“I try to encourage people to think for themselves, to question standard assumptions… Don’t take assumptions for granted. Begin by taking a skeptical attitude toward anything that is conventional wisdom. Make it justify itself. It usually can’t. Be willing to ask questions about what is taken for granted. Try to think things through for yourself.”
There came a point in my life when I realized that everything I knew was wrong. Okay, not everything, but most everything. It turned out that what I thought I knew about history, government, science, the climate, health, my religion, and even how to tie my shoes was wrong. I’m still learning everyday how wrong I have been about everything.
People are funny creatures. We easily accept things that match our current illusion of the world and ignore the rest. Our brains do a lot of this automatically for us. What does make it through the filters usually gets monkey hammered by knee jerk cognitive dissonance.
It is an interesting experience when you realize how wrong you were about the world. Suddenly nothing is to be trusted and you scramble to make sense of it all. The set of your imaginary world has been demolished and you quickly throw up a new one in its place. Your new view of the world may or may not be more correct than the previous one. Take for example conspiracy theorists. They think they are in the know and the rest are sheeple. In reality the conspiracy theorist over corrected their drifting course of complacent normalcy into a skid of paranoid delusion.
So how do we perceive things for what they actually are? By thinking critically. Critical thinking is vital in an age where there is so much constant noise. What is critical thinking?
The art of thinking about your thinking while you are thinking in order to make your thinking better: more clear, more
accurate, or more defensible. Thinking that is fully aware of and continually guards against the natural human tendency to self-deceive and rationalize in order to selfishly get what it wants.
-Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life, Richard W. Paul
Thinking critically is to not to accept everything you hear, but it doesn’t reject it either. You think about what is really being said and the ramifications. Then you compare it to what you currently believe about the subject. Then you test the idea. To properly test it you have to get in a mindset of “What if it is true?” You must be willing to accept the idea, and throw away all you inhibitions that could block you from believing it or rejecting it. Why? Because you need to test the idea on its own merits, not on your biases. Then once you are ready to accept it you can think about it clearly. This is what Moroni means when he says to ask with “real intent.” If you are not willing to accept an answer, then why are you asking?
We all have a distorted view of the world and the truth is we, humankind, know a lot less than we think we know. Shake off your unbelief and let go of your prejudices. Let the truth challenge your beliefs. It isn’t easy. “Behold, the Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” – D&C 64:34. I’m still learning and this blog is a way for me to organize my thoughts.
Now I’m going to go find a cherry picked quote from someone famous and put it at the top to make my argument seem stronger.