The second part of the ‘Four Attainments’ series. Today we’ll visit the idea of intellectual attainment and learnings. We learn about all manner of opinions and thoughts on the internet and social media. The issue is not everything is worth assigning to memory! And of course, once listened to or read: bang it’s in mind.
Many Aspects of One Subject
So what can you do about the problem?
Let’s consider critical thinking. Many people use the phrase like a sword, and the reality is they do not understand the principle of critical thinking. The word critical in this instance means reviewing with exceptional clarity: not critical as in criticising a situation or individual.
The critical thinker will use simple language and words. Recently I read an article about ‘critical thinking’ – the complicated and full of ‘dictionary required’ opening words indicated flawed thinking and intellectual arrogance. Never be intimidated by qualifications or the superior-inferior! Incidentally the second you hear the phrase ‘I qualify in…’ you can bet that’s about all the individual can contribute. There are plenty of people will alphabets of letters after their names which spell nothing.
Critical thought does not need to be right or wrong. The idea is too read and think about a subject. And find as many diverse aspects on the subject as possible. Learn to review without emotion. Yes, this isn’t easy. However, it is part of the process.
Do not be afraid to offer a suggestion or share an article no matter what the content! You are not offering an option, you are prompting a reaction, and this is a potent way of assessing other people feelings or perception of an issue. You are not provocative; the idea is to review how people think and organise their minds after listening to a counter-point.
Remember, if Crazy Jack has an opinion about frogs and smart thinker Joe has an opposing idea about the green reptiles: nothing will sway their opinions. Training the mind to listen to both aspects and weigh-up the view-points: is powerful thinking practice: and not forming a view is the height of sharp thinking!. Critical thinking is about thinking: not about winning arguments!
The King is Right ~ The people are WRONG!
Some people use an aspect of thinking called conformational-bias: this is where an issue is cherry-picked for the good points, and any harmful elements are ignored. Politicians are adept at the practice; ironically, those two oppose the politician’s views use the same process! For example, many who opposed leaving the EU seem hell-bent on looking for reasons for the separation to cause the failure of their country’s infrastructure. The wise thinker accepts the inevitable and seeks ways of making the best of the situation. Again, challenging but not impossible.
A good thinker is not influenced by bullying or emotional blackmail. We see plenty of this on social media streams. Learn to read and listen to both or the many aspects of an issue and try not to form opinions: the potential of multifaceted thinking is key to success in every part of one’s life.
Clear thinking is not philosophy or psychology! Both are connected to thought and reasoning, but the philosopher and psychologist often have well-defined opinions about the review and the outcomes of thinking. For example, I read a philosophers opinion that most new age people have right-wing tendencies: you will have to consider this suggestion with care: does one have to be of a political argument to follow or consider esoteric subjects? And yes: new age is decade’s old and not always mysterious. .Another example was listening to a phycologist who could not see the way a majority of people were considering a national issue: he said they were idiots: a questionable attitude? No: an observation: you’ll have to consider the two examples and learn to consider the reasons people make their comments.
It is possible you can see that open-minded reasoning provides an in-depth insight into people’s characters. For example, I watched an Australian police officer arrest a girl who was small and clearly in distress. No doubt, she was aggressive in her reaction; however, the male officer was violent, and the video shows he is restricting her breathing. It turns out that she is not wearing a mask and he has, rather than ask why: he’s chosen to arrest her. Later the police make a statement that she was medically exempt from wearing a mask and the fine would not be enforced. What do we learn from the video? Is the officer in fear? Is the girl unreasonable? What would the officer’s wife think after seeing how he arrests young women? Is the apology enough? What damage does the video do to the reputation of the police? Yes! More questions: however, can you consider the situation from all sides? If you can, you’re on to an expansive and rewarding way of thinking.
During life, we enter into many situations where the memory causes anger and frustration when the issue is recalled. During the week, you’ll see, listen, or read about a topic and think ‘that’s not right’ or ‘I don’t agree with that’. And for sometime later you’ll become agitated when recalling the problem. Once one begins to think with an open mind: you become interested in the whole picture, not only a personal standpoint. And this attitude lessens the tension, which causes anxiety and sometimes depression.
Open-minded thinking can help you negotiate life with better understanding and fairness. It will not change society, or another’s opinion. Critical thinking will make life more comfortable and more successful. You’ll not gain friends, and you’ll find people will think your statements or observations are from a personal perspective, not one of suggestion to see a reaction or counter-point.
So, the second part of the ‘Four Attainments’ is to consider thinking about thinking, which is no easy task and seemingly not worth the effort. Think again! How would you feel if you could go to bed at night not in anger or frustration, but with the thought, I need to know more, I need to learn more, and relax to sleep? Clear thinking is one way to be secure in mind and free to reason.