September 18, 2020

The Critical Thinking Void

Most readers have run across the term “critical thinking.” So, let’s see what Google has to say about critical thinking : “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment.”

Let’s examine this statement. Let’s begin with the last part of this: “in order to form a judgement.” What is judgement? “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.” Can we come to an understanding on this word “judgement?” Not if it involves sensibility.

Ability: 1. “possession of the means or skill to do something.” 2. talent, skill, or proficiency in a particular area.”

Sensible: 1. “(of a statement or course of action) chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence; likely to be of benefit.” 2. readily perceived; appreciable.”

In order to form a judgement, utilizing “critical thinking” skills, one must possess the means or skill, i.e. have talent or proficiency, to reach a conclusion that is considered to be chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence, that is likely to be of benefit (to someone or something) and thus often recognizable and appreciable. Got it?

Let’s look closer at the definition given for “critical thinking.”

Critical thinking is “the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue.” Three keys words are present in this statement that require further analysis (woops! Sorry).

Analysis: “detailed examination of the elements or structure of something, typically as a basis for discussion or interpretation.”

Examination: “a detailed inspection or investigation.”

Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.”

From above we should have gained understanding about how to form a judgement. But first, we must understand that a person must have ability to put together a detailed examination, inspection, and investigation of a subject matter. Not only does one have to possess this ability but for their judgement to be sensible or hold any real benefit to someone or something, the analysis must be objective.

If you haven’t figured this out yet, this is extremely difficult to do, but it certainly does not stop the pretenders.

From a so-called professional level, in the post-normal world we live, judgements passed on to the public are not objective and few contain any real depth of analysis and evaluation. Outcome-based research does not require critical thinking.

On a near daily basis I read or listen to others make such bizarre statements as, “You’re reading the wrong stuff!” or “You really need to read what so-and-so wrote about such-and-such. It’s fact!” “I am the one with the truth!”

It is not a stretch to exclaim that critical thinking in it’s purest sense, does not exist in this world. One can discuss the level of anyone’s ability to carry out an objective, and thorough examination of any subject. What’s perhaps most difficult to have any influence over is a person’s objectivity – in other words they harbor no influences from anyone or anything. It is impossible to be objective when there’s money involved. Isn’t money involved in everything?

I also suppose there is argument that can be made as to whether a “detailed inspection or investigation” into another person’s analysis is factual, beyond the fact they may have cited another person. Failure to examine opposing ideas, most often perpetuates the echo chamber effect.

From the social side of things, what is nearly 100% of the time being presented as “fact,” is nothing but someone’s opinion, void of any critical thinking skills, rattling around in the echo chambers of social media. Mostly likely what is promoted as fact is nothing but propaganda, created for reasons other than to create knowledge. It is a far cry to draw a conclusion based on the employment of critical thinking, utilizing the skills necessary for analysis and evaluation, than it is to pass on a piece of propaganda garbage most likely designed to foment hatred, anger and most importantly to assure that the masses remain ignorant at all costs. After all, knowledge is an absolute threat to the fascists who want to control your every move.

Lost, probably by design, is to know the difference between an opinion and honest, deep, forensic analysis.

We are all guilty of taking what we think sounds good and perpetuating it as fact. It is what we are programmed to do. People of today cannot begin to see that the reason for their anger and hostility toward other people – you know, from that other political party – is because 99% of the people, or more, wouldn’t know, and don’t care to know, what information holds value because it was derived honestly. In addition, they will not take the time to do the work. The purveyors of dirty, rotten, filth in media (this includes Facebook, Twitter, etc.) know that and take full advantage of you. Those of us who work exceptionally hard to carry out the analyses, employing critical thinking skills, are ridiculed and disregarded on a continuing basis. But we persist.

I used to have a quote in the banner at the top of this website that said, “The highest form of ignorance is to disregard something you don’t know anything about.” – Wayne Dyer

I remember the day when a drive-by troll stopped long enough to comment that he thought I was the  ignorant one, because I had the quote and published stuff he didn’t agree with. I removed the quote. Not because this drive-by criticized it, but because I realized the quote was inaccurate. I witnessed a higher form of ignorance.

I don’t spend the time to present stuff that I expect you will agree with. Using critical thinking skills, I present my analysis. What you do with it is your business.

I have been asked before, “Are you a republican?” I calmly answer “No.”

“Are you a democrat?” Again the answer is “No.”

“Independent?” – “No.”

“Libertarian?” – “No.”

“Then what are you?” Answer: “A man with a brain.”

And I thank my Creator everyday for the skills to research and think critically.

I am so Blessed!

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