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The Grand Synthesis

April 15, 2013

Doesn’t it seem strange when people change strongly held, ardently defended beliefs in the blink of an eye?

Of course it does. We begin to question the sincerity of the initial belief. We begin to ask whether they had any real fact or reason behind their first belief. David changed from communist to capitalist overnight? No wonder – he never really understood communism. People like fairly firm beliefs as well – do you like flip-floppers? Are they trustworthy? Common consensus is against the notion.

In essence, we question radical changes in belief.

‘Yeah, we guessed that. Where’s this amateur think he’s going?’ you ask. I’ll tell you – we’re looking at the grand synthesis that forms the beliefs of people. The synthesis that drives the evolution of your thought over your lifetime. The synthesis that’s quality will affect your life. That’s important.

We form views through a grand synthesis. There are events which do have a significant impact on you, but they’re still part of the synthesis which forms beliefs. Through our lives we accumulate knowledge and experience; this forms the ‘lens’ through which we view the world and make decisions. As we gather knowledge we might refine our views and change our routines.

An example? Reading Memory A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan K. Foster will teach you about ways to maximise memory retention. For instance, using the spacing effect to your advantage will benefit your recall. So, if you’ve got an exam in a year the best trick is to revise regularly at distant intervals, and in a massed manner before exams. We’ve got a post coming up soon on this soon, but the point is that you change when new information arrives. Maybe all some book does is reinforce your belief in something. Maybe poor policy decisions just make you apathetic to politics. It’s important to remember that not every change is discrete; many changes are the culmination of a series of events. Your grand synthesis comprises all of these events.

Hey, I get this synthesis thing… but there are times when I just make up my mind based on no prior experience! Another fool of a blogger!

Our imaginary friend is correct here, but it doesn’t mean the synthesis is wrong. There are some events for which no prior experience is applicable or exists. However, the synthesis is all about incorporating new events and integrating them, leading to a refined product. Obviously, the synthesis’ result given only X… will be X! The Law of Identity; A = A. So, the synthesis does explain events for which a single experience will form our views on a subject.

For instance, X has no clue who Albert Hammond is [musical heresy, but anyway…] . His synthesis will come to no conclusion as to anything regarding Albert Hammond (except for his name) . The second a piece of music plays, X will only have that to evaluate Albert on. The more of Albert’s music that X hears the more refined his views will become.

A Worldview

The synthesis may sound obvious… in hindsight. However, care must be made to incorporate such a view in your life. Do something with it. Do not let such thoughts fade into the abyss that is forgetting. Do not view things as disparate, separate parts.

View things holistically, and prosper.

A final note

One of the things about the synthesis is that we’re never quite at the final stage; we never incorporate everything into our synthesis, yet we’re always adding to our synthesis (or at least I hope you’re not totally wasting your time!). We refine continuously.

Some further reading

Did you not quite understand some parts of the article? Don’t worry, that just means the author lacks the writing skills to elucidate his thoughts (or is lazy) . Some terms:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_identity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacing_effect

And for those particularly interested in memory retention, read this fascinating debate http://www.debate.org/debates/Reduce-homework-lengthen-schooltime/3/ (Yours truly is the instigator) ; in particular pay attention to the discussions on memory retention, although the debate is well worth reading.

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Got any comments or feedback? Let’s hear it!

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