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Be all that you can be

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by coberst, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Be all that you can be

    No, I am not suggesting that you join the Marines!

    “The religious believer assigns dignity to whatever his religion holds sacred—a set of moral laws, a way of life, or particular objects of worship. He grows angry when the dignity of what he holds sacred is violated.” Quote from “The End of History and the Last Man”.

    To what does the non believer assign dignity? If the non believer does not assign dignity to rationality and self-actualization, upon what foundation does s/he stand? If the non believer does depend upon rationality and self-actualization for dignity how is it possible that so few know anything about such matters?

    Abraham Maslow tells us that there are two processes necessary for self-actualization: self exploration and action. Self exploration is very important, the deeper the self exploration, the closer one comes to self-actualization. Self-actualization results from our desire to actualize our potential. As the Marines might say “Be all that you can be”.

    I think that the area in which Western society fails most egregiously is in the matter of an intellectual life after schooling. We have a marvelous brain that goes into the attic after schooling is complete and is brought out only occasionally on the job or when we try to play bridge or chess.

    It appears to me that the fundamental problem faced by most Western democracies is a lack of intellectual sophistication of the total population. Our colleges and universities have prepared young people to become good producers and consumers. The college graduate has a large specialized database that allows that individual to quickly enter the corporate world as a useful cog in the machine. The results display themselves in our thriving high standard of living, high technology corporate driven life styles.

    Our schools and colleges are beginning to introduce our young people to the domain of knowledge called Critical Thinking. CT is taught because our educators have begun to recognize that teaching a young person what to think is not sufficient for the citizens of a democracy in an age of high technology. CT is an attempt to teach young people how to think. Like the adage about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish, a youngster who knows how to think is prepared for a lifetime rather than for a day.

    What about today’s adult? Today’s adult was educated in a time when schools and colleges never gave universal instruction in the art and science of thinking—rationality.

    If today’s adult wishes to learn CT s/he must learn it on their own nickel. I think a good read to begin with is this one
    http://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Educ/EducHare.htm
     
  2. USMC the Almighty

    USMC the Almighty New Member

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    ...though you should.
     
  3. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    They teach Critical Thinking to 17-18 year olds in Britain now at AS level.

    Its not as good as you think, I know the syllabus. You don't really critically think, you just question every source and every piece of content from everything you read for most of the course.
     
  4. GovernmentCheese

    GovernmentCheese New Member

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    You ain't gonna like me. :)
     
  5. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    I understand your frustration. I think that our first problem is to teach our teachers. The second problem is to teach the parents and all adults what CT is.

    We must remember that few adults have any idea what Ct is about. Our educational system and our society are very ignorant of the most fundamental aspects of what reason is and about the importance of learning how to use this faculty of reason.

    All of this might explain why we have failed to create a better society.
     
  6. Segep

    Segep Member

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    Good luck with that. We've been trying to do that for 10,000 years. Figure that one out and you'll go down in the history books. Or get crucified. Or both.
     
  7. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    Trust me, I know the subject very well. It sounds like a very good subject to have on your CV. The ability to critically think will always come in handy. Wether or not the subject actually teaches you how to critically think is another matter.
     
  8. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Join with me on the Internet discussion forums and carry the message to the people. CT gives power to the people.
     
  9. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    It doesn't give power to the people in any way, shape or form.
     
  10. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    I think that you do not know CT. You probably know critical thinking which means trust but verify.
     
  11. 9sublime

    9sublime Active Member

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    I know the syllabus for teaching Critical Thinking to teenagers in British schools very well. It isn't quite as mind opening as the name implies.
     
  12. coberst

    coberst New Member

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    Making good judgments is an important and complex matter. There are bad judgments, good judgments, and better judgments. To make better judgments requires many kinds of knowledge, skills, and character traits all working together.

    Our schools and colleges are beginning to teach these things but it is an effort that is just beginning and it is a difficult one to accomplish.

    Just to give you an idea of what CT is about I have copied the following info from the Internet:

    This info was taken from workbooks for classes K-12. This list is found in the following handbooks: Critical Thinking Handbook: k-3, Critical Thinking Handbook: 4-6, Critical Thinking Handbook: 6-9, Critical Thinking Handbook: High School.


    A. Affective Strategies
    S-1 thinking independently
    Thru
    S-9 developing confidence in reason

    B. Cognitive Strategies - Macro-Abilities
    S-10 refining generalizations and avoiding oversimplifications
    Thru
    S-26 reasoning dialectically: evaluating perspectives, interpretations, or theories

    C. Cognitive Strategies - Micro-Skills
    S-27 comparing and contrasting ideals with actual practice
    Thru
    S-35 exploring implications and consequences

    S-1 Thinking Independently

    Principle: Critical thinking is independent thinking, thinking for oneself. Many of our beliefs are acquired at an early age, when we have a strong tendency to form beliefs for irrational reasons (because we want to believe, because we are praised or rewarded for believing). Critical thinkers use critical skills and insights to reveal and reject beliefs that are irrational.

    S-2 Developing Insight Into Egocentricity or Sociocentricity

    Principle: Egocentricity means confusing what we see and think with reality. When under the influence of egocentricity, we think that the way we see things is exactly the way things are. Egocentricity manifests itself as an inability or unwillingness to consider others' points of view, a refusal to accept ideas or facts which would prevent us from getting what we want (or think we want).

    S-3 Exercising Fairmindedness

    Principle: To think critically, we must be able to consider the strengths and weaknesses of opposing points of view; to imaginatively put ourselves in the place of others in order to genuinely understand them; to overcome our egocentric tendency to identify truth with our immediate perceptions or long-standing thought or belief.

    S-4 Exploring Thoughts Underlying Feelings and Feelings Underlying Thoughts

    Principle: Although it is common to separate thought and feeling as though they were independent, opposing forces in the human mind, the truth is that virtually all human feelings are based on some level of thought and virtually all thought generative of some level of feeling. To think with self-understanding and insight, we must come to terms with the intimate connections between thought and feeling, reason and emotion.

    S-5 Developing Intellectual Humility and Suspending Judgment

    Principle: Critical thinkers recognize the limits of their knowledge. They are sensitive to circumstances in which their native egocentricity is likely to function self-deceptively; they are sensitive to bias, prejudice, and limitations of their views. Intellectual humility is based on the recognition that one should not claim more than one actually knows. It does not imply spinelessness or submissiveness.

    S-6 Developing Intellectual Courage

    Principle: To think independently and fairly, one must feel the need to face and fairly deal with unpopular ideas, beliefs, or viewpoints. The courage to do so arises when we see that ideas considered dangerous or absurd are sometimes rationally justified (in whole or in part) and that conclusions or beliefs inculcated in us are sometimes false or misleading.

    S-7 Developing Intellectual Good Faith or Integrity

    Principle: Critical thinkers recognize the need to be true to their own thought, to be consistent in the intellectual standards they apply, to hold themselves to the same rigorous standards of evidence and proof to which they hold others, to practice what they advocate for others, and to honestly admit discrepancies and inconsistencies in their own thought and action. They believe most strongly what has been justified by their own thought and analyzed experience.

    S-8 Developing Intellectual Perseverance

    Principle: Becoming a more critical thinker is not easy. It takes time and effort. Critical thinking is reflective and recursive; that is, we often think back to previous problems to re-consider or re-analyze them. Critical thinkers are willing to pursue intellectual insights and truths in spite of difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations.

    S-9 Developing Confidence in Reason

    Principle: The rational person recognizes the power of reason and the value of disciplining thinking in accordance with rational standards. Virtually all of the progress that has been made in science and human knowledge testifies to this power, and so to the reasonability of having confidence in reason.

    S-10 Refining Generalizations and Avoiding Oversimplifications

    Principle: It is natural to seek to simplify problems and experiences to make them easier to deal with. Everyone does this. However, the uncritical thinker often oversimplifies and as a result misrepresents problems and experiences.

    S-11 Comparing Analogous Situations: Transferring Insights to New Contexts

    Principle: An idea's power is limited by our ability to use it. Critical thinkers' ability to use ideas mindfully enhances their ability to transfer ideas critically. They practice using ideas and insights by appropriately applying them to new situations. This allows them to organize materials and experiences in different ways, to compare and contrast alternative labels, to integrate their understanding of different situations, and to find useful ways to think about new situations.

    S-12 Developing One's Perspective: Creating or Exploring Beliefs, Arguments, or Theories

    Principle: The world is not given to us sliced up into categories with pre-assigned labels on them. There are always many ways to "divide up" and so experience the world. How we do so is essential to our thinking and behavior. Uncritical thinkers assume that their perspective on things is the only correct one. Selfish critical thinkers manipulate the perspectives of others to gain advantage for themselves.

    S-13 Clarifying Issues, Conclusions, or Beliefs

    Principle: The more completely, clearly, and accurately an issue or statement is formulated, the easier and more helpful the discussion of its settlement or verification. Given a clear statement of an issue, and prior to evaluating conclusions or solutions, it is important to recognize what is required to settle it. And before we can agree or disagree with a claim, we must understand it clearly.


    I have shortened the list

    S-35 Exploring Implications and Consequences

    Principle: Critical thinkers can take statements, recognize their implications-what follows from them-and develop a fuller, more complete understanding of their meaning. They realize that to accept a statement one must also accept its implications. They can explore both implications and consequences at length. When considering beliefs that relate to actions or policies, critical thinkers assess the consequences of acting on those beliefs.

    {This list is found in the following handbooks: Critical Thinking Handbook: k-3, Critical Thinking Handbook: 4-6, Critical Thinking Handbook: 6-9, Critical Thinking Handbook: High School.}

    http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/areas/issues/envrnmnt/drugfree/sa3crit.htm
     

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