Hello my Yoga loves I guess, like everyone else, I have sort of been hiding under a rock for a few weeks… Ok 2 months, but I just didn’t seem to be anything to write about that hasn’t been said by someone else and probably said better. But as restrictions due to COVID-19 begin to ease I have had many questions as to when I will reopen the Center.

But first let me ask how are you doing? Its been a Helleva ride since the beginning of February hasn’t? First the COVID virus, then everything gets locked down and then as if that wasn’t enough the horrible storms and the tornado roared in forever changing the landscape of our beautiful county and changing the inner landscape for so many individuals. But here we are slowly moving into our new normal. I am certain that your ‘new normal’ is different from mine, and mine is different from someone else’s. I have not been on social media as much lately, I get on to post a few things about work or puppies or kittens or something, mostly to see how all of you are doing, but for the most part I don’t read or scroll the newsfeed much, its sad, depressing and damned infuriating if I’m being honest. The division between us humans is getting scary, what is it about humans that makes us think ‘our way’ is the only right way? Why?

Why when faced with something they don’t believe in or that they don’t totally support, do humans have to be so visceral, so antagonistic?

Why?

Why do we seem to think that a FB meme is the truth just because it supports our particular narrative? And why do we fail to do the right thing, and before we post something so very inflammatory, why do we fail to do the research. Look at many different sources and verify that its correct and reasonably truthful, before posting.

Why?

Why is it necessary to beat up someone or tear them down to get your point across? Is it because you really don’t have a valid argument? Why call names, why create even more hate by spewing garbage.

Why?

Why not instead seek out the truth, read and research and find things that uphold your position that do NOT include hate speech or blatant falsehoods. Why not learn the noble art of debate, why not participate in friendly discourse?

Why not learn how to think for ourselves?

Why not?

Carl Sagan wrote, at length, about critical thinking and while he was mostly writing at the time about superstitious belief, I think we need to look closely at what he called “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection” and learn how to fine-tune our bullshit detectors. We seem to have forgotten how to think for ourselves and we most definitely have forgotten how to be kind.

Here are Carl Sagans rules for Baloney detection.

  1. Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
  2. Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
  3. Arguments from authority carry little weight — “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts. ****I would add here that ‘Authorities’ are also Social Media ‘Influencers’, just because you see it on the internet does not make it true. ..again for the folks in the back Just because you see it on the internet does not make it true…CPM
  4. Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among “multiple working hypotheses,” has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.
  5. Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will. *** I underlined that part… the pursuit of knowledge, I’m sad to think it’s a dying art CPM
  6. Quantify. If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course, there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.
  7. If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) — not just most of them.
  8. Occam’s Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.  ***Choosing the simpler does not mean choosing the most simplistic, just because it explains or supports your narrative. CPM
  9. Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle — an electron, say — in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result. 

Stand by your truths, but there is no need to stand on another human’s throat to prove that your truth should be theirs. I believe there is room in this world for lots of truth, many different beliefs, and certainly many varied opinions. But let’s remember to leave room for kindness.

Om Shanti

Cheryl