You don’t have to think if you don’t want to. You can dial it down, and just observe and react if you prefer. A lot of people do, you know. They watch what’s going on, and even react to it (usually by recalling slogans that they’ve stashed away in their brains), but they seldom analyze things. Instead, they simply follow the dominant opinions of their place and time. In some ways, it’s easier, and you can do that if you’d like.
Not that I recommend it. All sorts of unpleasant things can happen to you when your reasoning is turned off, but that is not my point right now.
These essays will not be popular among authorities and rulers. I tell you now that many people will reject these ideas and ridicule them. But are they true? That you alone must decide. And you must decide by examining the ideas, comparing them to reality, and seeing if they hold up. These ideas will not fit in with most political, religious, or social mythologies. If those things are important to you, forget about my stuff, it will only cause you trouble.
But are they true? Don’t ask someone else to figure it out for you. There are no short-cuts that work. If these ideas interest you, then you must find out if they are true, and you can only do that by testing the ideas yourself. Intimidation is your enemy, and serves only to shut down your mind. Don’t take my word for it. Don’t take anybody’s word. Figure it out for yourself.
How To Know Things:
1. Observe things.
2. Form an explanation for what you observe.
3. Test your explanation.
How To Develop New Things:
1. Observe things.
2. Arrive at an explanation of what you observe.
3. Extend your explanation. (Extrapolate.)
4. Test your extrapolation.
Short version of developing new things:
1. Begin with one or more things you know.
3. Test your extrapolations.
No shortcuts are allowed. Hunches are fine for extrapolations, but may never be substituted for tests.
The Lessons of Reality:
1. The universe is comprehensible. (If not, you couldn’t tie your shoes, much less fly an airplane.) No, we don’t understand everything in the universe now, but given enough time, we might.
2. All humans pursue happiness.
3. Happiness is subjective.
4. Perceptions may vary, facts do not.
5. Perceiving reality is better than avoiding it.
6. Cause always precedes effect.
From Appendix A in "A Lodging of Wayfaring Men" by Paul Rosenberg, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial Share Alike license. © 2007, Paul Rosenberg.