Thought Bubbles / Confabulation, Truthiness, Intuition

Thought Bubbles - Confabulation, Truthiness, Intuition

Bertrand Russell, in an interview, stated that: "...I do like clarity and exact thinking and I believe that it is very important to mankind. Because when you allow yourself to think inexactly, your prejudices, your bias, your self-interest comes in ways you don't notice ... So I do think clear thinking is immensely important, but I don't think philosophy in the old fashioned sense is quite the thing the world needs these days..."

Are we capable of "clear and exact thinking"? Or do we all suffer from confabulation, where we unknowingly replace and falsify our memories with beliefs we hold to be true? How can we know that we are thinking clearly and exactly, and not confabulating?

In 2005, comedian Stephen Colbert coined the word truthiness: "a quality characterizing a 'truth' that a person claims to know intuitively 'from the gut' or because it 'feels right' without regard to evidence, logic, intellectual examination, or facts". Truthiness was named Word of the Year for 2005 by the American Dialect Society.

Truth is not a matter of "feeling". Truthiness is dangerous, both to the individual and to society. Although there is a vast amount of research on cognitive biases which show that "gut feelings" and "intuition" are highly flawed in decision-making, we nevertheless make most of our decisions intuitively. Intuition does have a place in our decision-making process, but should only be utilized when we can not gather, verify and formulate facts and are under pressure to act spontaneously. If we have the luxury of time, and it is possible to gather facts regarding an issue, we should do so before we act.

Why make the distinction between "exact thinking" and "truthiness"? Because how we think is more fundamental than what we think. Without understanding that distinction, we exist in a sea of confusion, ever more vulnerable to forces of life.

Song of the Day: Policy Of Truth - Depeche Mode (1990)
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