Deepening Our Generalizations

I wrote this a month ago, but because of our site being down, I hadn’t gotten around to posting it yet. ~Nathan

Logical illogical road sign

It is the generalization logical fallacy (logical deception) to say such things as “have faith”, “be loving”, “remain hopeful”, “let it go”, and “be mindful” when they aren’t first placed within a logical context and framework that defines their meaning, as they are general concepts that can mean anything the listener wants them to. Such generalizations may be catchy slogans and great taglines to unite people together, and they are definitely a proven tool used by sophisticated manipulators, but they can’t accomplish much of anything practical either, unless it is for the practical benefit of the manipulators employing deceptive tactics. Unless properly defined, generalizations can mean ten different things to ten different people, which is why they are able unite people together so easily, because people are each connecting their personal understanding and framework to the superficial tagline; they’re uniting via the superficial generalization, rather than from the possible meaning behind it.

A generalization as an idea is often too general to be useful in a practical way, thus it is important to deepen generalizations when we’re presented with them.  It takes asking a myriad of questions, over a substantial amount of time, to begin to answer such things as “what is this concept built upon,” “what related concepts are connected to it,” and “what does this concept practically entail?” Additionally, we need to understand why it is beneficial, the reasoning underlying the concepts, and we still need to remove the contradictions between the various answers when they arise. Finally, we need to determine the practical steps necessary to act upon them, so that we can fully embody our knowledge and understanding in a meaningful and harmonious way.

We all generalize when speaking (I just generalized, yes?), there is nothing wrong with it, but it’s not very helpful if we’re using it to give advice to another, nor when we are in need of taking practical and actionable steps towards implementing our vision. When we explore superficial concepts, through philosophizing, asking questions, and observing our own relationship to them, we increase our knowledge and understanding of them, which causes us to become more intimate with them.  As a result of our new-found intimacy with a general concept, we are able to finally act upon it in a more tangible, nurturing way that betters humanity. Then it’s no longer a vague concept, but a deep, tangible, and logical idea that contains profound meaning—and real possibilities.

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