Independent thinking, part III

“You don’t get to choose not to pay a price, you only get to choose which price you pay” — Jordan B. Peterson

I disagree with Dr. Peterson. Peterson is now a famous, contemporary clinical Psychologist who became an internet/Youtube sensation for speaking out against political correctness and the collapse of truth. Because of that, Dr. Peterson is currently in voluntary rehab for addiction to anti-anxiety medication.  I don’t think he chose that price to pay for his rapid rise to fame and fortune.

What is going on

My position is that we don’t really, get to choose the “price we pay”.  Choice (free will and our specific life) is part illusion and part reality. In other words, we’ve really no choice at all. Certainly, given complete knowledge of all that is deterministic, we’d come to understand that choice is illusory.  There are simply too many unknown variables to say that we’ve freely chosen anything. However, the more knowledge one has the freer one becomes, and more choices become visible.

At some point though, the complexity becomes overwhelming. Which is the reason why we don’t know why we do what we do. The price we pay for more completely knowing is a nervous breakdown, or addiction. Therefore one gives up, or in. It’s easier to let someone else decide.  This can be “seen” over and over again throughout recorded history. (see Erich Fromm’s Escape From Freedom.) In everyday life, we turn to experts and specialists, someone “in authority” to solve problems.

Independent thinking

I think what we do when we think “independently” (aside from dreams) is accrue information and then synthesize that, called “synthesis-analysis”. When coupled with “elaborate-processing” you get what I’m calling “independent thinking”. Rather than come up with our own theory from scratch (about what is true), we elaborately analyze and organize others’ works – and work from there.

synthesis-analysis coupled with elaborate-processing
my independent thinking

The above picture is a part of my process of “independent thinking”, but really taking theories from five different individuals regarding why people do what they do, i.e. behave/act, and synthesize them into my “own” theory.

No way could I have come up with this idea/theory independently, say – in a beach chair looking at the ocean …

sitting on a log by a fire …s1

or naked on a bench – “day dreaming”.



My thoughts and theory required prior information from others.

What I’m getting at

What am I getting at? If a theory has validity, it must, must, be able to accommodate other valid theories. And then, and only then, do we come closer to “what the hell is going on.”

My position is that one’s personality interacts with one’s environment, geography, and social milieu to determine how one behaves and acts. And that one’s personality is at the whim of forces that really don’t give a hoot about what happens to you, as an individual.

Who Cares?

If you’re lucky maybe your mother does. If your extremely lucky your father does, too. Beyond that, your tribe, or your extended family. To some extent their fate, the tribe’s, depends upon you. Because of that, you matter. Then again, you are replaceable; “next man (or woman) up” so the saying goes.

What are you going to do?

What are you going to do? Or as my psych-girl loves to say with her Buddha smile, “It’s up to you.” Which drives me nuts, to drink, in fact – which is, of course, up to me.

Who’s right?

Who’s right? Who decides? Writing is thinking, right?

I attempted to explain my “theory of everything” recently (April 2019) here:  

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