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Monday, November 28, 2016

Paranormal Subjects And Thoughts On Critical Thinking

By Dorraine Fisher

I often chuckle when people start talking about critical thinking. Many people think they’re critical thinkers,including me at times, until I correct myself, because it’s harder to think critically than one might imagine.

According to the Foundation For Critical Thinking, critical thinking “is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action. In its exemplary form, it is based on universal intellectual values that transcend subject matter divisions: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness.”

This is a great and very thorough definition. And I was happy to see that it now acknowledges the flaw in it that I’ve been talking about for years. The flaw that comes from the humans themselves.

No human, no matter how much they claim to be a critical thinker is devoid of human flaws. We all believe lies sometimes. We all are subject to irrational or uncontrolled thinking at times. We are all slaves to our personal perceptions more often than we imagine. Real critical thinking relies a great deal on our ability to understand and control our own thoughts and recognize when our thinking is flawed. The problem is, the majority of people are unable to do this. And the most dangerous thing is that, all the while, they’ll think they’re doing it. This is why I’m a bit guarded when people claim to be critical thinkers. I’ve known very few.

It's one thing to be able to think. It's quite another to be able to think about what you think. To pick it apart and analyze it and decide if every part of it is useful or not. And it’s quite another thing entirely to be able to decide that maybe what you were thinking before is wrong. That’s where the supposed critical thinkers often hit a snag.

Even the most intelligent people get caught up in the idea of being right. Like being right is the most important thing there is. And being wrong is the equivalent of the sky falling. And the basic insecurities of humanity cloud the discussion before it even starts. Egos get in the way. They often need to feel they’re right and superior in their thinking. So, in order to achieve this, someone has to be wrong. And this is where critical thinking falls apart. Not because of critical thinking itself, but in the failure of the humans to implement it.

There are a lot of people who might roll their eyes at me when I say this, but exercising subjects like cryptozoology and the paranormal is a good practice on the subject of critical thinking. They teach us to think about what we once thought and whether we still want to believe it.

In the worlds of cryptozoology and the paranormal, there is a whole group of people whose paradigms have been forever changed by something they saw or experienced. Something that wasn’t supposed to exist, or something they didn’t believe existed.

Are these people incapable of critical thinking? Not at all. But they are, like every other member of humanity, subject to their own personal perceptions, shaped by an unusual experience. This can’t be avoided. But the important thing to remember is that the group of humans judging this person’s experience and claiming it was a figment of their imagination are also in possession of the same human flaws and personal perceptions created by their LACK of having had the same experience. So is anyone here really applying critical thinking? Not really.

If our personal perceptions get in the way of our analyzing a subject, then we’re not thinking critically. In order to be a real critical thinker, we have to recognize this problem and eliminate perception from our thought processes. We have to have the ability to clear our minds of any preconceived thoughts, beliefs, or ideas that will hinder the process of getting to the truth.
That is what critical thinking REALLY is. It’s being able to think about and analyze our own thinking and correct it when necessary. But the hardest part is recognizing when we need to do this. It’s  not an easy task, and I’ve rarely seen anyone able to do it completely. We have to  entertain the idea that we could be wrong, and that’s not easy for many people.  It takes a lifetime of self-reflection and self-analysis in order to even begin to really do this right.

So, are you a critical thinker or not? If you’ve read this article through this far, then I know you’re at least open to the idea. The real success is in implementing it. Which requires critical thinking. It’s hard being human.

Reference: The Foundation For Critical Thinking


This Post By TCC Team Member Dorraine Fisher. Dorraine is a Professional Writer, photographer, a nature, wildlife and Bigfoot enthusiast who has written for many magazines. Dorraine conducts research, special interviews and more for The Crypto Crew. Get Dorraine's book The Book Of Blackthorne!

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