Book Review: Review – Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman

thinkingfast

BreakawayConsciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 14, 2016

Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman is an incisive, academic, cogent, and far-reaching piece of work that should be part of everyone’s library.

Nobel Prize winning Kahneman unleashes a foray into the domain of decision-making, psychology &  problem-solving unlike nothing ever seen within this discipline previously.  Kahneman is the individual responsible as to why the subject of Behavioral Economics has grown as fast as its grown for quite some time.

Kahneman meticulously tackles many thought-provoking aspects in psychology with scrupulous scientific rigor.  This book is the author’s magnum opus, without a doubt.

This relentless journey into the domain of the brain leaves no stone unturned, which is why Kahneman work has become unprecedented to economists and others alike.

The author parses his main idea into two sets.  The brain, according to Kahneman, splits things into a binary cognitive system.  This is what the author denotes as System 1, and System 2.

System 1 is automatic, emotive, unconscious, responsible for lightning-quick decisions, whilst System 2 is methodical, incisive, conscious, and orderly.

Each system plays its part in shaping the world in how we see it.  The book tackles nigh every little crevice available to the author in search for the understanding of the above-mentioned systems, its ramifications, and what we can learn do to learn from each.

However, in interest of full disclosure this is not the quickest book to read, even for avid readers unless one is perhaps hyper interested in the subject matter.  The book is also quite repetitive in a few spots.  Then again, some people learn better from rereading things a few times, and from different angles, so take that for whats it worth.

Still, the book is chock-full of intriguing data sets and experiments, and the way in which the concepts are discussed, although overly methodical in certain spots, is definitely worth the read.

Kahneman’s journey into the studies discussed attempts to leave no stone unturned in his bid to shed light into the ideas of the illusion of validity, narrow framing, planning fallacies, regression to the mean, the illusion of understanding, the endowment effect, and much, much more.

Ultimately the book seeks to show us how we can trust ourselves – our brain – better, and how to succeed in understanding the various facets that cognitive behavior goes through.   Coupled with that, Kahneman also makes it a point to give individuals practical ways in which to hone our mental skill and be able to use System 1 and System 2 in a way that benefits us most.

If you are an individual that is serious about the inner workings of the mind, especially in regards to decision making, the book – although lengthy – will keep you busy pondering many seams from which to draw wisdom from.

Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life

By: Zy Marquiez
January 12, 2016

[Editor’s Note]

A big thanks goes to my friend John for bringing this topic up.
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For the record, these were not created by me.  They are just being shown for individuals to be able to identify them in their daily lives.

What is a logical fallacy?

A logical fallacy is a flaw in reasoning. Strong arguments are void of logical fallacies, whilst arguments that are weak tend to use logical fallacies to appear stronger than they are. They’re like tricks or illusions of thought, and they’re often very sneakily used by politicians, media, and others to fool people. Below follow some of the more common fallacies.

Strawman
Misrepresenting Someone’s Argument To Make It Easier To Attack
By exaggerating, misrepresenting, or just completely fabricating someone’s argument, it’s much easier to prevent your own position as being reasonable, but this is kind of dishonest and serves to undermine honest rational debate.
Example: After will said we should put more money into health and education, Warren responded by saying he was surprised that Will hates our country so much that he wants to leave it defenseless by cutting military spending.

Slippery Slope
Asserting That If We Allow A to happen, then Z will consequently happen too, therefore A should not happen.
The problem with this reasoning is that it avoids engaging with the issue at hand, and instead shifts attention to extreme hypotheticals. Because no proof is presented to show that such extreme hypotheticals will in fact occur, this fallacy has the form of an appeal to emotion fallacy by leveraging fear. In effect the argument at hand is unfairly tainted by unsubstantiated conjecture.
Example: Colin Closet asserts that if we allow same-sex couples to marry, then the next thing we know we’ll be allowing people to marry their parents, their cars and even monkeys.

False Cause
Presuming that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.
Example
: Pointing to a fancy chart, a Senator shows how temperatures have been rising over the past few centuries, whilst at the same time the numbers of terrorist attacks have been increasing; thus global warming causes terrorism. [Don’t believe me? Look it up – an actual senator that said this.]

Ad Hominem
Attacking your opponent’s character or personal traits in an attempt to undermine their argument.
Example: After Sally presents an eloquent and compelling case for a more equitable taxation system, Sam asks the audience whether we should believe anything from a woman who isn’t married, was once arrested, and smells a bit weird.

Special Pleading
Moving the goalposts to create exceptions when a claim is shown to be false.
Example: Edward Johns claimed to be psychic, but when his ‘abilities’ were tested under proper scientific conditions, they magically disappeared. Edward explained this saying that one had to have faith in his abilities for them to work.

Loaded Question
Asking a question that has an assumption built into it so that it can’t be answered without appearing guilty.
Example: Grace and Helen were both romantically interested in Brad. One day, with Brad sitting within earshot, Grace asked in an inquisitive tone whether Helen was having any problems with a fungal infection.

The Gambler’s Fallacy
Believing that ‘runs’ occur to statistically independent phenomena such as roulette wheel spins.
Example: Red had come up six times in a row on the roulette wheel, so Greg knew that it was close to certain that black would be next up. Suffering an economic form of natural selection with this thinking, he soon lost all of his savings.

Bandwagon
Appealing to popularity or the fact that many people do something as an attempted form of validation.
Example: Shamus pointed a drunken finger at Sean and asked him to explain how so many people could believe in leprechauns if they’re only a silly old superstition. Sean, however, had had a few too many Guinness himself and fell off his chair.

Black-Or-White
Where two alternative states are presented as the only possibilities, when in fact more possibilities exist.
Example: Whilst rallying support for his plan to fundamentally undermine citizens’ rights, the Supreme Leader told the people they were either on his side, or on the side of the enemy. [Note: George Bush did this by the way…]

Begging The Questions
A circular argument in which the conclusion is included in the premise.
Example: The word of Zorbo the Great is flawless and perfect. We know this because it says so in The Great and Infallible Book of Zorbo’s Best and Most Truest Things that are Definitely True and Should Not Ever Be Questioned.

Appeal To Authority
Using the opinion or position of an authority figure, or institution of authority, in place of an actual argument.
Example: When an individual states that vaccines are safe just because doctors say so, even though countless studies can be cited to eviscerate the ‘safety’ argument.

Appeal To Nature
Making the argument that because something is ‘natural’ it is therefore valid, justified, inevitable, good, or ideal.
Example: The medicine man rolled into town on his bandwagon offering various natural remedies, such as very special plain water. He said that it was only natural that people should be wary of ‘artificial’ medicines such as antibiotics. The converse is also true, which could be in a way called Appeal To Technology/Science.

Composition / Division
Assuming that what’s true about one part of something has to be applied to all, or other, parts of it.
Example: Daniel was a precocious child and had a liking for logic. He reasoned that atoms are invisible, and that he was made of atoms and therefore invisible too. Unfortunately, despite his thinky skills, he lost the game of hide and go seek.

Anecdotal
Using personal experience or an isolated example instead of a valid argument.
Example: Jason said that that was all cool and everything, but his grandfather smoked, like, 30 cigarettes a day and lived until 97 – so don’t believe everything you read about meta analyses of sound studies showing proven causal relationships.

Appeal To Emotion
Manipulating an emotional response in place of a valid or compelling argument.
Example: Luke didn’t want to eat his sheep’s brains with chopped liver and brussels sprouts, but his father told him to think about the poor, starving children in a third world country who weren’t fortunate enough to have any food at all.

The Fallacy Fallacy
Presuming that because a claim has been poorly argued, or a fallacy has been made, that it is necessarily wrong.
Example: Recognizing that Amanda had committed a fallacy in arguing that we should eat healthy food because a nutritionist said it was popular, Alyse said we should therefore eat bacon double cheeseburgers every day.

Tu Quoque
Avoiding having to engage with criticism by turning it back on the accuser – answering criticism with criticism.
Example: The blue candidate accused the red candidate of committing the tu quoque fallacy. The red candidate responded by accusing the blue candidate of the same, after which ensued an hour of back and forth criticism with not much progress.

Personal Incredulity
Saying that because one finds something difficult to understand that it’s therefore not true.
Example: Kirk drew a picture of a fish and a human and with effusive disdain asked Richard if he really thought we were stupid enough to believe that a fish somehow turned into a human through just, like, random things happening over time.

Burden Of Proof
Saying that the burden of proof lies not with the person making the claim, but with someone else to disprove.
Examples: Bertrand declares that a teapot is, at this very moment, in orbit around the Sun between the Earth and Mars, and that because no one can prove him wrong his claim is therefore a valid one.

Ambiguity
Using double meanings or ambiguities of language to mislead or misrepresent the truth.
Example: When the judge asked the defendant why he hadn’t paid his parking fines, he said that he shouldn’t have to pay them because the sign said ‘Fine for parking here’ and so he naturally presumed that it would be fine to park there.

No True Scotsman
Making what could be called an appeal to purity as a way to dismiss relevant criticisms or flaws of an argument.
Example: Angus declares that Scotsmen do not put sugar on their porridge, to which Lachlan points out that he is a Scotsman and puts sugar on his porridge. Furious, like atrue Scot, Angus yells that no true Scotsman sugars his porridge.

Genetic
Judging something good or bad on the basis of where it comes from, or from whom it comes.
Example: Accused on the 6 o’clock news of corruption and taking bribes, the senator said that we should all be very wary of the things we hear in the media, because we all know how very unreliable the media can be.

The Texas Sharpshooter
Cherry-picking data clusters to suit an argument, or finding a pattern to fit a presumption.
Example: The makers of Sugarette Candy Drinks point to research showing that of the five countries where Sugarette drinks sell the most units, three of them are in the top ten healthiest countries on Earth, therefore Sugarette drinks are healthy.

Middle Ground
Saying that a compromise, or middle point, between two extremes is the truth.
Example: Holly said that vaccinations are safe, but her scientifically well-read friend Caleb said that this claim was untrue because there were dozens of studies proving otherwise. Their friend Alice offered a compromise that vaccinations are sometimes safe.

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Sources:

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/260210-sanders-doubles-down-climate-change-causes-terrorism
80+ Studies Outlining Some Of The Dangers Of Vaccinations
https://web.ics.purdue.edu

2016 Breakaway Goals

Fantasy

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”
– Anonymous

By: Zy Marquiez
January 1, 2016

After seeing a post from another fellow blogger [and am thankful for this person for doing it, because its prompted this very post], it occurred to me that although daily goals are a part of my life and have helped me greatly when employed, it hadn’t occurred to me to write my goals for 2016.

For myself, am of a mind that every day should be lived to the fullest extent. That might not always be possible, but if we keep that notion in the back of our mind it’s a lot easier to accomplish a lot more by gravitating towards that which drives us in life.

Some of these goals might seem simple, some of them overly complex. However, as mentioned in a previous blog called ‘What Is The Best Use Of Your Time‘, the average person spends 5 hours watching TV daily.

With the above fact in mind, it was found that:

“In an entire 168 hour work-week where the average person spends, 56 hours a week sleeping, and 40 hours a week working, that leaves one with 72 hours free. If one were to spend 35 hours a week viewing television, then that would leave 37 hours of free time. That’s nearly half of all of one’s available time spent watching television. That seems ludicrous, does it not?”

That’s a lot of free time that could be used doing something else besides watching tv.

On the flip side of that, my niche is reading. Reading, reading, reading and more reading. Reading things of many genres and about countless topics. Sprinkle some writing around that and still we got some reading. This is how assimilating so much information becomes simpler.

The other thing is that, at the back end of my life, the thought of having spent so much time doing something that brings almost nothing of real value would mean a life half wasted so to speak. That’s just not acceptable. We’re here to kick ass, take names, and blow the lids off the box of mediocrity. Anything else would just be selling my-self short.

In any case, here are the goals:

– Continue fostering the great relationships that have helped me grow as an individual.
– Meet new people, and learn as much as possible not only from them, but from the paths that they have chosen to walk, regardless of their reason.
– Be even more inquisitive than in the past
–  Follow my instincts all of the time, no matter how big or small the issue might be.
– Read 100 books, or 20,000 pages within books. Whatever comes first between those two. [This does not count pages read by articles/papers researched].  As an inquiring mind, am always looking for more ways to learn more so…
– A side goal to above is that 10 of the 100 books need to be philosophy books.
– Read 1500 articles health, science, finance, history, etc.
– Write at least 50 book reviews for the blog.  This is to help give back to others.
– Write 50 poems of any type. This one is mainly to keep promoting my personal creativity.
– Paint 50 paintings. This one am new at [and am incredibly thankful for Jon Rappoport for mentioning it quite often], but it’s still something that like writing and poetry, helps vault imagination forward. So onward we will go.
– Workout for minimum 30 minutes a day at least 5 times a week. Health is a very important aspect of my life, and slacking here would be highly detrimental.
– Take my time before carrying out all decisions in my life. This will be the most complex, but it will yield the greatest results.  It is also a very general goal, but it actually will couple to every part of my life.
– Lastly, continue to add content to the blog and grow the blog up to at least 500 regular readers.  Its been great being able to interact and see how much variety there is to be had within the interwebz blogosphere realm, so am looking forward to more.

Most of these goals revolve around helping others as others have helped me, as well as pushing myself beyond my current state of mind/health/life.

Its all about wanting more – doing more.

It’s about breaking away.

And since everything great at its most nascent stage begins with a choice, these are my choices.

What are your choices/goals for 2016?

Would love to hear them.

Good luck in 2016 and Happy New Years to you all.

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Sources:

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/average-american-watches-5-hours-tv-day-article-1.1711954
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/what-is-the-best-use-of-your-time/
https://thebreakaway.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/what-does-it-mean-to-breakaway/

Book Review: Words To The Wise – A Practical Guide To Esoteric Sciences by Manly P. Hall

wordstothewise

“Wherever a man desires to know, that is the place proper for his education; whenever he desires to know, that is the time proper for his instruction.”
– Socrates

BreakawayConsciousness
Zy Marquiez
December 29, 2015

In Words To The Wise, A Practical Guide To The Esoteric Sciences, Manly P. Hall gives a detailed examination of knowledge descending from the ancient mystery schools.

Hall delves into the finer strands of all that is metaphysics, religion and spirituality in a way that’s easy to comprehend for a novice, and yet sophisticated in depth for people that have interested in the subject for quite a while and are searching for more substantial information.

Beginning with the true and false paths to wisdom, Hall picks apart many of the aspects that can be confusing for people given how much information is out there. Keep in mind, the original version of this book was published in 1936, with the updated version revised in 1963.

That being said, the information is still quite pertinent given the unfortunately slow [spiritual] development of most of society at our current moment.

Hall speaks of the importance of learning from the ancient teachers – the upper echelons of ‘an unbroken metaphysical tradition’. Teachers such as, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Plutarch, Pythagoras, Proclus, and many many more. He even mentions some books which are vital to sift through and learn from that should be part of any student/researcher’s library.

Throughout the length of the book, Manly P. Hall talks about the importance to be able to hone in much of the misinformation/disinformation that is prevalent in this field, and he even gives thorough advice as to how to go about doing that.

Hall analyzes the seven requisites for a person of character, and thence goes into how to go about seeing what type of mystery schools are out there.

Ultimately, Hall goes into the importance for the individual to work on [spiritual] self-mastery above all. This notion is harpooned from countless angles and highly cautioned upon given the fact that the modern world religions, so called ascended masters, and even modern mystery schools, all attempt to tell you what to think, and not how to think. This is why Hall focuses so much on being discerning in this particular abstruse field.

Many great things have been said about this book, and for good reason. It offers valuable information that can save you a lot of precious time that can be used incisively elsewhere.

If you are familiar with Manly P. Hall’s work, then you know the realize the high quality of his information. And if you don’t, you really ought to take a gander at it. It will be well worth your time.

To finalize, will leave you all with a snippet of the author’s mentality:

“Philosophy elevates man to the level of truth, creating within him the capacity to sense and to realize, to visualize and to comprehend.”
– Manly P. Hall

What Is Dream-Building?

IM4

“Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?”
– Sun Tzu

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By: Zy Marquiez
December 5, 2015

This will be a cursory crashcourse into the notion called Dream Building.

Dreambuilding is essentially assimilating all ideas -where ever they come from – that spark your imagination/dreams and filing them somewhere. This can be carried out by reading books, jotting down notes from a myriad of places, taking/saving pictures, making videos, so on and so forth.   The UNIVERSE is the limit.

Why is this important? Because this file that should have everything you wish to achieve in the future will help create a more concrete path heading as you gravitate towards all of your goal/s.

Have seen dreambuilding help quite a few people over time. It has made a world of difference in making great changes for many individuals, and attaining goals that in the past seemed insurmountable.

In my case, there are two ways in which dream building ideas are saved. One is via computer, and the other one is on an actual folder. The latter helps make these dreams feel more tangible, at least for some people. In the end, each person is different and what works for one, might not necessarily work for another. Still, it’s important to make note of that which aids you best. For instance, some folks even use their phone due to their busy schedules or even a small notebook to file their dream building ideas; it’s up to you to decide.

It’s a rather simple concept, but it can have resounding results if used incisively and relentlessly.

When dream building is coupled with imagination and focused intent, the gears within people’s brain start spinning in varying and breathtaking results. This is especially awesome with kids especially, given how much of their lives they have ahead of themselves and how much they will benefit from such expansion of their minds.

Have you tried it?   Have you carried out something similar? If you have please let me know below.

Either way, Dream Building is an excellent option to keep your mind fresh and out of a vapid-like state that might stagnate your journey along life’s endless path.

Dreambuilding is the warp-drive of imagination. It will take you everywhere, and at unbelievable speeds. Yet, like a warp-drive, it only works when used.

As Einstein once said:
“Your Imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.”