Dave Lukas - Lessons for Hannah
235: Lessons for Hannah - Common Sense and Independent Critical Thinking
Hello Misfit Nation! Welcome to another edition of "Lessons for Hannah!"
In November of 2016, we introduced a new format that we are putting alongside our regular episodes called “Lessons for Hannah.” Hannah is my daughter and one of the main inspirations for the Misfit Entrepreneur. I wanted to have a place where she could go and learn from her daddy and his Misfit friends throughout her life….even after I am gone. If you haven’t listened to the first episode of "Lessons for Hannah," I urge you to as it gives some more background and tells the amazing story of how Hannah came to be in our lives.
"Lessons for Hannah" are short, very useful, and sometimes comical lessons, that I have learned which I want to share with you and give to Hannah to help in your lives. Because I want Hannah to have these for her life, I’m going to speak as though I am talking directly to her. These episodes are a lot of fun and if you think there is a lesson that we should include in these episodes, please don’t hesitate to send it over to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to share it.
This week’s Lesson for Hannah
I want to talk to you about something very important in life, common sense and independent critical thinking. Sadly, as I watch our society, these things are more and more lost every day and yet, they are so important to maintain.
So, what is common sense and independent critical thinking? Well, the dictionary defines it pretty well stating common sense is sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training, or the like; normal native intelligence.
Personally, I like to think of it as thinking that is between intellectual rigidity and total emotional ignorance. Intellectual rigidity being that someone has just made up their mind based a fact, but not all the facts and will not consider any other possibilities or even change when new facts are presented. To me, this stifles the ability to learn and grow keeping people trapped in a single thought pattern. On the opposite end is total emotional ignorance which I deem as a complete disregard for the truth and facts, even when presented, because a person thinks their feelings are the truth.
Make no mistake, feelings are not facts or truth.
To illustrate this point I want to use something that is controversial and happening right now during the Wuhan Coronavirus – Mask wearing, mask mandates and the 6-foot rule.
First, let us look at what our leaders in the US have told us. On March 8th 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the lead infectious disease expert for the US response on the Wuhan virus advised Americans against wearing masks on 60 minutes stating “There is no reason to be walking round with mask.” As we all know, this position was reversed in the summer of 2020 and later Fauci said that the reason he originally said not to wear masks was to preserve PPE at the time and that he does not regret it.
Now, for me at this point, common sense kicks in a little to ask a question, “So are you telling us that masks actually do work and we should have been wearing them from the start, but you lied to us because you wanted to preserve PPE? How many lives were lost because of not wearing masks or some sort of face covering because you told us not to?” Notwithstanding that bit of contradiction, let’s take further a look into masks.
You may not know this, but there are actually many contradictory scientific studies on mask wearing. Some studies say they work, others say they do not. Without getting into the do they or don’t they debate which will rage on probably forever, let’s look at things from an angle of common-sense using reason, not emotional ignorance or intellectual rigidity. It’s time to think independently.
When I look at what is happening with the virus a few things immediately standout.
Mask wearing and social distancing is at an all-time high, but cases of the virus worldwide are at an all time high. Think about that for a second. I’m not saying masks don’t help, but they certainly aren’t preventing the spread in a large way based on the data.
Another important fact to note is that the average mask and respirator filters particles that are 30-80 microns in size, but the virus particle size is about 10 microns. That means, even wearing a mask, every time you breath, particles are going through the mask – which may be why the spread has continued.
Another thing I have thought about is how the virus is transmitted. By all accounts, it is airborne and lives on surfaces if not cleaned or disinfected. This led me look at things we are doing such as the 6-foot rule and other practices and ask, do these really matter? Is the virus that smart that it knows how far 6 feet is? I played football from 2nd grade through college. It is a sweaty, bloody, fluid swapping sport and I loved playing it. Nowadays, I love watching it and found it interesting this past year that players would go on the field without a mask, sweating, breathing hard, tackling each other, huddling up after each play, and so on, but when they came off the field, they all had to wear a mask on the sideline. To me, that makes no sense. Does the virus actually know when players are on the field and off the field and only attacks them when on the sideline, so they need a mask?
Or what about how in some states you can go to a grocery store, but cannot go to church. Does the virus really leave you alone at the grocery store vs. when you sit in a pew?
When you think about it, it seems pretty ridiculous. It gets even more interesting when you do a little research on the origins of social distancing in the first place. They actually started from a 14-year old’s high school science project back in 2006 and 2007. If you want to learn more about it, you can read the New York Time’s April 2020 story about the origin and it is not a scientific process.
If you have common sense, even from the football example above, you would ask about the validity of social distancing and its efficacy, but knowing the origin is not based in any real scientific study that was thoroughly tested, you have to at least question it. Is the virus really that smart? Or is it like every other virus in history that works it way through a population until it reaches a point where enough people have gotten it and developed anti-bodies and/or have been inoculated through vaccination that it becomes like any other virus we all deal with in our lives? Based on common sense and what has happened to this point, personally I think it is the latter.
But, I don’t dismiss everything either. Instead, common sense tells me the real answer lies somewhere in the middle. Masks probably help some or in certain situations and so does distancing, but should I have to wear one to walk to my table in a restaurant where I then take it off and am breathing and talking with particles leaving my mouth floating throughout the air alongside everyone else’s particles in the restaurant – no. Should there be such drastic measures for a virus with a less than .9% death rate? Probably not.
One last point on cases. The flu typically has over 30 million cases each year in the US and we are currently past the halfway point of the flu season and there have been less than a million cases according to the CDC. Where are they? I don’t know if people know that the flu is another form of coronavirus, so common sense would tell me that we are probably counting cases of the flu as Wuhan virus and the case numbers are not as large as reported. Additionally, the flu kills up to almost 700,000 people a year worldwide and pneumonia kills a staggering 3 million+ per year (that’s 2016 data). You can find these stats on the CDC website and with a simple search. That’s almost 4 million deaths per year that the flu and pneumonia account for. My question, why haven’t we been wearing masks and social distancing our whole lives?
As you can see, common sense and independent critical thinking is more about asking questions and seeking answers than just making a decision based on a little bit of knowledge. Doing that is intellectual rigidity or emotional ignorance basing everything on feelings. You must ask questions and delve deeper and seek knowledge before forming an opinion or set of believes on something, especially major topics. That advice is not new. It can be found in the Bible, and from Plato, Aristotle and others. In fact, Thomas Jefferson told us to question with boldness when he said, “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”
Hannah and everyone listening, we must question with boldness in our lives and not take everything at face value. We must use reason, common sense, and independent thinking and not allow ourselves to be too rigid or form our thoughts based solely on emotion. We must also not allow fear to drive our decision making. I’ve said many times that I believe entrepreneurs are the answer to the problems of this world as just about everything stems from entrepreneurial thinking, so we must strive and work hard to become the best thinkers we can be and help others throughout the world to think critically and use true common sense.
The world will be an even better place for everyone if we do.
I love you,
We must use reason, common sense, and independent thinking and not allow ourselves to be too rigid or form our thoughts based solely on emotion. We must also not allow fear to drive our decision making.
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