It’s funny how, since I’ve left Scientology behind me, how I keep running into
certain principles and rules they have which are totally contrary to living a
rational and sane life. I just recently came across one of these instances and
I was really surprised to discover how important this actually is.
I’ve mentioned before that intelligence or IQ have absolutely nothing to do
with proofing a person up against getting involved in a destructive cult like
Scientology, nor getting hoodwinked in other ways too. A very good article on
Skeptic.com by Barbara Drescher actually went into this in detail and cited
specific scientific studies that were done on how we think and come to
conclusions. I’ve included a link to it at the end of this video.
One of the things I’ve struggled with since learning about critical thinking is
the sometimes frustrating fact that we don’t seem to naturally think in a
logical or reasoned way. We have preconceived ideas, our desires often
determine what facts we will choose to accept or reject and we jump to
conclusions all the time. Often our intelligence is not used to ferret out what
the best solution to a problem is but instead is used to justify the silly or
irrational decisions we make based on what feels good, regardless of the facts.
There is sometimes this idea that emotion runs up against logic and the two are
at war, kind of like some people view religion and science. I don’t happen to
agree with this idea because I think that the miracle of human beings is that
we are able to hold both of these things within us – emotion-based beliefs and
fact-based logic – at the same time. In fact, that is what it means to be
So while we may not be innately logical or natively rational, we can learn and
we can apply ourselves and we have a lot of potential.
The article I cited earlier talks about a principle that I think is pretty
universal and which I think anyone can adopt to think more rationally and
skillfully, without sacrificing their emotional desires or hopes or dreams.
I think the only thing we should be intolerant of is intolerance. And here’s
the cool thing – rationality and tolerance have a lot to do with each other.
So where do we start? By having an open mind. This is why I keep talking about
science, because one of the cornerstones of science is always being open to new
ideas, new evidence and new information.
Look at it this way. How do we discover anything? By going out and getting
information and reviewing it and getting other people’s take on it and then, if
we are realy smart, getting more information to verify what we think we
learned. In a nutshell, that IS the scientific method.
Now looking at the opposite of this, what are the hallmarks of predjudice and
intolereance and hate? Being close minded, unwilling to look or listen or
accept any ideas. Let’s face it – there is no one who is more insufferable and
hard to socialize with than know-it-alls, the kind who aren’t really listening
to you when you’re talking but are only waiting for you to shut up so they can
tell you more about what they think and how they see things. These kind of
peope are not listening to understand and they aren’t talking to even convince
you of anything so much as they are just trying to bludgeon you into silence so
they can be right.
Being tolerant of something doesn’t mean you have to agree with it. You don’t
have to change your morality or how you live in order to tolerate someone or
something else’s existence. Tolerance simply means allowing the existence or
practice of something else, even something you don’t like, without
Are there areas or subjects in your life that are closed off and not open to
discussion? Are there things you are so sure of that you couldn’t possibly
imagine them being any different? Have you ever had this feeling of irritation
or even rage come up inside you when someone tries to talk about a certain
topic or convince you that maybe there’s more to know about it?
Maybe those are areas where you could be a little more open minded.
It’s not necessariily easy to do this. Sometimes it takes real effort. But
rational thought and common sense and real understanding are only possible when
we are open to new ideas and to changing our mind about our old ones.
And if you are looking for proof of what I’m talking about, check this out. In
the Church of Scientology, which we know is a destructive and authoritarian
cult, one of their most firm rules is to beware of certain types of people who
they call Sources of Trouble. If any of these sources of trouble come in to one
of their churches and want to try it out, they are quickly shown the door and
not let back in. Do you know what one of those sources of trouble are? People
who have an open mind.
Tolerance and understanding are the only way we are going to all live together
in peace. Probably the most important factor in achieving this is for all of us
to be a bit more open minded. This is a vital part of critical thinking.
Thank you for watching.