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How Not To Avoid Coming To Conclusions

I have a Facebook friend (yes another one!) who questions the validity of your mind.

Not sure how he does that without thinking.

But he seems to think he does!

He published an interesting post about the futility of coming to conclusions. Curiosity and conclusions are opposites and coming to the latter does nothing but closes doors.

Here is what he wrote in full:

Curiosity and Conclusions are opposites.

Curiosity allows us to wonder.

Conclusions fool us to think we know.

Curiosity gets us out of our head and into reality.

Conclusions keep us in our head and in concepts of reality.

Curiosity keeps us deeply interested in people and things.

Conclusions keep us from being interested.

Curiosity allows us to explore what we may disagree with.

Conclusions set us up to reject what we disagree with.

Curiosity opens our eyes.

Conclusions are eyes that are already closed.

Curiosity expands us and our views.

Conclusions contract us and our views.

Maybe you’re thinking the same thing I did when I read this.

Isn’t every one of these statements a conclusion he’s come to about how all of this works?

How can you believe curiosity leads you to wonder, if you haven’t come to the conclusion that it does?

Or believe conclusions fool you and make you think you know?

Or any of these other statements?

Aren’t they ALL conclusions?

Of course this all sounds quite wonderful.

To keep an open mind and forever hold all your conclusions at bay.

The truth is you come to conclusions all the time. You couldn’t express a single thought unless you had concluded what you are expressing.

But my friend is right about one of the conclusions he’s come to.

Conclusions ARE concepts about reality.

They are not reality itself.

But he’s wrong to think you can interact with reality without ever actually concluding anything about it.

Perceptions themselves are conclusions as well.

The moment you move to “get out of your head and into reality,” you are concluding that you can.

You are concluding that the reality you percieve before you is really actually there.

Your mind is not your enemy. It is your tool for knowing reality as it actually is.

The only way you can avoid coming to conclusions is to cease be conscious at all.

Of course if you do much reading in eastern thought, you’ll recognize that’s really the ultimate goal.

You need to “get off the wheel” of concsciousness.

To blend into the totally “other” and become “one” with it.

Your separate existence is only illusion.

Salvation is to cease to be an individual.

I don’t know about you but that’s not a conclusion I’m interested in coming to anytime soon!

Now of course I can qualify what I’ve said by admitting the truth behind my friend’s confusing conclusions. What he’s really pointing out is your need for epistimological humility.

It is totally possible a conclusion you’ve come to is mistaken after all.

You are finite in your understanding.

So you need to maintain your beliefs in a way that holds them open to correction.

You can still remain curious, while believing that you’re right.

What gives you the right to believe you’re right, is you see no reason to think you’re wrong.

The answer to this very human state is not to avoid coming to conclusions at all.

It is, as my friend says, to remain open minded and curious all the while.

You don’t have to come to the conclusion you can never come to conclusions, to acknowledge your conclusions are provionary.

That’s just being human.

Nothing wrong with that.

But that is a far cry from being suspicious that your mind is capable of coming to correct conclusions at all.

That you should avoid conclusions at all cost.

That they will keep you far away from reality.

You will never avoid coming to conclusions no matter how hard you try.

But you don’t really need to.

You can conclude that with absolute certainty!

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