Thursday, July 30, 2009


How you react to things often depends on your "mindset."

"What is 'mindset?'" I hear you asking.

Let me illustrate.

(These work best when used on someone else.)

Let's say I'm talking to Bob, a tall, blond, blue-eyed, male of average height and intelligence.

I ask Bob: "Bob, what does P-O-K-E spell?"

Bob answers, "Poke."

"Right. Now what does J-O-K-E spell?"

Bob says, "Joke."

"Yesss!" I exclaim. "Now, what's the white of an egg called?"

Nine times out of ten, Bob will answer, "Yoke."

To which I will reply, "No, that's the yellow part."


Here's another you've heard before.

"Bob, a plane crashes right on the border of Canada and The United States, with debris equally spread on each side of the border. Where do they bury the survivors?"

Bob thinks a moment, then chooses one country or the other.

" don't bury survivors."


Here's one more.

"Bob, is the second day of the week pronounced, Tewsday or Tyewsday?"

Bob answers, "Tewsday."

'No, Bob, the second day of the week is pronounced 'Monday."


What's the point?

We all approach things in life with a certain mindset, and that mindset affects our conclusions.

The other day I posted a picture of Barack Obama on my blog, followed by a series of domestic policies that were enacted by Adolf Hitler.

I made no reference to President BO at all in my post. None.

Yet the juxtaposition of the picture with the text established a particular mindset in the head of the reader and an association was made between Adolf Hitler and Barack Obama.

Thus some commenters jumped on the "President BO is like Hitler!" bandwagon, while others adopted the "How dare you compare President BO with Hitler?" attitude.

This exhibits how complex mindsets can lead to different conclusions from a given set of facts.

If you approached the post with a "conservative" mindset, you quite easily drew the conclusion that President BO and Adolf Hitler had some political agendas in common.

If you approached the post with a "liberal" mindset, you might well have been offended by the comparison of President BO with Adolf Hitler.

Knowing your own mindset is crucial to deeply understanding why you believe as you do.

It is also important in using "straight-line" logic to think through an issue.

"Straight-line" logic is the opposite of "circular" logic and the antithesis of "random" or "scattered" logic.

"Straight-line" logic is the most useful for arriving at a correct conclusion about an issue.

Trouble is, if the same issue is viewed from two different mindsets, even though "straight-line" logic is used, different conclusions can be drawn.

That is why so many people who see the same set of facts draw different conclusions from them.

Now, to be sure, many people of the "liberal" mindset do not use "straight-line" logic, but jump from one topic to another to "prove" a particular point.

Examples might be Chris Matthews, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank or Chris Dodd.

There are some very clear thinking liberals who think in a "straight line," but whose conclusions are affected by their mindset.

An Example might be a person like the commenter who calls himself Matt Rose.

It's sort of like the difference between traveling due North from Miami and due North from San Francisco. You may be going in a straight line, but you will reach different destinations.

Here's the point.

In order to have effective discourse and to properly resolve issues, each person involved needs to understand the other's mind-set, as well as whether he/she thinks in a "straight line."

He/she must also understand his/her own.

Then, one must try to understand what it would take to change both the other's mind-set, and what it would take to change one's own.

Often our mindsets are developed as the result of what we have been taught or what we have been exposed to in our formative years.

Sometimes our mindsets are determined by our life-experiences, which might or might not reflect what is true.

A person raised in hoodlum ridden sections of Chicago will have a very different mindset from one who is raised in the quiet country setting of a small mid-western or southern town.

So, what is your mindset?

Are you aware of how it affects your conclusions about the political climate of America today?

Are you as open minded as a kitchen strainer or as closed minded as a sprung bear trap?

Why not set your mind to examining your own mindset.

Then, take another look at President BO.


shoprat said...

And leftists are incapable of even conceiving of a conflict that is not rooted in the class struggle which is why they thoroughly misunderstand the idea of Jihad etc. Same problem exactly.

Z said...

shoprat, interesting point.

My mindset's straight and narrow, no doubt about it; but I DO try to understand the liberal point of view.
I just so frequently find it juvenile, utopian and's hard to get past that. And, mostly, I don't WANT to!

Bryan said...

"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:2.)

Many are need of renewing!

cary said...

Good essay, Joe.

Very good and salient point, Bryan!

shoprat, as usual, is also spot on.

(guess where my mindset is? heh heh heh!)

Dan said...

I read this the other day and it has been rolling around in my head for a few days, even the way you wrote it, kinda point by point. Before reading it I had been thinking a lot about "mind-set" and had determined that where you start will determine where you end. This post did a good job of affirming and solidifying my thoughts. And... all that to say, good job and thanks.