Sunday, September 4, 2011

Critical Thinking

It's a catch phrase in education. It's what supposed to be taught to students. It's what intelligent, thinking adults should possess. Yet often I believe it is the aspect that is most missing in our society. Critical thinking. It is the ability to come to conclusion based on evidence, logic, thought, observation, analysis, and experience. Unfortunately, it requires some work, and that's why I believe so many people opt out of critical thinking and prefer to be told what to think.

I'm on this rant because an acquaintance posted an inflammatory, "cutesy" political remark, and I called her on it. It wasn't logical, and I pointed out the flaw in the reasoning. Now granted, it was smart-ass of me, but it pissed me off. She proceeded to throw more sound bites at me that wandered further from the original topic of the post, and then her friend joined in, calling me a patronizing name (which made me just laugh-- that's how to win a debate--by resorting to name calling) and waving the patriotism flag, which of course is often the last resort when no valid arguments can be made.

Don't talk to me about patriotism. My parents escaped an oppressive, totalitarian regime by crawling through miles of mud and snow with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My mom had a new coat for the first time in her life, and her heart broke that she had to ruin it in the dirt by escaping. My parents lived in a refugee camp for two years after escaping. They had the chance to move to three other countries, but they held out for the chance to come to the United States. (These were my bedtime stories growing up--what their life was like, what they went through to come here, and what life was like when they started here.)

But that doesn't mean I accept what is told to me without evidence or proof. The political pundits on the radio and TV for the most part like to hear themselves talk, and several have been shown to stretch the truth so many times that it's a wonder they still have a job. But of course they do, because people would rather believe what is told to them than learn about an issue and think it through for themselves. It's easier.

Incredibly, thinking for yourself was a theme in so many of the novels I taught my students: And Then There Were None; The Crucible; Huckleberry Finn; I, Robot. Unfortunately too many people are willing to be led instead of questioning why they follow.
Sorry about the rant, but it's really a shame.

Books I am Reading now:
Seduce me in Dreams by Jacquelyn Frank
Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen by JK Rowling

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