Every mind is a blend
Our minds are a blend of ourselves and everyone around us at that time.
Human beings combine their thinking in order to think better.
This is natural and satisfying because a human being’s natural purpose is to improve.
Evaluate thoughts on their own merit
We have to evaluate the idea based on its own merit, weighting heavily it’s impact on the real world. This goes for things we think, say, hear, and read.
It doesn’t really matter where we heard it, or think we heard it, or who said it, or who we think said it.
If it is a good idea that will make things better and makes sense, then it is good. If it is a bad idea that will make things worse or doesn’t make sense, then it is bad.
There’s no way to “trust” certain sources of thought because they could change at any moment, depending on what goes in their blender.
Here in the western world we are taught to think for ourselves and to identify with our thinking.
In eastern countries this is not so much the case. Many people are taught to think for themselves, but each person views their own thinking from a much greater distance. Thinking is more like weather, or digestion– a natural process that we can work with but never really control.
Eastern cultures also focus on the social aspects of thinking much more than we do. Here in the US we live with the illusion that all of our thinking originates in us (and subsequently is our fault).*
There is a field of study called social neuroscience, that has found that people think very differently when they are together than they do when apart. From wikipedia:
In fact, we now recognize the considerable impact of social structures on the operations of the brain and body. These social factors operate on the individual through a continuous interplay of neural, neuroendocrine, metabolic and immune factors on brain and body, in which the brain is the central regulatory organ and also a malleable target of these factors.
Neuroscience research is strange though. They often seem content to report the same findings year after year. The papers read like this: “There are like these areas in the brain? That do things? And it’s complicated? Can’t really say more.”
*When I was in college I wrote a paper for a great philosophy class on ways we know things. I came up with a three-part model, 1) perceptions, 2) reasoning and 3) inspiration. Like a body with a mind and a little satellite dish on top of its head. And I got an A+!