Fundamental Thinking Error

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“Identification Is Reality” Is the Main Thinking Error


“If you don’t believe in the innate unreasonableness of human beings, just try raising children.” —Thomas Sowell


Book cover for "Planet Earth: Insane Asylum for the Universe"

“Identification Is Reality” Thinking Error

  • This thinking error is so common that it deserves its own page.
  • The error can be considered under the basic heading of an error in generalizing, or, more specifically, an error in overgeneralizing.
  • The error is found everywhere, but it is the favorite of the educated, the legal system, propaganda, news, and damning.
  • This same error causes the arrogance of science and the political elite.
  • It also causes nearly all of the problems that science creates for itself.

4 Steps to Make the Main Error

  1. In the area of examination or discussion, find one exact verbal match to your idea.
  2. Use this exact verbal match to cover the entire situation, event, or area of discussion.
  3. Focus on this verbal match as reality and ignore the actual events themselves and any influences on those events.
  4. Use the existence of this verbal match to deny any other point of view.

Example of the Main Error

  1. Chemical imbalance theory: find the fact that when someone is depressed that there is a corresponding effect in the chemical imbalance in their brain chemistry.
  2. Use this one fact to explain the depression ignoring all reality for this one verbal reality.
  3. Deny the influences of thinking, feeling, habit, personality, environment, stress, coping skills, problem-solving skills, relationship skills, support system, physical health, mental health, spiritual health, employment, family conflict, etc.
  4. Say anyone who disagrees with this pharmaceutical viewpoint is anti-science and anti-medicine.

Some Counters to this Error

  • The knowledge of a tree is not the tree.
  • The name of a person is not that person.
  • The identification of poverty is not the end of poverty.
  • The naming of food does not feed the hungry.
  • The measurement is not the measured.
  • The menu is not the meal.
  • The description is not the described.
  • The thought of an airplane is not an airplane.
  • Thinking of painting your house is not painting your house.
  • For more, please see semantic quotations.

Compare Main Error to General Semantics

  • General Semantics sees the “is” of identity as the underlying problem or main thinking error.

Compare Main Error to Reifying

  • Treating thoughts as things has been recognized as a problem by many as can be seen from the number of words to express this idea: concretize, hypostatize, objectify, reify, and thingify.

Compare Main Error to Thought-Things

  • This author speaks of reified thoughts as thought-things, as thoughts that are treated as things instead of as thoughts.
  • For more on this idea, read We’re All Insane! Second Edition.

  • Read and discover general semantics and the problem of knowing.

Fundamental Thinking Error