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Monday, June 15, 2020

Perception: The Roadblock To Logic And Critical Thinking
By Dorraine Fisher

I’m out to prove that logic and critical thinking are the biggest ruses ever perpetuated onto the human race. Or at least to make people think about them a little bit deeper and question what these terms are really suggesting. Until we all turn into Vulcans like Mr. Spock from Star Trek and can stoically and methodically analyze our own thoughts, we need to scrap these ideas entirely.

According to Merriam-Webster, logic is a science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration: the science of the formal principles of reasoning.

I’ve always found this definition troublesome because it doesn’t clarify where these “formal principles of reasoning” come from. It doesn’t allow for the inevitable personal perceptions of the one who is attempting to be “reasonable.” Every single person you talk to believes they’re being reasonable or logical, but it’s based on their own perceptions of what reasonable and logical mean to them personally.  And it’s based on their personal perceptions of the subject they’re attempting to be logical about.

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 and acknowledges the discipline itself that’s required in order to implement such thought processes.

In a nutshell, in order to be a TRUE logician or critical thinker, you must be able to eliminate any preconceived ideas you may have about the subject you’re analyzing. You need to be able to clear your head of any perceptions you might have that would skew your ability to be logical about it.   I.E. if you have the preconceived idea that something or someone is stupid or evil, you are absolutely unable to think critically about them. Until you can erase those beliefs from your psyche and start with a clean slate with no judgments about the subject, you can’t really say you have the ability to think critically or think logically about it. You would only be projecting your own perceptions onto it, which would do more harm than good. Which is arguably a big problem in society.

No human, no matter how much they claim to be logical or critical thinking, 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, scrap all our preconceived notions about the subject, and recognize when our thinking is flawed. The problem is, the majority of people are unable to do this. And the most dangerous thing about this 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. Or to decide that your preconceived ideas about the subject might be clouding your thinking about it.  That’s where the supposed logicians and 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 there is no one who can get caught in the trap of ego more than an educated person. The work they did to acquire an education is commendable. But by virtue of their education and the work they did to attain it,  they often believe they MUST be right. But having an education, no matter how high a level that education might be, does not mean that person is capable of clear, unencumbered thought processes.

And the basic insecurities of humanity cloud the discussion before it even starts. Egos get in the way. People 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 understand the importance of getting it right and to implement it that way.

If our personal perceptions get in the way of our analyzing a subject, then we’re not being logical. 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.

Being a real logician or critical thinker takes a great deal of fortitude and much deeper thinking than many people can muster. But if you can manage to muster it,  it can mean the difference between being self-righteous and actually having the true capacity for sound reasoning.


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 Bigfoot Research Journal

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