Where Are The Critical Thinkers ?
© 2008 J Picken
Today’s society seems full of people living in a self imposed box. There tends to be a lack of ability to think outside the square or apply a varying range of views to individual concepts. Firstly, let us define critical thinking.
“Critical thinking consists of mental processes of discernment, analysis and evaluation. It includes possible processes of reflecting upon a tangible or intangible item in order to form a solid judgment that reconciles scientific evidence with common sense.”
Somewhere along the track, we as a collective have lost the common sense component, sure we compile the scientific evidence, in fact we tend to rely too heavily on the proven instead of looking beyond that for answers. Science does not have answers for every aspect of our universe, let alone our existence on Earth. Science cannot cure many health afflictions despite the many decades of their continuation.
So that now brings us to discernment. Our judgement has been harshly affected by the society we live in, the influences we are subjected to, either knowingly or unknowingly. We are influenced by the climate of politics and media, often finding our own opinions are based on less then objective materials to begin with. Therefore, how are we able to provide clear and unbiased discernment without the distortion of the most basic information we require. Are we truly able to view anything objectively and make a sound judgement to contribute to the critical thinking process?
Analysis or correlating. If we cannot secure unbiased information to explore, our completed analysis will be misleading. Analysis needs to be based on solid facts, whether scientific in nature or not. Discernment actually encroaches into the department of analysis, after all both have similarities throughout their process and isn’t analysis a type of discernment?
Evaluation should be drawn from our discernment and analysis. It should weigh the pros and cons. It should form an answer for what we seek. The answers should lie within the finalisation of an evaluation and should therefore provide the final direction and final step of the critical thinking process.
Everyone’s heard of the saying “look outside the square”, well this describes the complete critical thinking practice because by completing each step, we are indeed on a grand search to find answers from every quarter. We should not dismiss any answers forthcoming from such a process, but carefully study the likelihood and success of application. Since we have already established that not all answers will be tangible, especially in the eyes of science, it would be folly to overlook all possibilities.
There is a distinct lack of ability to fully apply the critical thinking process and to be honest; this is reflective of our thinking abilities being suppressed by extrinsic factors, of which we remain totally naive. We are much too used to being told how to think, sadly most of the time we do not even recognise this fact. Our society is slowly becoming sheep like in nature perhaps that is the grand plan ~ mass creation of stupidity.
Break free of the box you live in.
Where are the critical thinkers?