Academic journal article Journal of Evolutionary Psychology

Thinking about Thinking

Academic journal article Journal of Evolutionary Psychology

Thinking about Thinking

Article excerpt

Reading is both an art and a science. We read either to enjoy a flight of the imagination, or for information. It requires no training to use one's mind in flights of fancy, to conjure images that bring joy and sorrow, hope and fear, wonder and terror. Empathy, however, is necessary for knowledge. It is the essential element in understanding the mind of the writer, the way words are being used. Empathy brings the two minds, that of the writer and the reader, closer together. It is the key to an understanding of the writer's words.

Again I must quote Bertrand Russell, a graphic statement that shows how thinking can become an inflexible habit, often to the detriment of the thinker. Russell said, "Many people would rather die than think. In fact they do." This statement can be applied to any subject, whether health and food, politics and religion and business. The art of thinking is not to be found in logic, for it is in logic that the prejudiced mind must find support. Logic is often used to bolster an opinion or a prejudice. Facts are ignored in this situation. An example is the lawyer who got up in court and declared: "Now, ladies and gentlemen, let me tell you the opinions on which I have based my facts. …

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