virus: Open Thinking

D. H. Rosdeitcher (
31 Mar 97 11:00:06 EST

One point made by the dialogues at CoV is that it is not necessary to reach
any final conclusion about the nature of reality, but to break into a mode of
open thinking--a process of constantly improving, expanding, and re-ordering
knowledge. This process can be stimulated by participation in an activity in
which an idea or hypothesis is first conceived by an individual and then that
idea can be criticized, tested, analyzed, etc. by many individuals.
There are 2 basic enemies of this open thinking process: One enemy blocks
the ability to conceive ideas, while the other enemy blocks the ability to
criticize ideas. Both enemies can be clearly exemplified by recent discussions
concerning the use of language.
The language that the mind uses to conceive ideas does not consist of
spoken words, but pictures. These pictures are translated into words when put
into a format that other people can understand, although the words can only
approximate, not describe exactly, the meaning of the pictures. Often, to
describe such a picture, words are used metaphorically--their meanings are
different than their dictionary definition, which is fine, since meanings of
words can change according to their context. The definitions of the words don't
really matter, as all that is important is describing the idea so others can
grasp it. Sometimes people place too great an importance on definitions,
however. For instance, I wrote of a situation in which people claim that one
ideology is as good or useful as another:

> There is a commonly accepted lie called 'egalitarianism'--the idea that each
ideology, (ie. >Objectivism, Catholicism, Wiccanism, etc.) is just as good as
the next.

A response was:

>egalitarianism - the doctrine that advocates equal political and social
>rights for all citizens. As such, egalitarianism is enshrined in the
>Fast Times Political Dictionary:

This is an example of clinging to dictionary definitions of words, as if
such definitions are a static truth--an unquestionable authority from which true
knowledge is derived. In this mode of thinking, knowledge is purportedly gained
by putting together words in their dictionary meaning. One problem with this
mode of thinking is that new knowledge is not gained by taking discrete
concepts, (ie. words) and putting them together to form a big picture, but by
seeing the big picture first and then breaking it down into its components.
Another problem with this type of thinking is that there is a stagnating
dogmatism when a word, or any concept (ie. God, scriptures, etc) is given status
as ultimate authority. As far as the thinking process is concerned, there is no
important difference between which "authorities"are exalted since the activity
of deciding that there is an ultimate truth or authority leads to a closed
mentality that is not open to different ways of seeing.
The response to defending use of words outside dictionary definitions was:

>Is newspeak an approved Objectivist tactic?

Newspeak refers to changing the meaning of words in a way that does not
clarify reality, but obscures reality. For instance, I recently read a post
that described how government officials behind the former 'iron curtain' of
eastern Europe would steal money from the relatively well-to-do class and
redistribute it among the population. These officials called this
'organization', instead of 'theft'. People operating in this not-so-dogmatic yet
corrupt mode have an ability to control the minds of people who are infected
with mind-blocking dogmatism. But, often these criminals are exempt from
criticism, since most people are too confused by newspeak to think critically,
and those who could think critically might be jailed or killed if they spoke
Such people who use language to confuse and control others, are often
*very* exempt from criticism because they have never been identified and defined
until recently. This brings up an important point about definitions. Definitions
are made when an idea or concept is first formed and then words are found to
define this concept. For instance, a picture-concept of a 'hidden criminal who
distorts people's thinking through the use of language', was first formed before
the identification and definition of "neocheater" came about. And, the
picture-concept of a 'unit of information such as icons, symbols, slogans, etc.
that gets copied and transmitted throughout society' came about before the term
'meme' was identified and defined. Such terms, like any term such as 'tree' or
'run', were not created by putting words together, but by seeing the picture,
then defining it with words. .
The point here is that open thinking works by a process of conceiving ideas,
then testing them. With that in mind, here is an idea to be tested: There were 3
modes of thinking that were described: 1)open thinking of first visualizing the
ideas in picture form and then finding ways to describe them 2) closed thinking
of using definitions or other authorities as dogma and 3)manipulating language
to control other people. Each of these 3 modes of thinking have distinct
characteristics on a cellular level that are not determined by any particular
memetic structure.
vid Rosdeitcher