“You say you have no methods, how can you do something
with no methods?”
What we mean by this is that we don’t adhere to any strict procedure,
methodology or prescribed way of doing things. We just question
things and think and try to observe the movements of thoughts and
behaviours and see how they work, then we discuss it.
There’s not something we “have” to do because of a method.
“Is this some kind of intellectualization of everything?”
No, the point is not to ignore the emotional and other parts of the
psyche and contexts of things but instead to not think through only
them and fragment our mind. That means, yes, using our intellect to
think with our emotions, memory, and so on… to understand our
movements of thoughts instead of just pitting them against each
other or clinging to intellectual dictatorships of belief to control the
whole mind, which make it more unstable and chaotic. We don’t
think that intellect and imagination, emotion, perceptiveness,
and so on should be viewed as enemies or treated as such but
rather as a team that make up the psyche. Without all the teammates
it’s unbalanced, just like a cell that’s missing its mitochondria or
DNA or nucleotides, cytoplasm, cell wall, rna, and so on….
“Do I have to question everything?”
You don’t “have” to question or think about things. However, to clarify,
there are differences between things like one’s taste and food
preferences and one’s ideological and existential beliefs. One of these
is subject to rational thought and selections based on empirical
observations, the other is ideology.
“Is there such a thing as too much thinking?”
Thinking is not something that’s always pleasant. Sometimes it is
necessary for us to think about problems, situations and fears that
really bother and upset us, in order to understand them and not just
Much of the time people’s thinking is full of all kinds of tiring cycles of
repeating thoughts run by fallacies and fear. It’s not really a free
process of thinking but rather one rooted in stress and confusion, and
which does not really question itself or the thoughts behind it critically.
We sometimes refer to this kind of “thinking” as “thoughting” because
it goes through a bunch of pre-generated thought patterns
(which are a result of thinking) but there is no actual thinking about
thinking going on or awareness of these cyclical patterns.
One of the big fears of “overthinking” is related to this. It’s really more
of a mind and process of thinking dominated by worry, anxiety, fear of
depression, meaninglessness, contradictions, and so on…. However,
ignoring these fears by trying not to think never makes them go away,
and just buries the mind until it’s stuck in bogs of belief. Then this
suppression of psychological problems without understanding even
becomes something normal. We are stuck, yet afraid to move.
“How can you say god is not real? Isn’t that a claim?”
Do you believe santa is real? What about the cosmic hippo?
Are you on the fence about either of those existing? We see no
reason to be agnostic about these or other claims that lack evidence.
burden of proof and this nice explanation
the real question is: “why do we care?”
“Is this project atheist? Is it only for atheists?”
While we tend to attract many atheists and those who formerly
belonged to belief systems, I don't think the project is necessarily
atheist. You could also be agnostic (as in refusing the idea that the
existence or nonexistence of god(s) are knowable) or apatheist (don't
care) but I don't think any of these is sufficient to describe what the
project is about. You can be any of these things and still permeated
by other cultural beliefs and conditionings that you are not interested
in observing and thinking more critically about.
“How do you know that you really understand [something]?”
You’ll probably never be able to fully account for unknown unknowns,
but as you’re more able to observe things without identifying in or
thinking through them and the meanings you attach to them (ideas,
pictures, etc…), you’ll eventually start to get a feel for what it means
to understand. You won’t construct things based simply on belief or
faith as much anymore, but rather logical arguments, reason and
empirical evidence. Most of all you’ll be able to continually question
(hopefully) your assumptions and investigate what assumptions you
may have and why, as well as make fresh and less filtered
There won’t be such identification in the answers you’ve acquired,
and thus you will not view things that fall outside of these ideas to
be quite so threatening to you or your existence (whether you are or
were aware of such types of responses or not). You’ll be more open
to them and what is different, more able to question things and
approach them logically to find out if there is any veracity to them
as well as what’s junk and what’s not and why.
There may not be a way to “completely understand” or “understand
everything” or be and think “fully clear”, but there can at least be
people deeply interested in finding out about their own confusions,
fears, biases, mindsets, assumptions, and modalities that make up
their various processes of thinking, which can lead to gradual
improvements in their psychological well being which will allow
you to be able to avoid and decrease many unnecessary problems.
“What do you mean by intelligence?”
Broadly speaking there are
of intelligence that we mean.
intelligence, or “…the ability to perceive relationships independent of
previous specific practice or instruction concerning those relationships”,
and crystallized intelligence, which is our ability to use knowledge that
comes from prior learning and past experiences.
We tend to lack in our ability to think outside of our past knowledge,
but this doesn’t mean we should forsake knowledge. On the contrary,
both types of intelligence are important, and it’s useful to balance
them, thinking with our past experience and knowledge but not only
“What do you have to say about love?”
What is it that we mean by love? Do we love people or is it more our
ideas of them and ideals of love? Oftentimes people make others
into an addiction and even use “love” as an excuse for abuse and
controlling behaviours. “Love” is not something detached from the
rest of the mind, and the quality of our relationships is undoubtedly
shaped by the quality of our thinking. If we throw the whole mind
away in the name of “love” it leads to confusion filled messes.
Much of the time our “love” is really more fear to be alone, and
so we try to consign others to relationships or even lock ourselves
into abusive situations. For these reasons we think that it is of
paramount importance to think more critically about such concepts
that are so often claimed to be held in very high regards, yet taken
“What do you have to say about meditation, yoga, and other
There’s not really anything wrong with these just as practices in
themselves, which can be beneficial, it’s just they are often tied up
with gullible belief systems. Furthermore, none of these things are
thinking about how we think. Meditation practices may relax the mind,
but they don’t bring about sober thinking.
“What are some common errors in thinking?”
Jumping to conclusions, “questioning” that already assumes
a particular answer, universalizing experiences and “normality”
when they do not fit, changing mid-argument to an irrelevant
subject, dismissing any personal problematic behaviour pointed
out by saying “nobody’s perfect”, believing that objectivity means
never making any decision on anything, assuming the middle of
two extremes must always be correct, and turning all disagreements
into contests of identity (who’s smarter?!).
You can read about a bunch
and look at a few
“How can people be intelligent in one way but not another?
How can someone with a high IQ fall for something like the
pseudoscience of the flat earth beliefs or scientology?”
It’s helpful to think in terms of different forms or aspects of intelligence.
To use a fitness analogy, just because someone lifts weights all the
time and is super buff doesn't mean they can run a 5k. You can be
muscular but lack cardiovascular fitness and vice versa. Maybe you
have lots of knowledge, but lack rationality, or lots of rationality, but
less empathy, etc... Perhaps you are very muscular but not flexible
at all, just like being good at some things you have a lot of
experience with and practice in, but perhaps not as perceptive
and open to ideas overall.
People can have a very high IQ, but lack rationality when evaluating
claims, and fall for pseudoscience like the flat earth model or astrology.
Or they may be well versed in logic but lack empathy and emotional
understanding of themselves and others. Or they might be very
knowledgeable, but not open to considering anything beyond the
scope of that collection of knowledge that they are familiar with,
or even automatically start trying to disprove it. Or they may be very
open minded, but not lacking in the ability to evaluate claims rationally
and thus less able to distinguish likely and unlikely possibilities.
“Is there right and wrong then if you refuse beliefs?”
Basically, ideas of what’s “good” often get turned into authoritarian
regimes that we exploit ourselves and others over psychologically
and socially, so can we think a bit more about what is considered
right and wrong, good and bad without thinking through our ideas
of what they are? That is, without letting them think for us?
So to be able to figure out what’s actually junk and what’s not?
In other words, we are not advocating turning a blind eye to
everything or always choosing indecisive “neutral”, but advocating a
more well informed and thought out way of thinking about what’s right.
“Are you merely conforming to ideas of nonconformity,
identifying in having ‘no identity’?”
This would indeed be quite silly and contradictory. To study and be
interested in understanding how a virus works is not merely to
replicate it with another virus. To under-stand a structure is not
merely to replace it with another structure.
This idea of “proving” nonconformity requires consensus from others
by matching their ideas of “nonconformity” to feed such an identity
and is thus also a form of conformity.
There isn’t exactly “no identity”, and we do not advocate sacrificing
your mind to the whims of others. But you can think outside of an
identity as like you can think outside of any other set of assumptions
and thoughts if you realize they are there and how they function.
“Why is it so difficult to think about how we think?”
The fact that we do not tend to think much makes our brains very
weak and lazy over time. We do not get much practice thinking
critically. It’s just like how when you do not exercise your body
becomes weaker and weaker over time, atrophying.
Eventually things like running 100 meters become exhausting
and your muscles get sore easily. We even become averse to
exercising because of how hard it is to get back in shape.
But after the first few weeks of training it starts to get easier
and we can push ourselves more. We might be surprised to find
that we even start enjoying it! Likewise mentally “exercising” works
the same with our brains. It can be incredibly difficult to question our
long held beliefs and deeply ingrained fears, but over time we start
getting better at it. We can catch ourselves when we’re doing
something illogical and rationalizing it, and investigating our thoughts
and behaviour can even start to be interesting. We start reacting less
severely and can think a bit more clearly about what upset us.
One of the truisms of our minds is demonstrated by neuroplasticity:
our brains are constantly changing, building and pruning connections,
and you either use it or lose it.
The more we are lazy in our thinking the easier it becomes to be lazy,
and the harder it is to think. The converse is also true: the more we
practice thinking about the way we think, the easier it becomes,
and the harder it is for us to succumb to irrational and lazy thinking.
Just like muscular strength, cardiorespiratory endurance, flexibility
and other aspects of our physical fitness, we can build up aspects
of our psychological fitness, such as our attention, ability to focus,
capacity for doing “nothing”, skill at analyzing, emotional
understanding, and metacognition—thinking about thinking.
When we actually start paying attention to our thoughts and feelings,
observing them instead of shutting them away and fighting all the time,
things start to change.
“Why do you write so much about stupidity?”
We’re interested in discussing and studying stupidity in order
to understand it and not be at the mercy of it so much. One useful
definition of stupidity is “an immense lack of self-observation and
critical thinking regarding what we think, follow, and do.
“Are we just supposed to feel emotionless and nihilistic
Beliefs can affect our feelings but feelings and sensations do not
have to be beliefs. It’s when we shut out our ability to think and
feel with authoritarian beliefs that we actually lose our connection
with our empathy and sensitivity, or they merely end up bombastic
and irrational under the reign of belief systems. There is no empathy
or compassion without logic, and to try and proceed without or against
reason rather than logically teasing out if what is presented to us as
reason is really reasonable, we resign ourselves to superficiality and
confusion, which tend not to be very empathetic at all. This is why we
like to ask the questions can the mind be emotional and logical at the
same time, why does it have to be one or the other?
“What is the difference between a belief and a not-belief?”
Some people will tell you that everything is a belief, but this does not
seem to be a very useful definition because it does not distinguish
between how we think about things.
What we are concerned about is the identification in particular
ideas, concepts, information, symbols, knowledge, and so on, and how
and why that so often biases our thinking and hinders us from gaining
a more accurate understanding of reality. In other words, how the
possessor of beliefs becomes possessed by those beliefs.
These sorts of intractable “faiths”, beliefs, assumptions, or whatever
you will, do not merely exist in religions but also in the forms of
traditionalism, “normality”, spirituality, pseudoscience, and all sorts
of ideologies and cultural cognitions that corrode rationality.
People tend to interpret “faith” as only relating to religion and things
that lack evidence, but this misses the way that certain ideas and
assumptions bias our process of thinking because of our attachment
to them and inability to see out of what we believe is true, as well as
the vast scope of faulty “evidence” for many claims.
Obviously we have to take some things as priors, at least to some
degree, and we do need to take some kind of stance on issues, but
the point is to become aware of our biases, fallacies, fears, and
assumptions so that we improve our ability to see when this is
happening and question it.
“You often talk about not suppressing things. Does this mean
that we should ‘let everything out’?”
We often have a misconception that our only options are to fear and
suppress or forget and follow our impulses, yet in neither case do we
actually really think about them or understand them. Automatically
suppressing thoughts and automatically following them both entail an
inattentiveness that rarely, if ever, leads to an understanding of how
we react to our thoughts and fears.
It is a common misconception that “venting” anger and taking out
feelings on others actually makes you freer from them and acts as
a “necessary release”. Rather, such behaviour merely further
conditions you to react in the same way to those thoughts and
feelings. It does not bring about attentive self-observation regarding
them. This doesn’t mean anger and other feelings
are bad—sometimes they can be our most helpful friends—but
should think critically with them to understand them and
discontent rather than just react through them and pretend the
problem has disappeared.
“Why do you think thinking or ‘thinking about thinking’ is
Because to do otherwise invites credulity, the enslavement to belief,
prejudices, biases, assumptions and ultimately stupidity and suffering
as shown all throughout history.
“Lately I have been feeling down, will I always feel this way?”
Discontent can be incredibly helpful as a motivator for understanding
what is bothering us and changing things. It is not something to shun,
suppress or fight, but to observe. The key is to understand our
discontent, not run from it and let it morph into a misty paralyzing
discomfort that is harder to deal with and often appears to arrive
out of nowhere. Sometimes we are captivated by something
fascinating and interesting, other times we feel like we do not
know what to do with ourselves, and still other times our mind
wanders through all sorts of ideas.
“If you do the coaching, will I no longer be confused and how
long does it take to be able to make significant progress?”
Confusion is more of a scale than something black or white, but in
general it greatly diminishes. There can be a major improvement
in the first year, but the second year is often important as well.
There’s no exact time though since everyone is different in where
they are. After the coaching it’s up to you to keep thinking,
questioning, observing, and applying yourself and what
“I want to collaborate with you guys in some way;
what can I do?”
If you would like to talk with us or know someone who would be
interested in working with the project, please feel free to
“This sounds like a really cool project, where can I find out