Evolution found a system of thinking for us that largely circumvents the need for logic. Our everyday thinking most often bypasses logic and depends to a large extent on referring back to what we know, on the way our knowledge is organized in memory, and how such knowledge is evoked. I observe this in myself. If I want to go from A to B as I have a number of times before, I do not analyze my route for efficiency and pleasantness, I just go the way I have before. When I meet someone I don’t know, in order to be able to interact with him quickly, I rely on stereotypes my mind has previously constructed. My subconscious guides me. Unfortunately, this way of thinking can leave important gaps in the way we deal with reality.
What we already know and our biases largely determine the information we use in our thinking processes. Many people have a great attraction to ideas that have no grounding in fact, that are based on superstition, biases, and political or religious agendas. We therefore make many important decisions on partial or faulty information, which when depending on association rather than logic for decisions, can easily produce erroneous conclusions. These erroneous conclusions become new knowledge and in turn distort new data selection and thought processes. This can open the door to trouble when dealing with reality, which includes complex problems such as those involving politics, international relations, economics, and environmental systems.
This failure extends far beyond individuals; it includes the media, educators, and governments. This leaves us ignorant of where geometric population and economic growth are taking us, for example. Few people give thought to or comprehend the consequences of exponential growth. If one starts with an empty bucket, adds one drop of water and every day doubles the amount added to the bucket, change seems very slow at first. Nevertheless, in time the bucket becomes half-full and the next day is full, and then the following day a full bucket’s worth spills over. This lack of understanding is now taking us into very dangerous territory. – Peter Seidel, Excerpt from Book; ‘THERE IS STILL TIME!’