Thursday, 19 April 2007

'Dare to Know' A Guiding Maxim?

We wonder if you agree with our suggestion that The Gullible abdicate responsibility for important aspects of their knowledge to others?

Several great thinkers have approached this issue. Rene Descartes insisted on the diligent application of Doubt as an essential critical tool that could be used to test claims to knowledge. Don't you think it is interesting to observe that in everyday situations we have social conventions that mean 'doubting' somebody's view of information is regarded as bad manners? This key source of social embarassment is something that 'gullers extrordinaire', & con people the world over rely on to get their way. You can hear their astonishment should you dare to ask what they mean, or for proof of their claims. This social 'convention' is also refered to by Chris Argryis when he talks about issues becoming 'undiscussable' in the workplace, and worse still the fact that they are undsicussable is undiscussable too. We suggest that some of the worst executives deploy this technique to prevent questioning of dubious decisions and policies.

Dare to Know (sapere aude) was the maxim of Immanuel Kant. An exortation to have confidence in your own understanding. Eric Fromm makes the observation that a key human weakness is falling in with people (leaders of cults, cliques etc) that 'appear to have the answers' Why is it? you have to ask, have they got the answers to things that the rest of us couldn't possibly uncover?

May we encourage you NOT to take our word for it, and perhaps discover what these thinkers have to say in your own way!

If you don't know who's who above - why not do a bit of original research?

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