Friday, November 26, 2010

The rational thinker versus the paranoid

The rational thinker versus the paranoid

Presented with the same evidence for a mystery, the rational thinker and the paranoid respond very differently.

The rational thinker

The paranoid

1. Checks the evidence carefully and doesn’t rely on uncertain evidence

1. Grabs onto a few pieces of evidence and defends them inflexibly.

2. Doesn’t care which evidence he must let go.

2. Seemingly irrationally seizes onto something and won’t let go.

3. Seeks a realistic answer in simple and familiar processes.

3. Invokes complex, unrealistic scenarios controlled by powerful forces behind the scenes.

4. Accepts only what he can critically assess (falsifiable ideas).

4. Deals in explanations that can never be critically assessed (unfalsifiable theories).

5. Is willing to live with unresolved explanations for long periods.

5. Demands quick, even immediate explanations.

6. Accepts the roles of chance and human foibles.

6. Invents scenarios when nothing ever goes wrong.

7. Uses same rational approach in the rest of his life.

7. Approaches many other “events” in the same irrational, paranoid way. (i.e., both people are consistent across their lives.)

8. Finds empowering explanations.

8. Feels powerless before these huge forces (victims).

9. Accepts all demonstrated evidence.

9. Will not face evidence that destroys his theory.

10. Is willing to live with some fraction of unexplained or contradictory evidence.

10. Insists on fitting everything into his explanation, often by explaining difficult items as further evidence of conspiracy.

11. Tries to keep everything in proportion.

11. Often seizes single pieces of evidence and blows them out of proportion.

12. Will change ideas a new evidence emerges.

12. Sticks to preconceived notion regardless of new evidence.

13. Open, flexible, empowered, strong.

13. Preconceived, rigid, victimlike, cowardly.