Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is not taught (and it’s not taught on purpose), it’s acquired.

In most schools in the United States (and elsewhere) we’re taught to simply recite back “facts” which are often not facts at all but instead, someones subjective idea(s) or beliefs.

In general, we’re not taught a structured or logical approach to any kind of problem solving, we have to seek that knowledge on our own. We’re not taught to think critically or to question too deeply, we’re taught that is “offensive”, because we all like to believe we’re “right” about everything we think.

This is a suvival/defensive mechanism that is exploited on a fundamental level from a young age and thus, most people take legitimate prodding or questioning as offensive, negative or attacking because they can’t even explain their own ideas to themselves coherently. So deep questions expose things that we’d like to remain hidden, like the embarrassment of “not knowing” something. Because of these things when someone asks “hey, can someone help with xyz..” and people start asking “why?”, almost all the time you’ll get a defensive response that boils down to “i’m offended”. Our world is constructed around rules that define any “deep analysis” of *anything* at all as “offensive” or “crazy”.

On top of this, there’s an investment on the part of some to keep things broken, chaotic or otherwise thinking of many things as “beyond your control”. If things are constantly broken or in a stale state of polarised and emotionally charged debate we tend to tire, lose focus or simply relent to these things as being “unsolveable” which only serves to profit the few that have made a business out of deceptive, predatory and harmful, products, practices or services.

This is the underlying psychology of the masses, as evidenced in any general forum or just society at large. This is how something as obviously absurd as the controversy around 9/11 can be allowed to pass almost entirely unscrutinized, unchallenged & unquestioned and actually “defended” (logic and facts be damned) by the general population.

Very few want to look too deeply because the questions and evidence that arise is too horrific and most don’t want to look at that horror out of fear or their own culpability in it.

The key to being a good teacher or (“show-er”) is analogy, because there’s no such thing as a “teacher” in the way we’ve generally been led to believe, only “show”ers. We can really only show each other the recipe to what we have done previously and explain the logic behind it, we cannot ever “know” or understand something for someone else or make them accept anything.

We cannot transplant an experience or any facts we have struggled to understand directly to someone else. With analogy, we can build someone’s willingness to understand by attaching or mapping a new subject to an already understood subject. Just spewing facts doesn’t help someone who has no clear pathway to understading. It’s like throwing all the raw materials required to build a house in a field and expecting a house to be there suddenly or with almost no effort. We must be able to explain something in our own minds and have it make complete sense, or we do not truly understand it.

Technically, all the parts are there to build it, but it takes a pathway to knowledge to understand how to combine them in a way that is useful and functional. You can probably pound a nail in with the end of a saw, but why, that’s what the hammer is for. One mistake with the electrical and the only thing that will help you is a bottle of BBQ sauce.

This is why most people stagnate on their own projects or work for others fulltime. They simply desire the endpoint (usually money, wealth or privilege in some form) without ever achieving. Not because they do not have the resources for success, but because they have no pathway to that understanding and therefore, no desire to do the actual creative work. So they must be led or managed by someone else.

When we’re born, the people around us, family / friends and our direct experiences are who / what shape our future methods, thoughts and strategies at how we see ourselves, our responsibilities and interact with the world around us as a whole.

We are essentially bio-computers, capable of self programming and, more importantly, capable of self “re”-programming whenever we want. Acceptance of this fact, by direct association, necessarily means we accept personal responsibility.