When learning advanced concepts way too fast, the I Believe Switch (IBS) becomes an essential learning tool. I used to think that my IBS was Navy issue equipment, but once I'd gotten some experience knowingly using it, I realized not only have I had one all along, but it's perhaps the most useful tool most of us have to cope with reality.

In some parts of the real world, the IBS is actually referred to by its less technical name, faith. When put in that context it makes a bit more sense. The IBS is really the ground-laying tool before most deep knowledge comes about. You start life with, "I don't know why the sun comes up every morning, but I believe it does." Eventually you learn about the heliocentric model of the solar system, nuclear fusion, the rotation of the earth et cetera. But initially... I believe the sun comes up. In the process it's used as well... when first given the statement "The world is round," the IBS is necessary. To most of us it no longer seems like that would take faith, or even pose cognitive dissonance- but from a five year old's perspective it's rather unintuitive. Once you've flipped the switch, and accepted the dissonant statement- or at least, given it the time of day- you allow yourself to critically examine evidence, and more importantly you have opened your mind to the possibility which you've already halfway accepted. Then I tell you, the angle of the sun is substantially different from different parts of the world, ocean currents flow in consistent directions, the horizon exists at a finite distance, ships don't fall off the edge, and space travel works. Now you can basically turn off the IBS, because what you needed to take on faith to understand now makes sense... once something makes sense, it no longer requires suspension of disbelief.

The principle purpose of an IBS is to temporarily overcome cognitive dissonance, which is to say, the natural uncomfortable reaction when given a piece of information or a state of affairs that simply doesn't make sense.

IBS is an incredibly essential tool to understanding electronics. Remember, voltage of the zener goes up, so voltage of the zener goes down.. right. Semiconductors make Ohm sad. Current flows through the big inductor and the capacitor instead of through the little inductor, even though it follows the path of least resistance and can't flow through capacitors... hold on, let me reach up there... OK, I believe. (Most Nukes seem to keep our IBSs at the base of our skulls, where Neo plugs into the Matrix.) Voltage goes up so current goes down? I believe. See, all of these things make sense eventually, given sufficient information. But sometimes that information is not given (for time constraints or any other reason) until the following test... not good.

There is a frightening connection between proper IBS usage and Doublethink. In fact the two are, in operation, largely the same. True Doublethink operates by having a short in your IBS; the function never turns off, and all contradictory statements can be accepted. Indeed that is probably a bad thing, and hence we have a switch. To think one thing and simultaneously believe the opposite thing to be true is not really a good idea for everyday living. But it has its place. Really, if you think about it an open mind requires an IBS. After all the very notion of openmindedness is to accept the possibility that what you currently believe may well be wrong. It is only by saying, on some level, "I believe" to the alternative that you can TRULY give it a chance, assess it from its own perspective, and, with both contradictory beliefs enabled, make an informed decision.

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