HIPS: Exercise the Mind By Questioning Everything and Reading All You Can
By Bryan Hyde
We brush and floss our teeth to prevent dental decay. We exercise and eat a balanced diet to strengthen our bodies against disease.
But we should also be practicing preventative maintenance to fortify our minds.
A strong, healthy mind is not only more capable of clear and independent thought, it also is more resistant to manipulation by others.
With our language, thoughts and symbols in a constant state of flux, it’s hard to be certain exactly where we stand in relation to the ever-shifting approved boundaries.
This uncertainty and unwillingness to trust our own thought process can tempt us to outsource our thinking to others rather than have confidence in ourselves.
There are two things that can inoculate us against the effects of sloppy thinking.
The first is to be willing to question everything with an open mind. A healthy sense of skepticism is not the same thing as being cynical.
The second thing we can do is to read old books.
When we do this, we come to recognize that every generation has its unique blind spots, including our own. This helps us to better understand what came before us and less inclined to buy into misguided attempts to rewrite history.
As Cicero pointed out, to not know what came before us is to remain forever a child.
Practicing regular preventative maintenance for our minds keeps us humble and teachable. It also keeps us focused on improving ourselves rather than pointing out everyone else’s faults.
* Hyde In Plain Sight is written by KDXU personality Bryan Hyde. Catch his daily HIPS vignette at 7:50-ish every weekday morning on KDXU and listen to The Bryan Hyde Show weekends at 7 p.m. Saturday and 6 p.m. Sunday nights.