Critical thinking vs Thinking critically

Is there a difference, or more to the point, what is the difference?  As you read through all my articles I hope and I believe you’ll notice a common theme running through all the articles.  I try to instill in anyone who generously takes very precious time out of their day to think about the subjects I write about.  Not to get overly emotional about the subjects, but to actually sit back and think about all the different ideas, (opinions), that are floated in the “news” media and other social media outlets.  If this isn’t apparent, please comment back to me, because it is my goal to challenge people to critically think about all the information being presented out there and not accept things blindly.  There are so many “expert” TV anchors who believe they must interpret what goes on in the world or what someone is actually saying.  I don’t know about you but when I hear someone in authority say our embassy was attacked because some poorly informed individual created a video on U-tube in order to get a laugh out of other like-minded individuals I must seriously question the motives of this person in authority.  I know immediately, neither the Anchor nor the Authority have any respect for me or my ability to process facts.  In order to understand when someone is giving you a line of BS, you have to be able to critically think about a subject.  This means, you must either do more than read the headlines in the news, (or just listen to the news anchors/comedians), or you must accept you haven’t investigated the subject enough and ignore the emotion the comments from the “authority” give rise too.  With only a few exceptions, most news anchors, political “comedians”, talk show commentators and politicians in general all use very provocative language designed to elicit an emotion of shock and indignation for whatever their particular opinion is.  So, it’s easy to understand that we all can fall into the trap laid by the emotion and step into what I define as thinking critically.  For example, if I’m not careful, I can think very critical of Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer because there is very little they say that can actually be backed up by real world experience and it’s easy to “Pop Off” and dismiss them as manipulative and walk away.  It takes much more thought to recognize exactly what they are saying and what the outcome of their ideas will bring about for all of us if it truly comes to pass.  There are a number of good people who have come to believe what Chuck and Nancy say and they pay close attention to it.  I personally don’t understand it but when I dismiss Pelosi & Schumer, I am also disrespecting all those individuals.  Pelosi and Schumer and (insert your not-so-favorite conservative) aren’t going to change their mind because they have so much invested in influencing you that they only acknowledge the facts supporting their argument, but the good people listening to them don’t have nearly as much invested in such limited thinking.  This leaves the potential open for a respectful discussion just might lead to some actual CRITICAL THINKING on their part where actual facts can be incorporated into the final conclusion.

You ask why is he even discussing this?  Well, I fell into that trap just a few hours ago, (yesterday), and someone, a very good person, posted a hilarious picture of political/social correctness gone wild.  A bakery prepared a censored graduation cake requested, no doubt, to honor the high achieving student.  It appears from the post, when they picked up the cake they found it prepared for “Signa _ _ _ Laude”.  One of the more intelligent and funny comments made reference to “Latin – who knew”, which is so appropriate for one of the obviously smartest people in the graduating class.  One of the far less intelligent comments referenced conservative opinion – censoring & a current presidents, very poor choice of words around women, prior to becoming president. An equally poor comment observed how progressives seemed to defend a past president who made arguably much poorer choices before becoming president, as well as, after becoming president.  To be very certain neither comment did anything to promote critical thinking on anyone’s part and unfortunately, I had something to do with at least one of those comments.  I’m being somewhat vague because a) I’m embarrassed that I fell into that trap, (NO MORE), and b) knowing the quality of the person who posted the picture I have no doubt the friend who posted the comment about conservatives and our current president is very likely an equally good person who probably has not been exposed to non-emotional arguments.  Did I help the discussion?  I think not, and that is the real disappointment.

In this busy world, many times, we want the information laid out before us because we are truly interested, but there’s so much we want to accomplish or just experience, that our priorities go to that immediate experience that reflects directly on us with our immediate friends and not the act of researching more information.  It’s easy to accept the worst in others who may approach life differently, for example, from the more logical, calculating business approach as opposed to the emotional type of community organizer.  The logical approach, I think, comes across cold, while the emotional sure seems to be more caring and the words have the short-term affect making you FEEL like you’re better off.  Reality is often far different, but there again, the words can make a dour situation seem better than it really is especially when compared to something worse that may or may not have happened.  Talk to all the businesses who had to close their doors because the economy barely improved over a 10-12-year period or talk to the people who ended up taking 2 jobs to try and make ends meet after the business they were working for closed their doors.  The media kept telling us how good the economy was even though we say businesses close on a regular basis

These are the discussions we should be having.  Exchanges of ideas in order to come up with a better solution than either of us could have come to on our own.  I would argue we can’t really “walk in someone else’s shoes” but we can listen to their ideas and incorporate them as we understand them.  We hear facts and ideas and immediately interpret their meaning based on our own personal experiences and based on those people who have influenced us in the past, so no one can truly walk in your shoes so-to-speak.  What we can do is listen to someone else’s ideas and discuss them on their merit.  We can show respect for them and leave ourselves open for improvement.  Since I posted that comment, I have come up with a hundred different ways to open an intelligent discussion and all I needed to do was stew on it for a few more minutes to let the obvious emotional response dissipate and then respond.  I hope my friend and her friend can let my comment pass and accept this as a recognition of a poor choice of words.

2 thoughts on “Critical thinking vs Thinking critically

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