Tag Archives: Alan Jacobs

Like-Minded vs Like-Hearted

how_to_thinkIf you want to find the truth, then the most dangerous place for you to be is in a group that already agrees with you.

This is particularly true if membership in that group is based on shared thinking, such as the sort of church where you must all recite the same creed, the faculty of a school where there are written or unwritten expectations for what you will teach or publish, or a political party whose “platform” you must support.

The reason is obvious, isn’t it? As Alan Jacobs says in his book, How to Think,

…the pressures imposed on us by Inner Rings [of people who control such groups] make genuine thinking almost impossible by making belonging contingent on conformity.

He continues with the solution:

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Thinking with Other People

What hope could there be for someone who is such a devoted member of the infamous Westborough Baptist Church (“God Hates Fags”) that she tweets missives such as this one:

Thank God for AIDS! You won’t repent of your rebellion that brought His wrath on you in this incurable scourge, so expect more & worse!

And what if that evangelist for hate had been steeped in it since infancy, being the granddaughter of the church’s founder?

how_to_thinkIn How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds, author Alan Jacobs tells the story of Megan Phelps-Roper, whose social-media campaign to spread Westborough Baptist’s message ultimately backfired in a spectacular way.

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