Sunday, 3 November 2013

How to Spot Spurious or Flawed Arguments using CBT - 1. ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING

ALL-OR-NOTHING THINKING – Also called Black and White Thinking – Thinking of things in absolute terms, like "always", "every" or "never". For example, if your performance falls short of perfect, you see yourself as a total failure. Few aspects of human behavior are so absolute. Nothing is 100%. No one is all bad, or all good, we all have grades. To beat this cognitive distortion:

Ask yourself, "Has there ever been a time when it was NOT that way?" (all or nothing thinking does not allow exceptions so if even one exception can be found, it's no longer "all" or "nothing")

Ask yourself, "Never?" or "Always?" (depending upon what you are thinking)


Illustrations In Torah

This is common when people presume an illustration, example, or moshol is universal. Or that it is completely either or.

A possible example is for females reciting v'tzivanu when they are technically exempt EG on sitting in a Sukkah.

While they may have no Hovah, they still have a Kiyyum Mitzvah, much like even a male does on Sh'cheetah. The error is in thinking since there is zero obligation ergo V'tzivanu cannot apply. This perhaps is all-or-nothing black-and-white thinking.

Another common logic error might be
Since I cannot and may not fast on a fast day, I might as well feast. Or since I unintentionally forgot and I ate, ergo, it is pointless to complete the fast.

Both are in error.

During a fast day, a choleh eats enough to stay in good, health, but not for pleasure.

A person who b'shogeig ate on a fast day, should simply continue and consult a Rav or Poseik if he/she needs to make it up or not.

Kol Tuv,

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