Critical thinking is a class everyone needs to take.
Listening to the news interviews during the election season made me shudder with distaste and fear. There are more people who know nothing about critical thinking skills, articulation of thought and argumentative reasoning than I once believed there were. With so many people going to college in our world today, I would have expected that a few of them would have been interviewed and could express themselves clearly. I guess my expectations were too high that many people had already been instructed in the art of critical thinking. The masses appear to be decidedly determined to listen to media spin and the mighty opinions that control the information feed we call news.
I find it most interesting that people enjoy using fallacies in their arguments, detailing how someone is a communist, an idiot or any number of racial slurs that hearken us back to about 100 years or more ago. The defenses people discuss are illustrative of "news-speak" as one might find in the very old literary story: "1984". There are no justifications or evidence for the vitriol, merely strategically placed words that appear to illustrate intelligence. But there is where there is an epic fail. Instead of being intelligent, they come across like buffoons, spouting information as though they were facts and dispelling others counterarguments as incongruous to their own beliefs.
Everyone needs to spend a semester or more working with critical thinking in order to understand how their beliefs were formed and in order to ascertain if they are in fact their own values, or that of a wider base who has corralled them into their corner. We really do not know what we think until we spend time dissecting and looking at it. We form preconceived notions that appear to be what the truth is to some, but we have not examined it for ourselves many times The key is not to be driven to change beliefs, if you do not choose to, but to be open to listening about new ideas with the caveat that one can take what works for them and leave the rest. This time spent in conjecture is what makes us brilliantly individual.
There are many people who are unwilling to move forward in their lives, living in a comfortable shell that has been worn out and in need of replacement! Change is constant and to remain mired in the ideas people espoused hundreds of years ago without any thought to update them makes the world stagnate and rot after awhile
Argumentation is not fighting, it is discussion that asks us to take a stance and defend it while allowing the opportunity to see the world through a clearer lens that allows for growth. If I remain thinking in the same way my 19 year old self did, I always remain 19 in my mind. It does not allow room for any ideas to progress and to bring new ideas and wisdom into my world.
Every student needs to take a critical thinking class to show them how to open ones mind to differing ideas and opinions. To allow for people to share their experiences and offer their views in a world that is defined daily by the very people who live in it.When I hear outdated remarks and verbal prejudice being spewed I realize just how volatile people are and how closed minded they allow themselves to be. The world is moving ahead, but some of the people in it remain mired in quicksand. But it is shifting sand of ones own making. There is always a choice to look at the way you think about something and to work to be a more tolerant and compassionate person, if you allow yourself to critically think and improve your ability to look at somethign in a new way