The Power of Inverse Reasoning

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“All are lunatics, but he who can analyze his delusion is called a philosopher.” ~ Ambrose Bierce

Along with the art of questioning to the nth degree, there is another philosophical skill we can learn that can turn the tables on what we think we know about reality – inverse reasoning.

Inverse reasoning is counterintuitive thinking, the ability to turn things – ideas, concepts, paradigms – upside down in order to tease them into revealing further truths that could not have been achieved by analyzing them at face value. It’s a way of turning things inside out, of dissecting what seems to be self-evident.

Inverse reasoning widens the rabbit hole, expands the wormhole, and prevents truth from being pigeonholed. It flattens the box we all so desperately try to think outside of. It turns prepackaged thought upside down. It declares that all hand-me-down, spoon-fed notions of “the way things are” must be subject to skepticism and circumspection, revealing how “truth is a staff rejected.”

The following three inverse reasoning strategies are definitely not the only ones, but they are a good place to unlearn fixed thinking.

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