When the Common Sense View Is Just Wrong

RL: Granted these were tough concepts, and the concretist way of thinking seemed intuitively correct for most of these concepts, but of course it was wrong. The concretist view was usually something like, “What a stupid idea! This means nothing at all! Dumbest idea I’ve ever heard! It makes no sense! Completely irrational!” You had to stretch your brain quite a bit to figure out why the abstract view of the situation was actually the correct one and that the idea indeed had some merit.

Oops I did it again: I wonder how the thing people are best at is describing their selves in picturing what they believe be others.

This is so true! There are quite a few notions out there where the common sense view is, “Hey look, well, looking at this situation, obviously the truth is X = Y.” Or something along those lines.

“Well of course!…Obviously!…It must be…That’s simple…”.

The problem is that in these cases the logical, common sense POV is just…guess what? Wrong. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

What’s the truth? The truth is actually found by looking at the question from an abstract and non-concretist and hopefully as objective view as possible. When we do that, we find that the truth is actually something completely counterintuitive.

Too many people think in a concretist way. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as the concretist view is correct, and often it is. Where we run into problems is where the concretist view is just wrong and the only path to the correct answer is via the abstract view.

When one resigns oneself to concretist thinking all the time, you have stated that you are defeated by adulthood and that you will be an 11 year old forever. That is because 11 years old is the end of concrete relations. If you wonder why 12 year old girls seem so different from 11 year old girls (and I have noticed how brilliant these little 12 year old’s are), it is because the 12 year old girl is now taking her baby steps into the world of abstraction.

Abstraction versus concreteness are two very different ways of thinking, of looking at the world. The reason that abstraction begins at age 12 is because this is an adult mode of thinking. Concretion, while often charming and humorous, is a child’s way of looking at the world. Perhaps children benefit from concreteness, or more likely, perhaps it simply takes that slow-maturing brain of ours 12 full years to mature to the state of Abstractness.

My father had a 129 IQ, but he was surprisingly concrete for such a smart guy in the top 4% of the intelligence bracket. There were certain things that I tried to explain to him over and over like Zen philosophy or proportional voting.

Proportional voting is a bit tricky to get around (you vote for 1st, 2nd and 3rd choices which are counted differently depending on outcomes), but my Mom and brother were able to get it after a bit. My father could never get it.

He could never get the controversy over software patents either. A software patent is intellectual property – it’s like patenting an idea. A novelist writes a few paragraphs about this or that. Sure, the exact word structure is copywritten, though it can be copied easily by shifting some words around. But the novelist cannot copyright the idea that he came up with that is expressed in that section. Sartre could not patent Existentialism. A software patent is like that novelist patenting those three paragraphs he wrote. How can you do that? You can’t.

How about patenting the idea of making a window pop up on your screen? How can you do that? That’s like patenting the idea of Postmodernism. You can’t patent software. That’s patenting ideas. My father thought I was arguing against patents or copyrights. He never could get the argument.

Zen was hopeless. All he did was pound the table over and over again. “What’s the point?! What the point of Zen Buddhism?!” Well obviously if you take that idea to any Zen monk, assuming he answers the question at all and doesn’t answer by saying, “Go sweep your floor now,” or something like that, an honest Zen master will simply say that the point of Zen is that there is no point. That’s Zen in a nutshell. There’s nothing there at all, and that is the whole point, if there is even a point at all, which is pretty up in the air itself.

3 Comments

Filed under Philosophy, Psychology

3 responses to “When the Common Sense View Is Just Wrong

  1. Jason Y

    Bingo! You hit on why white supremacists are so mean. They only think in a concrete fashion. That’s why also a lot of times their views are laughable. “Oh, look at that guy. HA HA He looks funny. He’s must be a retard Huh Huh.” to quote santo-culto. “Look at that 4 headed gimp walking down the street Huh Huh”.😆

  2. If you think you understand Zen, you quite possibly dont understand Zen.

    I think its a way of getting you to realise what is beyond words and logical dichotomies. Its like using the logical discursive mind against itself, to jolt you into realisation. You just cant grasp it with your discursive thinking mind. Or if the instruction was to sweep the floor, then it would just be encouraging you to be mindful and present- doing mundane tasks mindfully is also zen practice and a gateway to realisation.

    All Buddhism is just different methods to get you there.

    Thats as i understand it, though of course i could eb completely wrong.

  3. Stary Wylk

    Be here now.

    Yes, I know that’s the title of “Baba Ram Dass'” book, but it’s really that simple. Reminds me of Clausewitz.

    It’s difficult because one always wants to plan or daydream.

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