so angry with those who aren't? If you truly don't believe in God, why does it annoy you that others do? Are you truly an atheist, or are you actually an antitheist? I am not a Buddhist but I don't spend my time hanging out in Buddhist threads, arguing with the Buddhists, and searching the Internet for bad things to say about Buddha.

    Are your social convictions driven by polls, and a resistance to being out of the norm? Don't forget that it is important to those charged with advancing the pro-life agenda for you to believe that the majority of people are opposed to abortion on demand, and that it's every bit as important for the pro-abortion agenda for you to believe that the majority of people are in favor of allowing the choice of abortion. Both can find statistics to back them up. That's why one side refers to their issue as pro-life rather than anti-abortion, and the other side uses pro-choice rather than pro-abortion. People like to be in favor of something rather than against it, and who could argue with such positive words as life and choice? On this issue, generally the experts are paid to press whatever side of the issue they are on and everyone else is driven by good advertising, social pressure, and emotion rather than thinking it through.

    Wrapping this up, for now, my point is to encourage more discussions from within our own brains, and to discount the idea that your own opinions aren't worth having. Keep in mind also that, even if everyone else disagrees with you, there's nothing wrong with being the only one who is right.
     
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  2. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    yep that was quite a long but interesting read.... :)
     
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  3. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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  4. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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    @Ken Anderson

    Nothing like thinking you have a great opinion based on what you've heard, only to find out you are wrong. There are a handful of political/social view points I once had and then changed in time because it was based on inaccuracy. I can understand that happening.

    I have a harder time understanding people repeating something they think is in God's Word, when it is not. If someone doesn't know something personally by studying it for themselves, they should just shut up.

    Nice post Ken.
     
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  5. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    When I was very young, I worked for a manager whom I dearly despised at the time but later in life, learned to love everything about him.
    No matter what question I would approach him with he would always tell me, “I just started working here, I don’t know”. Yeah, that’s the reason I disliked him so much. I thought he was an idiot.
    What he was doing was teaching me to evaluate what the problem was and to use my own God given brain to sort it out.
    II Tim 2:15 says to “study to show yourself approved [unto God}; a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
    Now, whether one is an anti-theist or theist, we all must admit that it is indeed paramount that we study a subject thoroughly. But, at the end of it all and using what we have learned, we still have to sort through and use our own heads to come to a reasonable truth. It isn’t necessarily one that is supposedly stamped in stone by someone else using their own sense of reasoning because theirs is based on their own purposes and not ours.

    Anywho.....liked your post Ken.......
     
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  6. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Very Well-Known Member
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    Can I get the Cliff's Notes?? :D

    I usually quote a source because some people demand it as an internet bullying ruse, usually to challenge the thought and further their own argument and feelings of superiority. My opinions are formed by my own sense of right/wrong and outrage, and I find that I'm outraged a lot lately by the way the world has evolved. I honestly feel hopeless for my grandchildren's future...but then I wonder if my own grandparents had similar worries.

    Other times I link an article that I find interesting for whatever reason.

    I am an agnostic and am not angry with Christians nor atheists. Actually I usually envy their ability to hold to their beliefs, and wonder how that came to be.
     
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  7. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    There's nothing wrong with linking to things that you agree with or find interesting, as long as you have your own stuff.
     
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  8. Emma Smith

    Emma Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    @Beth Gallagher: I honestly feel hopeless for my grandchildren's future...but then I wonder if my own grandparents had similar worries.
    ------
    I don't think our grandparents had near as much to worry about for the futures of their grandchildren.
    School violence and a lack of civility is the new norm and they're very closely related.

    Another thing people complain about online is people cutting and pasting. I'm not a professional writer. If I'm referencing a specific article, I'm not going to reinvent the wheel. A pro has laid out everything. I'm going to use it and give them credit.

    I definitely don't consider it internet bullying to ask for a source when someone is stating things as fact, and you can't find anything anywhere about their topic.


    @Bess Barber: If someone doesn't know something personally by studying it for themselves, they should just shut up.
    That's a good way to have the last word, without referencing who/what you're talking about.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  9. Beth Gallagher

    Beth Gallagher Very Well-Known Member
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    As I said...

    So if someone asks for a source in civil discourse, that makes all the difference.
     
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  10. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    Good point.
    There has never been a good scientist, writer, doctor, lawyer, mathematician, etc who doesn’t use his or her own thoughts along with what is already considered to be fact. No progression has ever been made by simply depending on what is already known.
    When one uses thought,, therein lies the beginning of an infinite adventure beyond what might be believed to be finite.
     
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  11. Emma Smith

    Emma Smith Very Well-Known Member
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    So if someone asks for a source in civil discourse, that makes all the difference.[/QUOTE]

    -----------
    "What's your source?" is a question, not requiring interpretation.
    The only people who should be offended are the ones pulling "facts" out of thin air.
     
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  12. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Greeter
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    What's your source? There is a place for this question. However, in a civil discussion, it is often intended as a conversation stopper or, at best, as a challenge. Again, there's nothing wrong with that in a debate, but not every discussion is a debate. The other thing that is implied by the question is that the person you are asking it of has nothing of value to add to the discussion unless s/he can cite someone who you have more respect for.

    We all know things to be a fact that we don't have citations for. We have all learned things in school, from books, magazines, other people, and through our own experiences. These are the things that inhabit our brains, and just because I can't drag my 10th-grade World History teacher into the forum as a source, that doesn't mean that everything he taught me was a lie.

    If someone doesn't care what I have to say, then they can carry on their discussion with Google or Siri.

    In a debate, the question might be a reasonable one. In a discussion, it tells me that you have no respect for the opinions, knowledge, or experiences of the person you are speaking to. Perhaps that's why everyone prefers to focus on their smartphone rather than to talk to one another.
     
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  13. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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    I try to get the facts as best I can, then decide what sounds reasonable. For instance, I read on some forums that President Trump is not handling the economy well. But I can read the facts that the economy is booming. That is the facts versus opinions.
     
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  14. Bess Barber

    Bess Barber Very Well-Known Member
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  15. Shirley Martin

    Shirley Martin Veteran Member
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