The Power of Intellectual Exploration and Taking Action: Philosophers and Kid Innovators Unite

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Sep 02, 20234 min read

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The Power of Intellectual Exploration and Taking Action: Philosophers and Kid Innovators Unite

Introduction:

In the realms of philosophy and innovation, there are valuable lessons to be learned about the way we think, the pursuit of truth, and the power of taking action. While seemingly different, these two worlds intersect in their approach to intellectual exploration and the desire to make a positive impact on society. Let's dive into the fascinating insights from philosophers and young innovators, connecting their ideas and exploring actionable advice that we can apply in our own lives.

The Intellectual Journey of Philosophers:

Philosophers, such as David Perell, understand that the process of thinking goes beyond mere typing. It involves a deep form of intellectual exploration, following the development of ideas from their embryonic stage to their mature form. They engage in rigorous thinking, not just memorizing ideas, but truly comprehending why specific forms were chosen over alternatives.

One key aspect of how philosophers think is their ability to make ideas fight with each other, akin to intellectual boxers. By pitting ideas against each other, philosophers gain a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to refine and shape their thoughts.

The Influence of Culture and Collective Learning:

Humanity's success lies not in the intelligence of individuals, but in our ability to outsource knowledge to the tribe. Social learning, as observed by scholars like Henrich, has been humanity's primary advantage over primates. The collective learning across generations has allowed us to become smarter as a species.

However, the magnet of culture often pulls us towards fashionable thinking and influences our decision-making. Popular ideas tend to receive more exposure, leading to a higher likelihood of belief. Yet, philosophers caution against jumping to conclusions based solely on popularity. Just like the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger, the best options aren't always advertised. To discover the truth, we must venture beyond the spotlight and challenge fashionable thinking.

Critiquing the Frame, Embracing Intellectual Grace:

Philosophers recognize that every idea comes packaged in an implicit frame. Instead of fixating on the conclusion, they critique the premise or frame of an idea. By doing so, they open themselves up to a broader intellectual spectrum and expand their capacity to find truth. Holding two opposing ideas in mind simultaneously, without compromising their ability to function, is a test of first-rate intelligence.

Approaching philosophy, and life in general, with an attitude of intellectual grace yields fruitful results. Rather than focusing on proving others wrong, the question "What can this person teach me?" fosters a more productive mindset. Progress occurs when individuals with conviction take action, often against the tide of consensus.

The Wisdom of Young Innovators:

Gitanjali Rao, TIME's 2020 Kid of the Year, teaches us valuable lessons about pursuing our passions and effecting change. She emphasizes the importance of finding what we're passionate about and not attempting to solve every problem. Each solution we contribute is a part of the bigger picture of what needs to be done. Rao encourages us to go for it, free from self-doubt and concerns about others' opinions. No matter the scale, we all have the power to make a difference.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace intellectual exploration: Follow the intellectual embryos of ideas, challenge fashionable thinking, and engage in rigorous thought. Seek out opposing ideas and critique the premises or frames of concepts to uncover deeper truths.
  • 2. Foster collective learning: Recognize the power of social learning and the influence of culture. Be mindful of the exposure effect and avoid jumping to conclusions based solely on popularity. Venture beyond the mainstream to discover hidden gems of knowledge.
  • 3. Take action with conviction: Pursue your passions and make a positive impact, no matter how big or small. Don't let self-doubt or the fear of others' opinions hold you back. Embrace the twin principles of reason and rationality, risking short-term social credit for the long-term betterment of civilization.

Conclusion:

Philosophers and young innovators like Gitanjali Rao offer valuable insights into the way we think and the actions we take. By embracing intellectual exploration, challenging fashionable thinking, and taking action with conviction, we can contribute to the progress of society. Let us remember that the pursuit of truth and positive change requires an open mind, intellectual grace, and a willingness to step outside the crowd.

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