Will TruStory teach me how to think?


#1

At the very core, TruStory is a knowledge-based platform that teaches us how to think and reason.

What do I mean by this?

As you already know, TruStory is a place for us to debate claims so that we can define the reality we want to live in. This requires us to:

  1. Seek out evidence supporting or refuting a particular claim.
  2. Listen to different viewpoints and perspectives with an open mind.
  3. Analyze at all sides of the argument, and reason our way through finding the most accurate one.

The process of doing this teaches us how to think more effectively. This is why we’ve been so careful in selecting our early community members – i.e. our “experts”. People who genuinely want to learn, debate, and understand.


#2

Agreed. Using TruStory highlights how little we think about the information we digest continuously.

One of the tricky things I’m realizing is that it is much, much easier to teach someone how to think than to teach them to TO think. I can just give books and correct misconceptions but I can’t teach someone who isn’t trying to learn. When did we stop thinking for ourselves and live most of life in a default state. Does anyone have any idea why we started doing this? I don’t think it’s a problem created by the internet (maybe accelerated by the internet?).


#3

We are programmed to live life in a default state (minimum energy expenditure) for the most part. Stereotypes are a case in point. It would be horrendously taxing to the brain if we are to second guess and have to verify the accuracy of every single piece of information we digest daily.

Earlier the information sources were far and few and most were probably trustworthy or subtle propaganda at worst. With the advent of internet, news and data gathering became open to everyone (thanks Twitter and Facebook) and hence it is more difficult to operate in the default mode. So every time you go online, it is a chance to exercise your thinking and reasoning skills. :smile:


#4

To me, two things come to mind.

1 - We aren’t encouraged to fail often enough growing up - at least, this has been my experience. The pressure to get perfect grades or ruin your chances of getting into a college meant not signing up for classes I wouldn’t excel in. I remember dropping out of art class and public speaking class for these reasons. I strive to - as an adult - actively seek out to learn things that may be very difficult for me. Getting comfortable with failure, and then going back to figure out how to do better, is inherent to becoming a better learner. There’s also the common conception that adults can’t learn as fast as children. That may be true literally, but it may lead many of us to take it too far by choosing not to learn new things at all.

2 - Social media is obviously great for disseminating information, but there are endless options of articles to read and videos to consume, etc. What I’ve noticed I’m guilty of is hitting “Save” on a news article on Facebook so I can read it later…most of those I won’t return to, but it hasn’t stopped me from remarking to a friend “I saw an article about XX… I didn’t read it but I saved it…” and I’ve heard other friends say similar things to me. This isn’t, I believe, a careless disregard for wanting to think and learn, but a byproduct of digital overload and how convenient social media makes it to bookmark for later.


#5

This wiki bio https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Popper is quite interesting for understanding how we get there at the first place. Sorry if I don’t point out some bullet point, I just think that reading the whole thing will be more enjoyable.


#6

omg. I LOVE Karl Popper’s ideas. This is precisely how all stories are TruStory can/should be thought of: Falsifiable.


#7

Thank you for sharing this link.


#8

@brunocecchini23 I like that idea quite a bit. I really like Karl Popper’s idea that you can never really prove anything, but only use empirical evidence to falsify ideas.

I think that teaching the concepts of using rational argument, falsifiability, and empirical evidence is a great way to help people (including myself) practice making critical arguments and engaging with ideas. This is a huge contrast from most of the Internet these days, which is full of ad hominems.


#9

I think that the question of how TruStory may teach people to think is a great question. As a cultural anthropologist who works on technology, I would break the question down into two different issues:

  1. The first would look at the kinds of rationality and critical thinking skills required to participate in the activity of debating truth. This, I take it, is what @preethi is highlighting in her original post. Here, it is important to remember that we learn not only by reading new information, but also by doing things. And so I agree that the activity of participating in verification is very likely to teach us to think in new and better ways.

  2. But a lot of recent anthropologists (and other academics) have also pointed to the ways that digital (and analog) platforms and infrastructures also contribute to shaping the way we think in ways that may be less obvious. We could ask what the affordances and limitations of any kind of digital platform might be here. I’m just starting out in the community, so I don’t have access to the app yet, but I wonder how the design of the app will encourage and discourage certain kinds of critical thinking.

I’m thinking specifically of the work of people like Whitney Phillips, Zeynep Tufekci, and dana boyd. Or for some great pre-internet musings on the politics of a platform look at Langdon Winner’s 1980 article, “Do Artifacts Have Politics?”


#10

@jsrubin really good point RE: platforms contributing to sharing the way we think. You might enjoy this post: https://www.epsilontheory.com/the-fiat-news-index/


#11

Thanks! This is a fascinating article!


#12

i think this has been going on since the creation of mankind. people blindly follow each other all the time. “people who go along with the crowd” = SHEEP! :slight_smile:


#13

Thanks for forwarding the link to this article. Good Read.

-Astra Rai


#14

I just came across this quote (from 2013) by David Friedberg (CEO of The Climate Company) that I think beautifully addresses the question you asked, When did we stop thinking for ourselves and live most of life in a default state

"If information was once the grist for ideas, over the last decade it has become competition for them — we have started to prefer knowing things over thinking because knowing has more immediate value. This keeps us in a loop. It keeps us connected to our friends and our cohort, and this implies a society that no longer thinks big.”

I don’t think I’ve ever quite heard this viewpoint summed up as well as Friedberg did - that in a sense, we (collectively) have defaulted to being “good” at spouting off information today because social media ties have replaced so much in-person communication >> we’re (currently) quickly and consistently rewarded for sharing information, not so much for thinking.


#15

@Pam really well said.

I’ll make this short and sweet: Fundamentally, I believe life rewards the attention grabbers in the short-run, but the thinkers in the long-run.