I’ve always had a natural tendency towards analytical and logical thinking. It has given me an advantage my entire life. It has made me curious. I have to know how everything works. I have to understand.
With the internet at my disposal, I can satisfy that desire. I seek a way of thinking that increases my understanding and directs me toward truth, and ideally, reality. Over the last year I have challenged myself to be more critical, more thoughtful, and more knowledgeable. I sought out information and skills which could help me reject wrong beliefs and find true, justified ones. I searched for Rationality.
Despite my naturally analytical mind, I have many unexposed biases and unsupported assumptions. I make irrational decisions, misunderstand people, and sometimes fail to accurately communicate my ideas. I don’t like it, but I have beliefs about the real world which are either inaccurate or completely wrong. A few short years ago I didn’t believe climate change was happening, or that it was human caused. I hadn’t considered the subject in a rational way, or even bothered to check if my facts were straight (they weren’t).
The human mind did not develop to think rationally. It is challenging for us, and sometimes counter intuitive. Our brains are wired to make us cognitive misers. We make snap judgements using rules of thumb based on our personal experiences, ignorant of the information hidden in the shadow of our biases.
It’s not that we’re dumb. Rationality is not correlated with intelligence. It’s an art which takes time, practice, and constant refinement. It’s natural to be irrational; to be otherwise takes dedication.
To be an effective rational thinker, I will read papers, blog posts, comment threads, books, and take online lessons. Writing about the subjects I learn will strengthen my understanding, so I will document my learning on this blog. With my ideas and beliefs written down, I can examine them more closely and make structured improvements over time.
Plus, I hope to receive comments, criticisms, and challenges, so my failures and mistakes can be corrected. Dear reader, If you see something here that doesn’t make sense, simplifies too much, or is just wrong, I would be very interested to know about it.
It is also my sincere hope that my writings will be of some use to someone. As I see it, rational and critical thinking are essential to success in our increasingly complex world. I wish to inspire others to embrace rationality and reject their biases and misconceptions in exchange for a clearer view of reality.