Think for yourself — not your guru

Use your brain, not just theirs

I’ll try to keep this short. The summary is that when your ‘gurus’ or other ‘authoritative sources’ make clever arguments that seem reasonable to you, it still doesn’t mean that following the ‘gurus’ is thinking for yourself. Another classic error of reasoning is believing that thinking differently is necessarily thinking better or smarter. The reality is, an offbeat clever argument can cause damage that could be avoided by willing to be ordinary. Of course the challenge is to know when to do which.

Instead of going on at length about how to reason about when one is a follower and when is thinking for oneself, or making a lot hay with the fact that we humans tend not to be creatures of reason and opining about the irrational things that lead us astray into thinking we are being leaders when we are really being led down the garden path, I will instead leave that thought exercise up to you.

I will caution against being too willing to be convinced of what you already tend to believe, and instead encourage you to consider carefully what the world would really look like if those who would fill you with fear and/or loathing for others were true, and to consider whether, even when the world is not perfect, it is more reasonable to presume that it’s mostly just a lot of folks muddling about and trying to figure out who to trust, and what makes sense to do.

There is a saying that one should “never attribute to maliciousness that which can be explained by incompetence”, only in this case incompetence meaning being human with human limitations and errors. It may be scary to realize there is not ‘grand plan’, but it can be freeing to know that we are much more in this together than most realize.

Rather than seeing enemies, see fellow humans just trying to get by, and let us work together.