When Simple Answers Appear Complex…
Occam’s Razor teaches us that: answers with the fewest assumptions are usually the correct ones.
Many times, when counterintuitive realities are discovered, we're all flabbergasted by the complexity of it all.
But sometimes complexity is just an illusion because we under-appreciate how many incorrect assumptions we begin our investigations with. In fact, we seldom do a good job of defining what our assumptions are in the first place.
Answers built on falsehoods (either by accident or to serve interests that don't benefit from the truth) will not only be false in and of themselves, but usually create immense wakes of pain and destruction across multiple generations.
It usually takes a non-institutionalized "outsider" asking "silly" questions (in their own attempts to work through the trail of inconsistencies they're uncovering) to change the paradigm and establish a hard fought, new norm that ultimately becomes seen as "innovative."
When we unknowingly accept the unfounded assumptions from our dominant culture in the form of "common sense truths", we all suffer. We beat our heads against the wall like idiots until some brave soul comes along and dares to challenge the status quo, the authorities of established truths or the social pressures from dominant cultural narratives.
3 Mindsets To Protect Yourself From The Dangers Of Unfounded Assumptions
The solution to avoid becoming a victim of "common sense wisdom" assumptions is simple:
Continually challenge, question and investigate consensus and authority views through the lens of critical and objective thinking.
- When problem solving, approach the issue from several different angles by asking a multitude of questions. Each angle may yield several potential avenues for investigation. Even asking the problem in a different way from the institutionalized norm may spark ideas that would have eluded "the experts" otherwise.
Above all else, maintain your innate curiosity and beginner’s mind no matter how masterful you feel at something...beginners always have room to grow where masters have nothing left to learn!
Just remember the words of the constantly curious character and Nobel Prize winning physicist, Richard P. Feynman:
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool.