Meta-cognition plays a big part in EOF; it’s a scientific term that is used to explain the study of thinking about thinking. It’s about examining the processes by which we think about and arrive at our own beliefs. This requires questioning everything that you think, the process of your thinking, and everything that you think you know.
Critical thinking is important to as to understand and be able see that what we think we know may be hurting us, but if we are unable to see it how can we stop it little on even understand it? As in the way it is right now if we do not understand something we fear it.
Most of what we remember and believe is flawed or simply false. Our brains seem to constantly generate false observations, memories, and beliefs—and yet we tend to take the truth of our experiences for granted. There are many ways in which our human brain deceives us and leads us to conclusions that have little to do with reality and we have been a slave to this for most of our history.
We need to be able to know how to perceive the world around us. Everything we think we see, hear, and experience is not a direct recording of the outside world; instead, it is a construction. Information is altered, distorted, compared, and confabulated—ultimately to be woven into a narrative that is our assumptions about the world. Our experiences and thoughts are also altered through our beliefs, ideas, ideals, society and the many emotional needs
humans constantly feed, which often times leads to confusion.
Furthermore, everything we think and experience becomes a memory, which is further constructed, altered, and fused. We rely upon our memories as if they were accurate recordings of the past, but the evidence shows that we should be highly suspicious of even the most vivid and confident memories.
We don’t recall memories as much as we reconstruct and update them, altering the information every time we access it. Our brains also fill in gaps by making up information as needed. Additionally, a host of logical flaws and cognitive biases plague our thinking, unless we are specifically aware of and avoid those fallacies.
With The EOF, you will explore logical fallacies and cognitive biases in detail, understanding how they affect thinking in often subtle ways; such as mental shortcuts we tend to take in thinking; these shortcuts may be efficient in most circumstances, but they can also lead us astray. We are generally very good at pattern recognition—so good that we often see patterns that are not actually there. However, many of us are inherently poor at probability and statistics, and this innumeracy opens us up to deception and errors in thinking. Perhaps our greatest weakness is our susceptibility to delusion, the ability to hold a false belief against all evidence.
After a full year of working with The EOF, you will have a thorough understanding of meta-cognition and why we all so desperately need it. Left to our own devices we will be subject to the vagaries of perception and memory and slaves to our emotional needs, beliefs, ideals, ideas and biases which leads to manipulate abuse and violence.
Are we able to operate on the meta-cognitive
level so that you are able to think about the process of your own thinking? Yes, but it is not easy.
The human brain is a tool by which we understand ourselves
and the world in which we live. By understanding the nature of human cognition and the methods of thinking clearly and critically, we can avoid common errors and make the best use of our minds.
The inherent tendency of humans is to make many errors in thinking. One example is flaws in logic, which are called logical fallacies, in which we tend to make logical connections that are not valid, or real.
Our thinking is also plagued with many false assumptions. Our heads are filled with knowledge that we think is actual, but is, in fact, false. Either these bits of knowledge are simply wrong, or they’re assumptions that fall short of what is.
Our memories are also massively flawed. We tend to naively assume that our memories are an accurate, passive recorder of what has happened, but our memories are actually plagued with numerous flaws that make them highly unreliable and just because we wish or imagine something is so that does not mean it is.
All of our beliefs must be open to revision. When new data comes in, or maybe just a better way of interpreting data, we have to be open to revising what we thought we knew.
Most people are subject to delusions. Sometimes our thinking goes so far awry that we can invent our own reality so as to escape actual reality, or we become swept up in the beliefs of others. One common manifestation of this is a public panic, or following a religious spiritual or political leader and so much more.
It’s helpful to consider thinking as a process and to focus on the process rather than on any particular conclusions or ideals. Which is what the mind so often tends to do and this how we know we are not actually thinking or rather are not attentive or perceptive to thinking about what we are thinking. Once we emotionally invest in a conclusion, humans are very good at twisting and rationalizing facts and logic in order to fit that desired conclusion. Instead, we should invest in the process and be very flexible when it comes to any conclusions or ideals hopes beliefs etc.
In addition, we are currently living not only in the age of information with the Internet, but we are living in the age of misinformation. There are many rumors that now spread faster than wild fire; they spread with the speed of electrons through the Internet. Whether they’re innocent or malicious, myths are spread through the Internet in order for the people behind the myths to try to steal other people’s money, lure them into a scam, or even lure people to abusive situations.
Thinking critically is a process, and the first component is to
examine all of the facts that you are assuming or that you think are actual. Many of them may not be reliable, or they may be assumptions. You may not know whether they’re actual, but you’re assuming they’re what is so, which often leads to confusion and self manipulation then we share it and manipulate others in this way.
You also need to examine your logic. Is the logic you’re using legitimate, or is it flawed in some way? Perhaps it’s systematically biased in a certain direction due to past experiences or conditionings.
In addition, you should try to become aware of your motivations. People are extremely good at rationalizing beliefs when they are motivated by a desire to believe a certain conclusion because they are convinced that it is good and right but they are unable to see the blindness that comes from this. Understanding your motivations especially when it mostly comes from fear or wanting consensus will help you deconstruct that process and will give you the skills to discover conclusions that are more likely to be actual, as opposed to the ones that you just wish to be true.
You have a limited fund of knowledge and a limited perspective. In fact, your knowledge and perspective may be limited in ways that you’re not aware. You don’t know what you don’t know. Therefore, if you check your beliefs with others, it increases the probability that any holes in your thinking will be covered up. Rather then being afraid of the unknown.
When a large consensus on a specific claim is achieved, there’s a greater chance that the consensus reflects reality than the process of an individual. A consensus may be systematically biased as well, which is often rhetorical acting like a quick fix easy answer addressing the symptoms and not root thus making things worse in the long run. For example this world and all society, religious structures even academia is lacking in meta-cognition hence the mess we see today in the world. With fewer people being able to understand their mind or to be able to perceive attentively their own thinking meta-cognition is it any surprise that mental illnesses are on the increase?
The EOF is, in fact, a defense mechanism against all the machinations that are trying to deceive us—whether for ideological/spiritual/new age/religion, political, or society marketing reasons. This also liberates us from being weighed down by the many false beliefs, and perhaps mutually incompatible beliefs, that we tend to hold because of our emotional and historical makeup.
Questions to consider
1. Why is meta-cognition important to the average person and to society as a whole?
2. What are the neurological, psychological, and cultural barriers to critical thinking and meta-cognition?
-Notes reference from Dr Steve Novella