16
May 11

Hasty Generalization

Here is another fallacy that can show up easily in everyday life.

When one commits the Hasty Generalization fallacy, one attempts to use inductive logic with too small a sample size.

What in the world does that mean? Well, I am glad that you asked.

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09
May 11

Sunshine

A few days ago, I sat down to meditate. Before I began, I thought about the 5 guidelines for my attitude while meditating.

Don’t expect, force, cling, or reject anything. And don’t think while you are at it.

I was meditating outside that day. Half way through my 10 minute session, the sun came out from behind the clouds. My eyes were closed, but I saw the sunlight through my eyelids. Most importantly, I felt the warmth of the sun on my face.

I thought about how nice the sun felt. Immediately after that feeling, I wished that it would stay like that for the rest of my meditation time.

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02
May 11

We Don’t Read That Trash

I came across a great example of a logical fallacy over at the good ol’ wikipedia:

We don’t read that trash. People who read that trash don’t appreciate real literature. Therefore, we appreciate real literature.

Usually, examples of logical reasoning do not show how they can be applied to everyday life.

  1. All men are mortal
  2. Socrates is a man
  3. Therefore, Socrates is mortal

Or:

  1. No fish are dogs
  2. No dogs can fly
  3. Therefore, all fish can fly

I can imagine someone new to the formal study of logic coming across this and thinking to themselves that syllogisms are only good for categorizing animal abilities or making completely obvious statements.

But that first example seems applicable to real life. How many times have you heard people try to separate themselves from one group in order to belong to some other group?


25
Apr 11

Meditation Goals: Three Categories

I am still trying to answer that question I asked a month ago: What are some ways that you can measure progress with meditation?

So far, I have my overall goal: Remove as much delusion as I can by studying my mental activities.

I also have a few guidelines to follow in order to have the right attitude while meditating:

  1. Don’t expect anything.
  2. Don’t force anything.
  3. Don’t cling to anything.
  4. Don’t reject anything.
  5. Don’t think.

But my overall goal is too abstract for practical measurements. And while my attitudinal guidelines can be measured, trying to achieve them alone will not get me to my end goal.

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18
Apr 11

Your Attitude While Meditating

I am sticking with Mindfulness in Plain English this week.

We are on Chapter 4, if you are following along at home. From what I can tell, the website contains all the information the book has, but there are some formatting problems and misspellings.

I suggest that you buy the book. I have read a lot of meditation/mindfulness books. This one is the best I have come across. And if you are interested in this blog, you will be interested in the book.

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11
Apr 11

A Rational Goal from Mindfulness in Plain English

For the past 4 weeks, I have been mediating once a day. At the end of that post, I asked if there are ways to measure progress within meditation.

In order to see progress, I need to know what I am progressing towards. This means that I need some sort of goal or set of goals that I am trying to achieve with meditating.

At first, I thought that having goals with meditating was antithetical to the mindfulness philosophy. But as I said in that previous post, during meditation, thoughts need to be let go. But having a goal in practicing meditation in general is all right.

Henepola Gunaratana says something similar in Mindfulness in Plain English:

“As meditators, we all must have a goal, for if we do not have a goal, we will simply be groping in the dark blindly following somebody’s instructions on meditation.”

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04
Apr 11

Consistent Frameworks of Thought

I try to base my decisions on consistent frameworks of thought.

In other words, when I am faced with a choice, I immediately try to find similarities between my current situation and previous situations. Then, I try to recall if there were rules that governed my choices in the previous situations. If there were, I try to apply the same rules to the current situation. I make my choice based off the outcome of those rules.

But this methodology fails quite often. Various reasons apply:

  • I completely forget to use the method.
  • I forget about situations that are similar to the one that I am in.
  • I misinterpret rules I previously used.
  • I apply rules to the current situation differently than when I applied them previously.

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28
Mar 11

Persisting in Delusion

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

- Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World

What delusions do you persist within?

Can’t come up with any? Are you just avoiding having to face an unsatisfying reality?

Here are some undeniable truths that may help you identify your own delusions:

  • You treat everyone you know differently.
  • You reach different conclusions based on what mood you are in.
  • You look for things that confirm your own preconceived notions.
  • You think that you can read people’s minds.

Try to think of concrete examples of how the above statements apply to how you think in everyday life.

As I have said before, you can become obsessed with questioning your reality.

You can let this way of thinking immobilize you.

Or you can let this way of thinking enlighten you. Everyone persists in delusion. You will never reach a fundamentally true understanding of reality.

But you know that these delusions exist. You know that you can identify them. You know that you can respond to them. And remove them.

You have rational thought. Apply it.


21
Mar 11

Quantifying Mindfulness Redux

I have been meditating for 5 minutes a day for the past 7 days.

I sit in a private location. My eyes are closed. I have a 5 minute countdown timer set on my phone.

I attempt to think about what I am experiencing through my senses.

After the 5 minutes are up, my timer goes off and write down what I thought about and how I am feeling after the meditation session.

The main purpose of these sessions has been to practice mindfulness. Nothing else. Keeping track of the thoughts that I had during the process is a completely peripheral goal.

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14
Mar 11

The Pomodoro Technique

Tomato

It has been three weeks since I quit tracking everything I did.

At the end of that post, I mentioned that I would try out a few methods of tracking the hours that I work.

I did. And the one that has been working really well is called The Pomodoro Technique (copyright, trademark, etc.).

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