Critical Thinking 101

Although I can’t speak for anyone else, I’ve realized that allowing your daily motivations to be fed by rage doesn’t serve much of a constructive purpose.

A big shock, I know.

But don’t misunderstand me on this — I think primal, hardcore venting is conducive to almost every healing process, and should be allowed to continue for as long as necessary. But once the emotions have been fully unleashed, dwelling on what can’t be changed is an exercise in futility.

A big shock, I know.

Even though I was enmeshed in a horribly egoic hissy fit the other day, and considered shutting my website down for good, I woke this morning with a desire to punch some keys on my laptop one more time.

Why?

Because I keep forgetting the purpose of this forum is to expand the condition we know as “being human” — which is really a watered-down euphemism for exploring consciousness, truth, reality, and the very nature of existence.

So let’s talk about some basics when it comes to personal growth and expansion of the creature we know as “self.”

Our main focus today will be something that was added to a tally of endangered items many moons ago. It’s listed just under the blue whale, black rhino, flip-top phone, and people who say, “that doesn’t make a lick of sense!”

The subject in question?

Critical Thinking.

So what is critical thinking?

It’s not a difficult concept to understand — basically a diligent awareness to unbiasedly assess any information being proferred.

But it is a difficult skill to put effectively into practice.

Why?

The status quo. Conditioning. Programming. Self-defense mechanisms. Trust in authority figures. Insecurity, confusion, past personal trauma, habits, laziness, and about a billion other reasons that I could easily layout as a treatise for a thousand-page book I just considered writing.

But let’s forget about that last paragraph for a moment…

When exactly did we lose our ability to think for ourselves?

No specific moment is easily quantified. When the people you unwaveringly trusted most to guide you through the game of life gave you mixed messages by telling you to put faith in magic bunnies, tooth fairies, long-haired deities, and fat jolly fuckers sliding down a chimney to give you free gifts if you proved yourself worthy enough, well, I can totally understand why most adult minds are twisted and fucked up.

And despite the endless hypocritical and contradictory “do as I say, not as a do” attitudes we were inundated with as younglings, we still find ourselves desperately clinging to the notion authority figures ultimately have our best interests at heart.

A strange thing.

Pretty much everyone I know will share the sentiment that politicians are liars and charlatans — arseholes ready to say anything you want to hear to get elected. But when the next voting cycle rears its ugly head, all the previous deceptions and broken promises from these power-mad, wastes-of skin end up forgotten, making one wonder if short-term memory loss, or brain-dead amnesia might be the definable traits of the modern human genome.

Pretty much everyone I know intuitively understands that advertisements and media campaigns are created with the sole purpose of manipulating society’s fears and emotions (to encourage the purchase of worthless shit that’ll never do anything to further a goal of standing on Mt. Happiness), yet they’ll still gather at their allegorical water-coolers, day in, day out, to regale one another with the lastest humourous anecdotes (referred to as commercials) endured during the many 2-minute interruptions of the perpetually senseless, violent dramas they lovingly label “my show,” and pretend to be immune from the intended manipulations and deceptions, all the while wearing Axe cologne, some variation of skinny jean fashion that hasn’t quite gone out of style yet, and constantly checking their newest model iPhone.

With even just these two commentaries in mind, it seems absurd that people still willingly turn on their telescreen machines, on a daily basis, to absorb the latest diarrhea called “news,” and accept it as “fact,” — snippets to be shared verbatim with other humans equally resonating “in the know.”

The failure point of critical thinking lies in belief systems.

Again, this is a treatise for a larger body of work, but let’s summarize a few key points quickly, before your attention wavers to videos of dogs wearing hats, or the latest worldwide death toll count, warranting forbidden socialization with 4 or more members of your family, lest you all succumb to the fake black plague.

You cannot think critically if you don’t have an open mind. If you don’t have an open mind, you will forever be controlled by the status quo — by the information the majority of humans accept as “unquestionably correct.”

Do not attempt to be an outsider or dissident! Do not go against the grain! Follow where the herd leads, and you will reap the rewards of an obedient citizen!

If a “peer-respected” anthropologist, in a documentary on HBO, made a case to you about undiscovered primates who live xenophobically in remote pockets of rainforests or jungles, and provided you with bizarre DNA samples never seen before, all the while using a shitload of big, fancy words while wearing a faggoty white lab coat, there’s a good chance you might consider the ideas he was attempting to share as worthy of consideration.

But if some dude in a plaid jacket, missing a couple teeth, told you a 10-foot hairy ape raided his hunting camp, and left massive tracks in the mud that he captured in a plaster cast as proof, well, you know exactly what your response would be:

Bullshit, you fucking loser! Everyone knows there’s no such thing as bigfoot, aliens, or the Loch Ness monster.

Why is this an instinctive reaction?

Because the media has trained us well. Anything beyond the accepted paradigm is relegated to tin-foil-hat-wearing-conspiracy-theory-nutjob-asshole dismissal.

Anyone out there familiar with pandas?

Yeah, that’s right, they’re those cute and cuddly black and white bears, locked in a zoo, eating bamboo shoots, and forever cursed with reproductive issues.

But as little as a hundred and fifty years ago, that animal was considered myth, nonsense, fantasy. Why? Because mainstream society was told as much.

When the first (Westernised) tales of this magical animal were told, no one but the indigenous population believed. 60 years later, only when a creature was finally snared, did the history books get an update. Amazingly, it actually took until the 1980’s to even capture a snapshot of a panda in the wild. So what does that say about our society and science that “knows” everything?

Not a fuck of a lot.

At any given point in the history of humanity, the current culture unfailingly adheres to the belief they know it all. Everything has been discovered, everything is scientifically proven, everything we know is cutting edge. If anyone disagrees with consensus information, their ideas and evidence, no matter how meticulously gathered, will be dismissed with prejudice.

So let’s tie this all together before the need to write a new book.

Technology is fantastic. The internet is incredible. The amount of information at our fingertips is unprecedented.

But it comes with a cost.

If you do a Google search to find confirmation of something you “believe to be true,” you will always find it.

Always.

And if you keep looking, you will just as easily find information that diametrically opposes everything you seek to justify.

Always.

Critical thinking involves taking in as much information as possible, from both the sources you “trust,” and the ones you deem “unworthy.” It involves understanding the motivations of your source — is the agenda to sell you shit, or is this someone ready to lose their tenure at Harvard by sharing information they know will destroy them professionally? A singular forum will NEVER complete the big picture. Every observation you unbiasedly absorb widens your perspective on understanding this game we call reality. The research NEVER ends — unless of course you make a decision to bury your head in the sand, and let the puppet masters think for you.

If you choose to engage society wearing a disposable face-mask and non-biodegradable plastic gloves you change 14 times a day, while bathing your balls continuously in toxic alcohol sanitizer and forever standing 6 feet away from people who aren’t sick (and never will be), waiting for the day the media tells you “Everything is Safe! Carry on with your shitty lives once again,” then that’s your call.

But if you get a queasy feeling in your gut, or a strange sensation in your heart crying out, “this shit ain’t right, why am I tolerating this?” well, the ball’s in your court as well to do something about it.

More pandas are out there.

You don’t need to believe in them to find them.

All you have to do is be open to their existence.

What's on your mind?