Most Bad Ideas Come From Backward Thinking

Imagine watching a movie in reverse and trying to make sense of it. Bullets would be jumping out of bodies and racing back into the barrel of the gun. It would seem as though mothers consume newborns as they are pushed inside them. Chewed food would reconstitute itself and leap out of a mouth. Every day bodily functions would seem beyond bizarre.

Nothing would make any sense and no amount of pondering would make it so—especially if one didn’t realize they were watching and thinking of things in a reverse fashion.

With this insight one can see that many bad ideas have their roots in backward thinking. People start with an idea they like—whether it has any validity in the real world or not—and then think backwards looking for “evidence” that supports their preconceived idea. Once they find enough of it, they stop looking and declare the issue settled.

Communism, socialism, big government in general, wokeness—heck, most progressive ideas—none of them make much sense or have any validity if thought about in a forward motion, that is, the way life actually moves.

Many modern, woke thoughts are based on the notion that people have almost magical powers—like the recently discovered ability to pick one’s gender and have this treated as a physical reality. One needs to ask: Did our grandparents have this same power? How about their grandparents? If so, why didn’t they use it?

How and when did this power spring into existence? Did our pre-human ancestors have these same powers? If reality itself is a social construct, was this true for all the billions of years of life before we arrived on the scene?

Look at the concept of gay marriage. Marriage has seldom been about love—a very modern idea—and the social and religious aspects of marriage were always to protect women and the children that are born from sexual congress. These couplings—and thus society—were to be protected from men and our baser desires and proclivities. 

If you want to understand slavery, look at it in the order it occurred. Doing so will show that the creation of this country was the greatest anti-slavery movement in all human history.

The entire modern history of race, ethnicity, and group rights all find their roots in backward thinking. And once we look at things in the order they occurred, taking causes of phenomena as they took place in history instead of supplying them for ourselves centuries after the fact, we quickly discover there are only individuals, who can’t be defined by the color of their skin, or where their most recent ancestors came from.

In fact, these various groupings are, at their core, false abstractions which exist nowhere in the real world. The entire problem of presentism—“the introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past”—stems from backward thinking. Presentism can’t exist if one thinks and analyzes things in the order they occurred. This ends the self-congratulating and ego-boosting process where one is “proven” to be morally superior to those hayseeds from years past based on today’s supposed enlightened beliefs. 

You don’t need to be an expert or even listen to “experts” to discover what is true and what isn’t in this confusing world of ours. Just try to mentally run the process forward from some past point in time—it might be quite distant—and you’ll be on the right track.

About John Conlin

John Conlin is an expert in organizational design and change. He holds a BS in Earth Sciences and an MBA, and is the founder and President of E.I.C. Enterprises, a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to spreading the truth here and around the world, primarily through K-12 education. He has been published in American Greatness, The Federalist, The Daily Caller, American Thinker, Houston Chronicle, Denver Post, and Public Square Magazine among others.

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