Thinking Critically

I have spent most of my life assuming that if I could sit down with someone from the other side, we could reason out our differences and come to a common conclusion. Most people we meet in life share a standard set of beliefs and therefore have more in common than they do uncommon. So how is it that we find ourselves with such opposition?

Through the turmoil of the last few years, I have had the opportunity to converse with people I fundamentally disagree with. I’ve tested my thesis repeatedly and been left wanting with every discourse. Over the months, I’ve come to a few conclusions that I’d like to share here.

The first conclusion was the simplest and pointed to a fundamental issue with education. Critical thinking skills are entirely lacking in most government-run and private school curriculums. We have 12 years of English training that no one remembers a tenth of, but not a single course on critical thinking. It is the primary reason any parent wishing to have functional children should remove them from the school system and do their own training.
Lacking the ability to think critically is a desired result from the government’s perspective. Critical thinking would allow you to see through the false propaganda being fed to trick and manipulate the populace. How would they ever convince blacks and whites to continue hating each other if we could see the tricks they use to make it appear to be the case?

The next issue relates somewhat to critical thinking but engrains itself much deeper. I will describe this issue by example: If a religious person gets into a debate with an agnostic person, it will only be a few minutes before the religious person lashes out with something rude and walks away from the conversation entirely.
The reason for this response is quite simple. A religious person is not arguing from a position of opinion but from a place of belief. They don’t believe in religion; they “Are” religious. Therefore, anyone arguing against their faith is not having a logical debate about religion but, instead, is questioning them personally. This forces the religious person to view the discussion as a personal attack instead of a rational argument and makes for an impossible conversation.

You can label all of the arguments in the public square today in this same light. Want to talk about global warming? You can’t because the person you’re conversing with “IS” global warming and will take personally any point you make. It is not that they can’t see facts; instead, they never hear them because they’re too upset with your attack to listen. The entire debate is personal instead of an objective conversation.

You can see examples of this all around you. It is like the people of the world have gone insane about everything. They have wholly placed their faith in electric cars saving the world, and any attack against that belief will be met as if it were a personal attack on them. How do you convince someone that you want to discuss the toxic environmental studies that prove the most corrupting technology today is mining and building batteries for electric cars when they are taking everything personally and not listening?

Parents need to have practical discussions with their kids about everything. Give them examples of real-world subjects like global warming to research, and then have conversations to discuss it. If you’ve already made up your mind about something, then you are no longer thinking. Always look for holes in your beliefs and try to improve on them. Never think you know everything about a subject, as there is always a different point of view.

We all need to ensure we don’t “become” the things we believe. Things we feel are true one day may change as we learn new things. If you become what you believe, it will be almost impossible to change your mind, as it won’t be your opinion changing, but your very self.

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