Critical thinking

There’s simply nothing you should just accept at face value. You should always do your own homework.

Critical thinkers rarely take something they read or hear as fact. Critical thinkers will seek out other perspectives. The reflex action of a critical thinker is to assume there’s another side to whatever story they’re told.

What alarms me is how often you see people take a premise at face value with no questions.

There was a time in the late 60s and early 70s when the phrase “question authority” was a well-known and popular refrain.

Fast forward to 2015, and we’re getting emails from the current administration’s “Truth Team.” (The official organization is the “Organizing for Action Truth Team.”)

As a marketer, I would have cautioned any politician from having a self-described “truth team.” It just screams 1984 and Russian and German propaganda, to me.

But what really rubs me the wrong way about it is the assumption that comes with it. The message is “don’t bother doing your own research or drawing your own conclusions, we’ll tell you what to think.” It actively discourages critical thinking.

What’s worse is that it appears to be working. There are a lot of people who take what they hear as gospel without doing their homework.

Worse, still, is that the very people who gave us the “question authority” mantra are now the ones in authority telling us not to ask questions.

Show me a politician that says, “don’t take my word for it, look it up yourself,” and that’s a politician to whom I will start paying attention.

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2 Responses to Critical thinking

  1. I’ve been thinking the same thing. The Harvard Business Review had an article a good 6+ years ago. In the article, the writer mentioned that the “millennial” generation has a sheep heard mentality and it went on to show similar points and concern as you did in your blog post. The article affected me. I began to worry for the future of our society. Ever since I read that article, I’ve been promoting critical thinking, cognitive science, cognitive biases, typical thnking fallacies, psychology, systems thinking, thinking frameworks, creativity, social change, and sustainability through my blog – whether it’s writing my own content or re-blogging interesting posts like this one you wrote today. I’m promoting any subject that would help the millennial generation wake up and think for themselves.

    I think the sheep mentality is very risky to a democratic society. At the same time, I’m also seeing small but significantly conscious groups of young people out there too. I would say that they’re not only conscious, but also they are able to leverage technology to organize and promote social change. They may even be more effective at playing the civilized cultural games one needs to play in order to change things, than previous generations.

    So, we have a big majority of sheep mentality folks but also a fully-charged groups of collaborative leaders and change agents out there.

  2. Reblogged this on Framework 21 and commented:
    I’m glad someone else is noticing this troubling and risky trend in our society.

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