Logic Before Grammar: Putting the Cart Before the Horse

Have you ever been in a discussion where you felt like you just weren’t on the same page, and that no matter how much information you shared, their mind was already made up?  This is a common problem in today’s world, where the school systems have taught children for generations to think critically with the Classical Trivium, which is the wrong order for utilizing the Trivium method of critical thinking.  Where it should be Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, it has been placed into the order of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric; in the case of the Trivium, the order really does matter.

It is important to give some definitions to terms we will be using in this article, to ensure that we’re on the same page, most definitions and etymology come from Google search.

The next definition is for educate, which means “give (someone) training in or information on a particular subject.” It comes from the Latin “educat” and “educere”, and means “led out” and to “lead out”.

fallacy-etymologyFallacy, which comes from the root Latin word “fallere” and “fallax”, which means “deceive” or “deceiving”.

Ignorant comes from the English root of “ignore”, therefore an ignorant person would be someone who is purposefully ignoring relevant data and information.

Governor comes from the Latin root, gubenare, which means to “steer, drive, pilot, direct, manage, conduct, guide, control, and govern.”

A Negative feedback loop “occurs when some function of the output of a system, process, or mechanism is fed back in a manner that tends to reduce the fluctuations in the output, whether caused by changes in the input or by other disturbances.”  In this way, a negative feedback loop is a governor meant to limit disturbances and prevent specific types of change.

Onus or Burden of Proof, is the “duty placed upon a party to prove or disprove a disputed fact, or it can define which party bears this burden” to prove it as a fact.  It is up to the person making the claim to prove that claim, it is not up to the person listening to the claim to disprove it.  The Onus or Burden of Proof logical fallacy is where the person making the claim places the burden of proof on the listener of their claim.

Lastly, we have “Cognitive Dissonance”, which according to Wikipedia:

“In psychology, cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

Leon Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance focuses on how humans strive for internal consistency. When inconsistency (dissonance) is experienced, individuals tend to become psychologically uncomfortable and they are motivated to attempt to reduce this dissonance, as well as actively avoiding situations and information which are likely to increase it.” ~Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance

When we are giving information / knowledge to another, we are educating them, leading them out from their uneducated state of lacking knowledge. Conversely, somebody can also be educated and led into a deception, via logical fallacies.  Based on our definition above, a logical fallacy is “a course of logic meant to deceive”, it is quite literally a “lie”.  We will examine examples of both types of education.

Here is how a typical situation usually goes down, person A presents certain knowledge to person B about subject X, which is an attempt to educate them with specific knowledge, but this new information does not align with person B’s current belief system, thus they reject the new information, actively ignore it, and go into cognitive dissonance from it.  In this situation, the onus of proof is on person A to prove to person B that this information should be considered for logical processing. The issue that we are exploring is the active ignoring of pertinent data, and the cognitive dissonance that our friends, relatives, and others go into when presented with new information.  Why do we struggle to get through to them?

Putting the Cart Before the HorseFrom what we have been able to discern, most people today place the cart before the horse, that is, they place logic before grammar; this mistake is known as the “begging the question” logical fallacy and circular reasoning.  In simpler terms, they place processing the data before the input of the data, where they are unwilling to process certain information which might change their output, thus purposefully ignoring it.  Why might they place the cart before the horse?  From a historical perspective, it is because they were taught to think critically in the incorrect order, causing them to get stuck in limiting feedback loops that promote logical fallacies; the Classical Trivium is the negative feedback loop of circular reasoning.

However, from a psychological perspective, it can be attributed to having attachments to particular outcomes, based in things that they think they need, such as survival requirements, but also upon their perceptions of how to receive love, attention, approval, success, status, etc.  Additionally, trauma can anchor a person into their limited perceptions, making them unwilling or unable to consider new information until they finally decide to deal with the traumatic feelings that are holding them back.  Trauma may be the biggest barrier preventing the logical processing of new data, if person A is aware of person B’s traumatic background, it may be wise to proceed with care in the conversation.

With attachments in mind, let’s look at some examples.  Person A is presenting information about person B’s employer that exploits children in third world countries, but person B is attached to their income and position within the company, as well as the respect that they receive from their family and society for being in said position.  From this ignoring of information, they might go into cognitive dissonance because their attachments outweigh any perceived evil or deceptions their company might be involved in.

Another example is when person A presents information that might threaten person B’s belief in a religious authority, where person B’s attachment to avoiding guilt, being saved by an externalized god, and avoiding the eternal punishments of hell, far outweigh considering the new information.  Lastly, when person A presents information that might threaten person B’s feelings of safety, where where person B’s attachment is to avoid feeling anything that might trigger traumatic childhood memories.  Any information, even if completely true and reasonable, that is perceived through the filter of their trauma to pose a threat to their well being, may be attacked, marginalized, or ignored altogether.

In these examples, person B has processed (logic/cart) their conclusions and opinions (rhetoric) prior to receiving enough knowledge (grammar/horse) to make an informed decision.  As a result of their attachments, they may be more prone to seek out skewed knowledge and logical fallacies (lies) that support their pre-drawn conclusions and attachments, while avoiding any data that might limit access to receiving their attachments.  Any future discussions in regards to the topic that ignores information X between the two parties, or data that might add to information X, cannot be held until both parties are on even ground.  This holds true especially if they are relating to the Trivium differently, for if person A is working it correctly, and person B is working it out of sequence, the two will find it near impossible to have a balanced conversation.

Jan Irvin of Gnostic Media likens it to two people reading the same book, but person A is much further along in the book, while person B is only a few pages into it.  Since person A has gained more knowledge than person B having read further into the book, then any discussions that they may hold will be imbalanced and difficult if person B is not willing to catch up, or at least listen to and then process the additional information.

Jan Irvin – Red Ice Radio – Trivium Education (at the 1:10:28 mark)

It is critical that person B first catches up to person A in the book, either through reading it or listening to person B’s explanation, before they can have a reasonable conversation (“reason” is a synonym for “logic”) together.  If person B’s logic, which is missing a considerable amount of data and information, really logical, or is it in fact illogical?  Any “reasons” (logic) that person B might produce while lacking the necessary data, which stems from putting the cart before the horse, would probably contain a fair amount of logical fallacies, aka, lies and deceptions.

The situation presented prior is not to be confused with a less informed person B, or a more informed deceptive person B, presenting knowledge to person A, where person A has been previously educated on the subject, having integrated all data with the Trivium method of critical thinking, and in the correct order.  While person A may be open to new information, they may still reject person B’s reasoning because they detect logical fallacies from within the incoming rhetoric, or because the information presented does not significantly add to the knowledge.  Even so, person A will still process any new information, while filtering it with already known information, to ensure that the integrity of the critical thinking process is maintained.

Where in the first situation the onus of proof is on person A to convince person B of their knowledge, reasoning, and rhetoric, in this situation the onus of proof is on person B.  In these cases, rather than person B proving that they are aligned with the truth, they will usually try to pin the responsibility of proving they are wrong on person A, thus dodging their responsibility; which is the onus of proof logical fallacy.  Person B may be more informed than person A, but purposefully attempting to deceive them, or they could be less informed than person A, and ignorantly trying to convince them, and in both cases, it is to satisfy one of their aforementioned attachments.  This is how the Matrix control system polices itself, by attacking those who might start to wake up to the myriad of logical fallacies, using both conscious and ignorant manipulators.

For example, person B approaches person A with their logic (cart) and conclusions (cart) about their religious beliefs, and tries to persuade person A to act upon their conclusions by asking them convert to their religion.  However, person A does not wish to act without first getting enough information (horse), and then processing it.  Person A may also be well informed on person B’s religion, having much more data and experience in the topic being raised by person B, or person B may have ulterior motives, hoping to gain money, status, or control from person B’s conversion.  Even if person B believes that they are doing this for the other person’s benefit, it is likely that their own fears and attachments are prompting their supposed generous offering of their religion to person A.  More than likely, because the cart has been placed before the horse, a myriad of logical fallacies may be used by person B to prove their argument, such as begging the question (circular reasoning), appeal to authority, appeal to emotion, and appeal to belief.

Jan Irvin has compared the Trivium method of critical thinking to a virus protection program installed on a computer, in which incoming information is scanned and compared to detect the presence of logical fallacies, which are the viruses.  When a grammatical or logical fallacy is detected in the grammar and/or logic coming from person B, person A has a few options, they can:

  1. Temporarily stop the conversation to ask some questions about the particular fallacy.
  2. Take note of the fallacy, but wait and listen for more information, and ask more questions at the end.
  3. If there are multiple logical fallacies, weigh the receptiveness of the presenter, and seek to understand their motivations and attachments to their argument.  For example, do they have trauma, fear, sadness, anger, erratic body language, etc.?  After you have gained understanding from your own logical process, if they are unwilling (or unable to, due to trauma around the subject matter) to get on the same page as you, it may be best to end the conversation.
  4. If there are too many fallacies to count, dismiss the argument as false rhetoric and propaganda, find the root causes, agendas, motivations, and attachments for such deceptive attempts to persuade you, and act accordingly, armed with your logical conclusions generated from working the Trivium process.

From these two examples of education, we can see that grammar, logic, and rhetoric can be used to liberate an individual from ignorance, or  to consciously or unconsciously deceive a person into slavery — and worse.  When having a conversation, and either giving or receiving information to be processed, it is important to be on the same page, for if the definitions, information, and methodology for processing knowledge are not leveled, it will be difficult to accomplish much.

Once logical fallacies are found in the conversation, and there may be dozens to wade through, it is necessary to address them, especially any that might block true information from being processed.  Pointing out the logical fallacies, asking questions, and seeking to understand the root causes that the person might have for using them, is essential.  This understanding will allow for the conversation to continue in a healthier manner, or for it to be ended before too much energy is wasted.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is put up boundaries and let our friends, loved ones, and others know that we’re more than happy to discuss any and all issues as long as the Trivium methodology is followed, and give them more than enough information on how to do so.  Teaching them the Trivium, and working it together with them, will allow for discussions to be more productive and enlivening, rather than a competition between winners and losers.  Lastly, the Trivium method is not a way to win, bash, or destroy a person who has been conditioned their entire lives to support the status quo, but a way to assist in leaving it, should they so desire.  They can get out of the control system, but they need to think their own way out of it, therefore sharing the Trivium method with them, is probably the most powerful and useful set of information that you could give to them.

About Nathan

Leave a Reply