A Dictionary of Thought Distortions
This book is about the first virtue of critical thinking (also called "Elenchos" in Greco-Roman philosophy - read more in the below updates).
Thought distortions are “techniques”, that, unconsciuos or conscious, are used from an interest in finding ways of getting on in the world, rather than an interest in finding ways of discovering the truth. Thought distortions are the background for poor reasoning, diversionary ploys, seductive reasoning errors, techniques of persuasion and avoidance, psychological factors, which can be obstacles to clear thought.
The question is: should one use thought distortions? The question raises the old discussion between Socrates and the Sophists. The Sophists were teachers of rhetoric who taught people how to get on in the world. In this they uncritically used thought distortions. Socrates was the philosopher who taught people in ways of finding the truth. In this he critically examined, re-structured and changed thought distortions.
With the claim that the Sophists today are back in that mixture of postmodernistic intellectualism, management theory, self-help and New Age, which I call The Matrix Conspiracy, I will, with this book, present a manual in the Socratic way of life.
The book is a follow-up to the three books on my teaching Meditation as an Art of Life (Meditation as an Art of Life – 2008, Dream Yoga – 2009, A Portrait of a Lifeartist – 2010). It is also a reference book to my two books on the Matrix Conspiracy (The Matrix Conspiracy – part 1 and 2).
[This is the book which has caused most outrage in New Age circles. Considering the global spread of New Age, I have often thought: "This must be the most dangerous book on Earth". It works like holding a crucifix up against a vampire. This is not only ironically meant:
I consider this book to be a kind of philosophical diary on how I, during my spiritual crisis, used critical thinking (elenchos, refutation, logic) to distinguish base magic (occultism/shamanism), which leaves everything to chance, and may lead its practitioners to consort with falsity and evil daemons, and higher magic or theurgy. The latter is a guarantor of truth and happiness, combined as it is with the source itself: the Good, the True and the Beautiful. Critical thinking simply rescued me from madness. As a result I came to believe that Socrates represented an ancient path of wisdom, where philosophy in a similar way was used as a navigator through the Spiritual Twilight Zone. Read more in my articles: Greco-Roman Philosophy as a Path of Enlightenment, and, Peter Kingsley - Another Story Waiting to Pierce You.
In my article, Five Basic Exercises in Philosophy as a Spiritual Practice, you can read about the book´s connection with Meditation as an Art of Life].
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