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Single Sentence Logic
"WHAT? What did you just say? SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC? That’s what Bill said. He used that term: SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC. So, what’s that all about?"
“SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC is any CONCEPT that sounds consistent as a single sentence or statement. But it falls apart when examined as part of a larger system or process. It’s in the same category as tunnel vision or NARROW MINDED THINKING. It’s usually a current buzz word or sound bite in the media that really gets people worked up.”
"OK. So give me a clear example."
“Sure. Opposites attract. Right?”
“Positive charges attract negative charges. North poles attract south poles. Males attract females. Right?”
“Night attracts day?”
“HELLO! Earth to Nanook. I said, night attracts day!”
"Oh. Ugh …. Hmmm …. "
“OK. I can see sticking both your feet in your mouth isn’t a big enough challenge for you.. Open wider! Go ahead and stick both of your boots in there.
Oil attracts water.”
"Well … .."
“Wider Nanook. I can’t see your tonsils. North attracts south as in east attracts west.”
“Hot attracts cold. Tall attracts short. Big attracts small. Right attracts wrong. Open wider Nanook.”
"OK. OK. Give me a break. I’m a total idiot."
With that, Ben broke into a huge grin.
“Look. Single Sentence Logic is a HUGE issue. It’s a virus that has infected our entire culture. Here’s another example that Carl Sagan often uses. We look at Venus. We can’t see anything except a white ball. Ah HA! White planet. Clouds are white. Clouds are made of water. Water vapor traps heat. A warm wet atmosphere grows huge jungles with giant ferns. Dinosaurs lived in huge jungles with giant ferns. THERE MUST BE DINOSAURS ON VENUS.”
"Makes sense to me!"
“Right. The mumbling idiot with boots sticking out of his mouth. Do you see what happened here? Each sentence, by itself, made sense in some circumstance. So if you go from sentence to sentence, things seem to be logical. But the end result is pure BS! We look at Venus. We can’t see anything. THEREFORE, there MUST BE DINOSAURS. Give me a break.”
"Mumble, mumble. I’d say something but my mouth is full of boots."
“OK genius. Pay attention. Single Sentence Logic is a huge disaster. You need to learn to spot it and stay way clear of it. And you will see it everywhere. Single sentence logic is how simple minded and NARROW MINDED people get through the day. It allows them to group larger principles into simple packages that they can use in communication or thinking.
"OK. Now I see what you mean. Just because positive charges attract negative charges, and we consider pluses and minuses opposites, doesn’t mean the principle of opposites attracting is always true."
“Bingo! The light goes on! This is a really big deal in our society. The human mind is driven to find patterns. But people extend the patterns way too far way too easily. Understanding this will give you a huge tool to spot political manipulation.”
**Single Sentence Logic - the basis for learning language
“Well right! What I’m trying to tell you is this is a complex issue. And humans are terrible at figuring out complex issues. They run their lives on SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC! And understanding that leads to a very interesting observation on humans in general.
An important trait that distinguishes humans from animals is language. And CONTRARY to the way the schools try to jam language down our throats, humans actually learn language by memorizing words as PHRASES in the form of sounds and groups of sounds. The irony of how humans really learn language is that we memorize these phrases WITHOUT the need to associate them with a logical explanation. Just look at little kids. They can call you all the names in the book. But if you ask them what those names mean, they can’t tell you. We refer to 7 years old as the ‘age of reason’. Disregard the fact that every kid hits their own age of reason at their own pace, it’s obvious that they have a huge part of their vocabulary under control before they ever start connecting it to meaning.
The first connection to language is through EMOTION. When people grow up – WE SHOULD BE SO LUCKY - this basic connection between words and emotions does not just disappear. Our memorizing ability, which for most people is actually quite large, can store a lot of data. But our reasoning ability, which for most people, is quite limited, needs to keep knowledge compartmentalized into small elements. So, in most people’s heads, there is a MAP between EMOTIONS and SINGLE PHRASE GROUPS.
Now I want to make a very important point. I believe - well, actually, George believes - that the human brain is somehow ORGANIZED according to words and these SINGLE PHRASE GROUPS. So when people hear speech, their brain automatically picks out words and phrases. Let me read a paragraph about this from a book called Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett. Let’s see . . . page 51:”
- “If asked in various ways by experimenters to note and assess the gaps between words, subjects have little difficulty complying. There seem to be gaps. But if one looks at the acoustic energy profile of the input signal, the regions of lowest energy (the moments closest to silence) do not line up at all well with the word boundaries. The segmentation of speech sounds is a process that imposes boundaries based on the grammatical structure of the language, not on the physical structure of the acoustic wave . . . . This helps to explain why we hear speech in foreign languages as a jumbled, unsegmented rush of sounds: the dedicated mechanisms in the brain's ‘sound studio’ lack the necessary grammatical framework to outline the proper segments. ."
"So, what he’s saying is that the brain isn’t just processing the sound waves and sending them to our consciousness. It’s pre-processing the sound and turning it into . . . words? Or maybe phrases? Or even concepts?"
“Bingo! But also, importantly, directly into emotions. Along with the words we detect anger, humor, questioning etc. And all of this happens before the concepts ever get formed in our conscious brain.
So, where do kids learn these single phrases? Of course. They listen to adults. And adults do tend to talk in phrases that are INTERNALLY CONSISTENT in some logical sense. So people’s heads, generation after generation, are filled with SINGLE SENTENCE LOGIC.”