[INFP] Gullibility and becoming an independent thinker?

Gullibility and becoming an independent thinker?

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This is a discussion on Gullibility and becoming an independent thinker? within the INFP Forum - The Idealists forums, part of the NF's Temperament Forum- The Dreamers category; Growing up, I've always expected the best out of others, completely trusting everything anyone said. Of course, as I got ...

  1. #1
    Unknown Personality

    Gullibility and becoming an independent thinker?

    Growing up, I've always expected the best out of others, completely trusting everything anyone said. Of course, as I got into adolescence, I started questioning authority figures, the media, and what other people say; however, I still find myself being very gullible a lot of the time.. My goal is to become a completely independent thinking, which I am struggling with a lot, as I'm quite naturally a dependent person (whether it be for ideas, opinions, etc).

    I know many of you guys are very independent thinkers, and I was just wondering how you got there and if you ever struggled getting there.

    I just hate the thought of being deceived by others, and never want it to happen to me ever again.
    palito34, refugee, AlexanderHoff123 and 1 others thanked this post.

  2. #2
    INFP - The Idealists

    I used to believe everything everyone said to me -- life is a lot more fun like that :) But at some point, you're right, it's important to grow up and form a mind of your own.

    Here's something that might help: think of 6 values that matter most to you. They can be obscure (like compassion or imagination) or simple (like humor). Then spend some time writing about each. Why are they important to you? Do you live your life according to those values? If so, yay! If not, why? How can you change to be more true to your values?

    In short, what thoughts bring peace to your heart? That's what you should live by, and don't let anyone tell you differently :)

  3. #3
    INFP - The Idealists

    I have never connected the two like that. It causes me more pain to close myself off to the potential goodness in someone than the pain (which can be significant) of being betrayed or deceived.

    Lao Tzu # 49 in the Witter Bynner translation (please forgive Bynner's gender specific pronouns, which are likely not present in the original). Nevertheless, the Witter Bynner translation is the version that speaks to me the most.

    A sound man's heart is not shut within itself
    But is open to other people's hearts:
    I find good people good,
    And I find bad people good
    If l am good enough;
    I trust men of their word,
    And I trust liars
    If I am true enough;
    I feel the heartbeats of others
    Above my own
    If I am enough of a father,
    Enough of a son.

    This is how I try to live. If somebody burns me, I learn from that and while I might forgive them for what they did, I also will not let them do it again. But I refuse to change my basic nature from trusting to not trusting. I just can't not trust.

  4. #4
    INFP - The Idealists

    Hmm, I'm fine with being 'gullible,' but I do think myself to be an independant thinker.
    I rarely argue or contradict others outwardly because I don't want to cause conflict, but internally I'll think "Well, I see how he/she thinks that, but I think that..."
    For me, my gullibleness links to the fact that I see the best in everyone. I want to think that everyone is honest and kind, and I do believe that everyone is on some level. As such some people have taken advantage of me in the past, but I generally become aware of it and break free of the pattern when I see fit.
    Another area is romance. I have no idea when people are hitting on me. It's kind of hilarious when I look back on it, because I smack my head and think "DUH!"

  5. #5
    INTJ - The Scientists

    Nonbeliever in what I see and hear mostly, so where does that leave me? Independent, look for whats missing, if it does'nt make sense, its because there is no sense in it, thats my two cents bit.

  6. #6
    INFP - The Idealists

    Critical thinking can be a process. I generally don't take anything on face value unless it comes from a source that I trust. For example if you're watching the news, you have to keep in mind that they have to cram an entire story into a small amount of time, they have to make it interesting and they have to not piss off their boss (who is often Rupert Murdoch with US news stations). That means that if there's something going on in the world that I want to know about, I'm going to go to several sources to paint a more accurate picture. The best way to think critically is to do your research, don't take things at face value unless you trust the source, and keep an open mind. In interpersonal relationships if someone is taking advantage of your trust then they're an asshole, nuff said.

  7. #7
    Unknown Personality

    I don't know how old you are, but it's not just an INFP thing to be gullible during your teen/younger years. Almost everybody becomes a lot less gullible as they age.

  8. #8

    Some I believe tend to take originality to be a sign of independent thinking, but I think what it actually is rather than an independence from others ideas is an ability to critically assess things. Which requires the ability to comprehend things first and then to acknowledge it's limitations. The ability for such requires that we don't get too attached to certain rules of thinking but try to adapt to feedback from what information is available.
    The below piece also gives emphasis to a materialist outlook in which one necessarily directs their attention to the source of knowledge, the empirical/natural world, rather than prioritize the concepts which are used to probe it.
    Yes, but do we really not encounter at every step what appears to be the opposite situation—people who “know” but who are unable to “think creatively (independently)”? We do encounter such people, and much more often than it may seem to us. But in such cases it would be more correct to say that here there is no trace of real knowledge, but rather something else that is called “knowledge” only through misunderstanding. For it is impossible to “know” in general; it is possible only to know something in particular, this or that object, and truly knowing an object means being able to handle and understand it independently. But “thinking” is nothing other than the ability to deal with each object intelligently—that is, in accordance with its own nature and not in conformity with one’s fantasies about it. Thinking is really functioning knowledge.

    And when people say (and they say it quite often) that someone possesses knowledge but is unable to “apply” this knowledge to reality, they are making an essentially quite absurd statement, half of which completely cancels out the other half. How can anyone know an object—and be unable to relate this knowledge (knowledge of the object!) to the object?!

    In actual fact, this paradoxical situation arises where a person does not really know an object, but knows something else. What? Phrases about the object. Words, terms, formulas, signs, symbols, and stable combinations thereof deposited in science, mastered (memorized) in place of knowledge of the object—as a special object that exists above and outside reality, as a special world of ideal, abstract, phantom “objects.”

    It is here that an illusion of knowledge arises, followed by the insoluble task of relating this illusory knowledge to reality, to life, of which the person knows nothing apart from what has already been expressed in meaninglessly memorized words, formulas, and “rules,” in “semiotic constructs.” And when he tries to connect this illusory, purely formally mastered “knowledge” with life, with reality, he is unable to come up with anything of value for either knowledge or life.
    A person who does not know how to think independently does not have mastery of language; rather, language has mastery of him, of his consciousness. His thinking (his “inner speech”) remains in a permanent state of slavish dependence on verbal stereotypes, on meaninglessly memorized semiotic constructs, on “rules,” stipulations, instructions, prompts, and so on—and precisely here lies the secret of the shaping of the dogmatic mind, of dogmatic thinking—a very bad kind of thinking. Dogmatism does not necessarily find expression in the vacuous repetition of the same phrases; it is sometimes marked by a very refined linguistic dexterity, by the ability to force life into the procrustean bed of dead formulas. And there are real artistes at this business. But dogmatism remains dogmatism in essence; it flourishes wherever a set formula obscures living reality in its development, in its tense dialectic.
    This is only giving a new twist to the old favourite ideological method, also known as the a priori method, which consists in ascertaining the properties of an object, by logical deduction from the concept of the object, instead of from the object itself. First the concept of the object is fabricated from the object; then the spit is turned round, and the object is measured by its reflexion, the concept. The object is then to conform to the concept, not the concept to the object. With Herr Dühring the simplest elements, the ultimate abstractions he can reach, do service for the concept, which does not alter matters; these simplest elements are at best of a purely conceptual nature. The philosophy of reality, therefore, proves here again to be pure ideology, the deduction of reality not from itself but from a concept.

    And when such an ideologist constructs morality and law from the concept, or the so-called simplest elements of “society”, instead of from the real social relations of the people round him, what material is then available for this construction? Material clearly of two kinds: first, the meagre residue of real content which may possibly survive in the abstractions from which he starts and, secondly, the content which our ideologist once more introduces from his own consciousness. And what does he find in his consciousness? For the most part, moral and juridical notions which are a more or less accurate expression (positive or negative, corroborative or antagonistic) of the social and political relations amidst which he lives; perhaps also ideas drawn from the literature on the subject; and, as a final possibility, some personal idiosyncrasies. Our ideologist may turn and twist as he likes, but the historical reality which he cast out at the door comes in again at the window, and while he thinks he is framing a doctrine of morals and law for all times and for all worlds, he is in fact only fashioning an image of the conservative or revolutionary tendencies of his day — an image which is distorted because it has been torn from its real basis and, like a reflection in a concave mirror, is standing on its head.
    Basically, this is what happens when people become unconsciously trapped by the alienating nature of language itself and lose sight that language describes and reflects reality symbolically.
    What is a Subject? | Philosophical Explorations
    A language cannot be created at will; a context of interpretation has to exist prior to the creation of any language. This implies that there is a dimensional shift, a gap between reality and language. Neither language nor the subject emerges continuously from reality; each comes into existence as a discontinuity. Once it exists, it transforms the reality within which it exists forever, because it creates new systems of signification which are themselves real. The human being is random, contingent, and nevertheless absolute. It bridges the gap between the symbolic order and the real: As ego it is an object of language, and at the same time it is the subject that speaks, the animal capable of language, and therefore caught up in a process of meaning-making. Language creates reality, but it is also a symbolic space that tries to mirror and describe “real” reality, that which lies outside the human mind. This duplication causes the confusion that has haunted our thinking for millennia, and has caused all kinds of philosophical errors.
    the lesson of Engels' Anti-Duhring: the fact that we understand reality through language does not mean that reality is made by language.
    Such a view of materialism also understands 'reality" to be a historically objective process: reality exists outside the consciousness of humans — ideas do not have an autonomous existence and thus reality is not merely a matter of desire of the body, or the operation of language (or, on the other hand, of the "thingness" of things). This does not mean that reality, as we have access to it, as we make sense of it, is not mediated by signifying practices. But the empirical fact that reality is mediated by language in no way means, as Engels and others have argued, that it is produced by language. Social relations and practices are, in other words, prior to signification and are objective.
    By my sympathies to Marxism I might be crudely labelled a dogmatist based on the view of it's degeneration in the USSR and it's relation to the western world with the cold war. Although I would say that although not without limitation and issue, certainly has something valuable to say which many merely dismiss rather than consider properly for themselves.
    I might also be considered someone who merely uses the ideas of others, to which I believe most ideas and present understanding is a historical development and the only strictly original thinkers are those who are at the frontier of some area of understanding but even they rely on a context of debate and a predicament in need of solving within some larger project.
    It is in fact better to try and appropriate the thoughts of others and go through the old debates rather than the typical route of replaying what has already been resolved historically. There can push one's self to the edges of understanding in a subject where you can consciously understand the reasons for not believing in one thing but believing in another, to be self conscious as to why rather than left to arbitrariness.

  9. #9

    Well, I got there because I realized I was lying to myself about a lot of things. I may often say I blame society for this or that, but I was the one who had originally bought into it.

    Of course, once this chain is broken, going back is dang near impossible. It's like I'm addicted to thinking at times, and often have to try to turn it off to function in certain parts of this world. So there's that to consider.
    burningsoul, UberY0shi and twirler thanked this post.

  10. #10

    Well, the easiest way to start becoming a more independent thinker is to look for information contrary to what you already agree with. Identify the arguments you disagree with and then, you can start working on the process of analyzing what parts of those contrary arguments bother you the most. Then you could discuss some of your views and opposing views and whatnot with other people. After you've got a bit of a collection of arguments and viewpoints, looking for the underlying principles and values that construct those arguments gets into the foundation of those lines of thought. That's where you can start to examine your own belief systems and whether or not they align with what you hold to be true and valuable.
    neutralchaotic thanked this post.


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