Are you sure about some of the conclusions you make? Do you feel that you have garnered all the facts before you have made an important decision? Decision comes from the Latin word decisio, which means to cut off all other options. When is it good to cut off all other options? Only when you have based your decision on the facts and NOT others’ opinions. In order to evaluate the facts, one must have a handle on the gathering of information. First, you must have the freedom to collect that information. Next, you must have the desire to dig as deep as is needed to find the facts while being aware that you need to ignore any pre-conceived notions that you might have about a topic. Finally, you need to realize that knowledge is dependent on a correct understanding of any information you evaluate. The only way to gain an understanding is to utilize your mind in an imaginative manner. Delusion means that you maintain a false belief that resists reason or is revealed when confronted with an actual fact. Reason means an ability to use your mind to make judgments and evaluations based on observance, correlation and logic. Do you believe in things that resist reason? If so, you are delusional.
How does one escape being deluded? The first step is to be thankful for the freedom you possess to gather information. In this country there are libraries, internet resources and eyewitnesses available to source information on any topic. Knowing how to research facts that are not tainted by opinions is of prime import. Learn how to read body language and techniques of reading between the lines. Become a master of research before you make conclusions and discuss your opinions about any topic. One of my favorite sayings is “Wise is the fool who knows enough to keep his mouth shut.” Epictetus said, “No man is free who is not a master of himself.”
Next, you need to develop the desire to ferret out the facts. Just because your hero or some radio or TV talks show host says something doesn’t mean it is correct. Everyone has an agenda, whether they realize it or not. From the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed you are manifesting an individual agenda. Our daily interactions with others influence our emotional states and affect us whether we realize it or not. In order to be a fact seeker one must put aside the emotive result to judge facts and embrace the mental result of evaluating the facts. Evaluation is based on a logical correlation of observed facts. Judgment is based on an evaluation in relation to yourself. There is a difference! Each time you research the facts about any topic do more than you did the last time to discover the motivations of those involved in presenting the facts. Mia Hamm said, “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.”
Pre-conceived notions have a significant effect on whether or not someone thoroughly researches the facts. If you view the world through rose colored glasses you see only the good. If you are suspicious and paranoid about how people are influencing your life, then you will see the bad in everything or everybody that opposes your position (Beck, Hannity, O’Reilly, Limbaugh). Try to approach the research on any topic with an open mind and NOT a desire to find facts that back up what you feel is happening. Only then do you minimize the tendency to taint information to reinforce your pre-conceived notions. Merry Browne said, “Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom.”
Information is the characteristics or assets of facts, events or occurrences. When you understand how this information is applied, it becomes knowledge. When you understand how to apply knowledge to an event, situation or occurrence, it becomes wisdom. The key to getting from raw facts to an effective and accurate judgment is understanding. Understanding is a comprehension or personal interpretation of the facts that are observed. It is a cooperative and mutually tolerant frame of mind that allows different perspectives to be taken into account before a conclusion is made. It stems from an individual’s ability to have imagination. Imagination is the ability to form mental images or concepts without having information present to the senses. It is the ability to take what facts you concentrate on and contemplate their possible outcomes. A highly developed imagination is the hallmark of understanding. In fact, Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
Only through an acceptance and understanding of how to effectively research a topic can one avoid deluding oneself. Embrace the freedom you have to seek knowledge and the ability to observe and evaluate the facts. Release any pre-conceived notions and develop your imagination to the point where you take all the facts into consideration before you make judgments. Only then can you start to recognize the truth in all opinions. When that thread of truth is used to make a convincing argument to lead a base of people into supporting your conclusions without a 360 degree evaluation of the facts, then you are trying to delude others based on your own judgments (e.g., 9/12 March). Seek a better understanding of the facts before you take action. It will keep your foot out of your mouth and not mislead those who believe you. You can only delude others when you are pretty good at deluding yourself. Take the high road and speak the truth; it will surely set you free.
For more info: Download my free Wilmington Spirituality Examiner toolbar. Please visit my Eschatology Refutation Blog. “Life is a gift. Be thankful for it and it will be replete with abundance. Encourage others to express creativity, release negativity and embrace pro-activity." ©2009 Dean A. Banks. All Rights Reserved. Dean A. Banks, MCIWD, DD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or banksnet.com. Download my free eBook on Articles 1-10 here.