“Unlike the soldier, a scout’s goal isn’t to defend one side over the other. It’s to go out, survey the territory, and come back with as accurate a map as possible. Regardless of what they hope to be the case, above all, the scout wants to know what’s actually true.”
The above quote resonates with me; it comes from a new book, The Scout Mindset: Why Some People See Things Clearly and Others Don’t.
Here is a brief description from Goodreads,
When it comes to what we believe, humans see what they want to see. In other words, we have what Julia Galef calls a soldier mindset. From tribalism and wishful thinking, to rationalizing in our personal lives and everything in between, we are driven to defend the ideas we most want to believe—and shoot down those we don’t.
But if we want to get things right more often, argues Galef, we should train ourselves to have a scout mindset. Unlike the soldier, a scout’s goal isn’t to defend one side over the other. It’s to go out, survey the territory, and come back with as accurate a map as possible. Regardless of what they hope to be the case, above all, the scout wants to know what’s actually true.
In The Scout Mindset, Galef shows that what makes scouts better at getting things right isn’t that they’re smarter or more knowledgeable than everyone else. It’s a handful of emotional skills, habits, and ways of looking at the world—which anyone can learn … Galef explores why our brains deceive us and what we can do to change the way we think.
Reflections -I believe that I am a scout. I suppose the combination of natural inclination and many years of education combined to make scouting (which we might otherwise call research) a habit for me. Well, an obsession actually. Any claim that I’m interested in sends me to research. I always preferred to know the truth—no matter how unsatisfying that truth was—to deceiving myself in order to satisfy some desire or believe what I wished to be true. I’m not sure exactly why this obsession with truth is such a part of me, and I recognize that even the most impartial scouts harbor some prejudices, but I’ve tried to transcend those prejudices as best I could using the scientific method’s emphasis on reason and evidence. This is the essence of critical thinking.
And I thank my many teachers, students, and friends who over the years have helped me along this road.