think“Don’t believe everything you think” is an important admonition on the importance of living an examined life, on the necessity of keeping an open mind, and on the value of allowing your beliefs to be challenged and questioned.

“Don’t Believe Everything You Think” also is a short book (239 pages plus notes and index), by Thomas E. Kida, on the seemingly lost art of critical thinking.

Six common errors of thinking:

– We tend to prefer stories to statistics, no matter how misleading the story or how accurate the stat.

– We seek to confirm, not question, our ideas; everyone wants to right, nobody wants to be wrong.

– We rarely fully appreciate the role of chance in shaping events, attributing to skill what is often merely random outcomes.

– Our memories often are inaccurate.

– We often misperceive the world; worse, we have an inordinate and unwarranted degree of confidence in the accuracy of our observations.

– We tend to oversimplify; the world is more complex than we possibly can deal with, hence we respond by looking for sole causes to things that are greatly overdetermined.

Closing Quotes:

“We think so because other people all think so; or because – or because – after all we do think so; or because we were told so, and think we must think so; or because we once thought so, and think we still think so; or because, having thought so, we think we will think so…” — Henry Sidgwick

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” — Aristotle

“No way of thinking or doing, however ancient, can be trusted without proof.” — Henry David Thoreau

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.” — John Cotton Dana

“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.” — Voltaire

“Reason obeys itself: ignorance submits to what is dictated to it.” — Thomas Paine