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Calcified Thinking (Friday Filosophy 6/17/22)

Posted By: Randy GageJune 16, 2022

Happy Freakin’ Friday!

It’s time again for our weekly chat about a subject that I’m thinking about – and believe you might want to think about as well.  Today I’m revisiting something I reflect about a lot.  The point people reach when their mind calcifies.

This is something you see frequently in elderly people.  They’ve pretty much solidified their worldview about all the important things in life.  After that point they discard anything that contradicts with their preconceptions, even against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Why I’m thinking about this more these days is because it’s frightening how quickly the age this happens to people is getting younger.  The kind of mental intransigence you used to see in 80-year-olds is now common in 50-year-olds. And it’s not that uncommon now to see it in 20- and 30-year olds.

The old pattern used to be that you thought you knew everything in your teens and twenties, then you went out in the world and discovered how ignorant you were.  This opened up your mind, so you could have a few decades of learning.  Each decade you made up your mind about more things and experienced less mental flexibility, until you were 70 or 80 and your brain essentially became a fossil.

In today’s culture, there are massive groups of people in every age span who have completely shut down (unknowingly) their powers for critical thinking, discernment, and objectively analyzing new ideas.  (If you don’t believe me, watch the number of people attacking, ratioing, or trying to cancel me after this gets posted!)

I posit that there are two main causes for this, quite interrelated.  Cause number one is the growth explosion of the clickbait legacy media business model, and the fear/outrage social media platform model.  I’d guesstimate the average person is getting 100,000 percent more input from those two sources than they did a decade ago, and at least 500,000 percent more than they did 20 years ago. Someone in their 20s or 30s has had this kind of omnipresent negative programing overwhelming them their entire life. The second cause for all the calcified minds is a byproduct of cause number one: people’s propensity to let their ideas become their identity.

It’s a pretty safe assumption that everyone you see wearing a face mask today will still be wearing one in 2027.  It won’t matter how many scientific studies are produced, what evidence is brought forth, or what scientific consensus is reached between now and then. They have established a belief about masking and no amount of evidence to the contrary is going to alter what they believe.  Note: For the sake of this discussion, we should note that this does not apply to some outlier groups of people.  First, for those that are wearing masks now because they’re serving as a caregiver for an immunocompromised person, etc.  And people have bad teeth, chronic halitosis, facial scarring, etc., or don’t like people hugging or kissing them.  The masks make them feel better, and that’s why they wear them.  (And just for the record, I’ll defend to the death their right to wear them)

But most of the people you see masking today are doing so because of the two causes mentioned earlier:

  • They believe they’re “following the science,” and are unaware of limitations on their thinking created by false perceptions, inherent bias, and bad cognition. (Calcified thinking.)
  • They’re insecure and they believe masking signals their virtue as a caring member of the human tribe. (Allowing their ideas to become their identity.)

Another assassin of rational thought is the tendency to accept things to be true simply because you want them to be true.

“My husband is the perfect man. He would never be unfaithful to me.”

“I have dedicated my life to serving God.  If there were no God, then my life would be meaningless. That’s proof there has to be a God.”

“I put laser eyes on my social media profile pic.  That means Bitcoin can only go up.”

Here in the U.S., the Congress is holding hearings on the attempted insurrection that took place last year on January 6th.  There has been a steady stream of witnesses, including the president’s staff, family, and Cabinet members that have testified that they knew then and know now that President trump was defeated in the election.  But there are tens of millions of people who still believe the most bazaar, outlandish claims of election fraud – from the 2000 Mules movie to ballots having bamboo residue on them because they were smuggled in from China. Of course, these claims have been completely discredited.  But the individuals who bought into them and built their identity around them in 2020 will not accept any level of evidence that disagrees with what they believe to be true.

People like Dinesh D'Souza, Rudy Giuliani, Sidney Powell, and "Lin" Wood Jr. are intelligent and have functioned in society for many years.  But they’ve reached a point where they adopted an identity, went too far down the conspiracy rabbit hole and can no longer function as rational humans.  The lights are on, but no one is home.  (Or possibly, they secretly know what they’re promoting is tinfoil hat nonsense, but it makes them so much money they continue to shovel it out.)

Making all this worse, the pressure of conformity from social media makes people feel they’re foolish or weak if they change their mind on something.  Please remember this: If you don’t change your mind once in a while, you’re not really using it.

New on the Podcast…

I believe the new episode out this week may be the most important podcast I’ve ever done.  It’s on if and how you can create your true destiny.  Please share this one with all of the critical thinkers in your world.





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Thought of the Day: Be ashamed to die before you're certain that the world was at least a little bit better because you were here.


- RG

P.S. The 2022 dates have been finalized for my Author Apprenticeship Program.  If you have an extraordinary book gestating within you that you want to bring into the world, check the details here:

Previous post: Planting Seeds for Prosperity

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