Thursday, 12 April 2007

There is effort needed to avoid being gulled

If we accept that as social animals, human beings are intuitive psychologists and philosophers, such that we are interested in the purposes, behaviours and meanings of others, then we must regard ourselves as behavioural and social scientists. Our interest in 'gullibility' is therefore grounded in our desire to learn and understand more about the human condition. Gregory Bateson (1904-1980) pictured above, in the collection of his key works Steps to an Ecology of Mind offers the following piece of advice.

"The would-be behavioral scientist who knows nothing of the 3000 years of careful philosophic and humanistic thought about man - who cannot define either entropy or sacrement - had better hold his peace rather than add to the existing jungle of half-baked hypotheses"

Gregory Bateson spent time at the Esalen Institute California with Richard Tarnas who wrote The Passion of the Western Mind - which is an ideal way of checking out the last 3000 years in the way that Bateson suggests.

The suggestion is, that by putting effort into learning about how our minds work and how we make sense of our worlds, we can set off to a better understanding of the notion of gullibility and its potentially adverse consquences.

I hope I haven't just added to the jungle!

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