Pop psychology has a habit of taking ideas from psychology and science and transforming them into half-truths – ideas that can be simplistic and misleading.
Some examples include ego and intuition.
With the help of Alice (from Alice Through the Looking Glass), we will also explore the concept of EVIL.
A truly wise person is able to see the world exactly how it is – free from any filters or preferences, judgments or undue optimism or pessimism.
Almost the truth simply does not work.
A quest for truth is only valid is you are prepared to change your beliefs based on what you have found.
A quest for truth is only useful if you are prepared to take action on what you have discovered.
Popular commentators often contend the The Enlightenment and The Age of Reason was accompanied by a loss of connection with our emotional and intuitive instincts resulting in a purely mechanical view of nature and the universe.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) is one of the modern instigators of the “Age of Reason” although similar sentiments can be found in other cultures such as ancient Greece and Islamic civilisations. He believed that knowledge must be found in sensory experience - in observation. However, he was aware that our senses can be deceived. He was a supporter of Nicolaus Copernicus' (1473-1543) view that the sun was at the centre of the solar system even though each day we see the sun rise in the east and set in the west.
Everything in moderation is a near unanimous response by health professional, health support organisations and media commentators to solving our health crisis.
The same argument was used in in the 1950s and 1960s to convince people to reduce smoking. After all, you would not want to deprive people of the “solace, relaxation and enjoyment to mankind” that smoking has provided for more than 300 years. These days, doctors do not suggest that people reduce smoking but to stop.1
One problem is that moderation cannot be defined. One person may consider a hamburger or packet of cigarettes a week as being moderate. This can easily become two hamburgers a week or just one more cigarette.
Doing things in moderation does not change a habit. To change a habit requires consistency and commitment over a period of several weeks or months.
Stephen Colbert defined a new word: Truthiness, The belief or assertion that a particular statement is true based on the intuition or perceptions of some individual or individuals, without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts.
A number of popular commentators write that we should trust our intuition (without explaining what that may be) rather than relying on what we read. Most of these commentators have written many, many books to tell us that we do not need these books.
Edward Lorenz was a mathematician and meteorologist. Whilst his name may not be familiar, you would have heard about the results of his work. Whilst he is best known for his work on Chaos Theory, he made very valuable contributions to other areas of mathematics including climate theory. Lorenz presented a paper at a meeting in December, 1972 in Washington, DC, the title of the talk being, Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? The title was a question. The answer is - of course it does not. If it did we would be creating tornadoes every time we clapped our hands. Lorenz conclusion was that long-term weather forecasting was doomed. The problem of accurate, long-term weather forecasting has been recognised for some time - and seagulls, grasshoppers or butterflies are not part of the problem or solution.
Many “facts” have a long history of discovery, with a sometimes bitter and acrimonious debate before a final acceptance.
In Life, the Universe and Everything (part of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series), Douglas Adams explains our inability to take in new information as a result of the Someone Else's Problem field. Effrafax of Wug utilised the SEP field to create an invisibility device that would run for a hundred years on a single torch battery. It relied on people's inability to see anything that they do not want to, were not expecting or cannot explain.
We obtain our information initially from parents and from interacting with the world around us. We learn that fire is something that should be avoided if we put our hand in it.
As we grow older, we learn from other people, reading, school, television. Observation is not always a reliable guide. It is obvious that the sun and the moon revolve around the earth - we see the sun rise each morning in the east and set at night in the west.