Currently viewing the tag: "Critical thinking"

Thinking, values and people

“You begin with a hypothesis that has a certain surface plausibility. You find an ally whose background suggests that he’s an “expert”; out of thin air, he devises “data.” You write articles in sympathetic publications, repeating the data endlessly; in time, some of these publications make your cause their own. Like-minded congressmen pick up your mantra and invite you to testify at hearings.

You’re chosen for an investigative panel related to your topic. When other panel members, after inspecting your evidence, reject your thesis, you claim that they did so for ideological reasons. This, too, is repeated by your allies. Soon, the echo chamber you created drowns out dissenting views; even presidential candidates begin repeating the Big Lie.”– Joe Nocera

But who cares about this?

All the people think and to think is part of our nature, but much of our thinking is biased, distorted, partially, without sufficient and necessary information or even full of prejudices.

Everybody, more or less consciously, is looking for a good quality of life and what we do to achieve that necessarily depends on the quality of our thinking.

For the construction of a good quality of life or something meaningful we must cultivate systematically the excellence of thought, and because this quality of life also depends on the environment where we entered and our relationship with it, it is important to be aware that there are at least two needs that must be necessarily satisfied:

-The need for a construction and development of critical thinking and

-The need for construction of a system of values and of their systematic application in our actions.

Critical thinking, or way of thinking on any topic or issue favoring the intellectual integrity, humility, civic attitudes, empathy, justice and faith in reason, lets us not embark on the construction of the big lie and give direction to our dreams without having to go adrift.

Ask questions about the information that we collect is fundamental to an effective critical thinking development.

Does this make sense?

What is my experience says about this information?

Are my assumptions valid? Why?

Asking questions can be a way to start a process of integration in a particular group and that often arises after a compliment or a greeting.

Almost everyone of us admit that we do questions ourselves and we expect a response, but not always we realize when we cheat.

When we are stimulated by the brightness of a storefront or by the text of an advertisement in a magazine one of the questions that after some time in arises is: “How much does it cost?”, “What will be the price?” or even “How is this so valuable?”

The value of things differs according to the stakeholders in those things and can range from the difficult financial representation to accept up to a very deep feeling of satisfaction or contempt. After all the value represents not only the importance that something has for us, but also a story that tells “the why” of such importance.

We ask questions when it reported a scandal or when a manager of a company has a bad behavior and however we do not realize that we are asking questions about values.

The value theory encompasses a set of approaches to realize how, why and to what extent people value things, be they people, ideas, objects, or anything else. However, in day-to-day we use a simple differentiation between economic and ethical value (personal and cultural) and that often get confused.

For example, the changing nature of the values in the society can be reflected in corporate executives and what before was to play according to rules shall be replaced by the need to exceed expectations, because the values of the executives are personal values and their needs have changed.

These values can be considered as being profound beliefs that offer a reading of the needs and motivations of the people.

All social values have their origin in personal values and these are seen as being determined by the development of the individual within a culture.

For each person there is a system of values and is more important to try to understand it than trying to understand a single value. A value system is created by our underlying needs that differ over time and perhaps for this reason the need to overcome the expectations overlaps on game rules, as explained above.

Our quality of life becomes a reality when our critical thinking presents systematic and allows us to avoid the big lies produced by some executives and often masked innovation, but which calls into question the construction of our future, based on our system of values and not in a so-called unsustainable welfare.

Do you want to comment?


From dumb questions to empathy

Deb Mills-Scofield wrote an extraordinary article “The Art of the Dumb Question” where we can read:

“This leads me to propose that the transformation of the 20th century into the 21st be the Age of Answers to the Age of Questions.  While answers are important, it’s more important to know what questions to ask to get to the answers.  The lack of questioning is part of what got us into the mess of the last 3 years (or more).  We learn by asking and using that knowledge to ask more and different questions.  Which is why I hope the 21st C perfects the Art of the Dumb Question.”

It is imperative that we begin to think seriously, what parts of us determine the future of our life and of our ecosystems or of our world, and we can only do this by asking questions, many different and even dumb questions.

Some time ago I wrote an article “Think about how you think and things will change” where I focus that we need to be prepared to rethink how we do things.

Now think on asking questions instead of giving answers. The world is constantly changing.

Why I do this kind of questions?

-“Because dumb questions challenge the status quo.  Dumb questions test basic, tacit assumptions.  Dumb questions make us stop and think about fundamental truths.  Dumb questions get to the core.” – Deb Mills!

Sometimes the way we think is good and other times it’s not! How and when do we know the difference?

People are typically selfish and maybe because of that they are not using critical thinking to understand to what extent the questions they do leads to thinking about the “truth”.

Critical thinking is the ability to understand a system or a statement and answer it.

It seems to be a fact extended to many people that our ability to use critical thinking has been conditioned throughout our life and particularly in the higher schools. We must stop to think and understand things, relations and people and find innovative solutions to problems.

“Learning how to think critically — how to imaginatively frame questions and consider multiple perspectives — has historically been associated with a liberal arts education, not a business school curriculum, so this change represents something of a tectonic shift for business school leaders.” – Roger Martin

Be able to do dumb and imaginative questions, and consider multiple perspectives can imply a move away from our self-centeredness.

We have a tendency to seek information that validate or confirm our opinions and assertions and this promotes an almost automatic selection of the questions that we do.

So how does this happen?

Linda Elder said: “People mostly perceive their thinking to be both correct and true; otherwise they would change it (or so they think).  As a result, when faced with alternative ways of looking at things, people often reject them as ‘illogical’ or ‘unreasonable’ simply because the viewpoints differ from their own.  This leads to a kind of rigidity in thought and action.  When people are in this modus operandi, they see their narrow thinking as perfectly reasonable, and as long as people validate them, they are happy.  But if challenged, they often resist, retaliate or sulk.”

Without sulking or resist, thinking in all perspectives and all relevant points of view to understand them and also be idealist, realistic and pragmatic, is a mental habit that should be cultivated consciously.

This means giving up our own view when another is considered to be more reasonable, and perhaps more important.

This means to be fair. This means creating empathy.

Linda Elder says that “critical thinking entails the integration of three dimensions: being idealistic (capable of imagining a better world); realistic (seeing things as they are); and pragmatic (adopting effective measures for moving toward our ideals.)

Critical and integrative thinking is the ability to identify, evaluate and construct arguments and proposals for solutions to problems. People should be able, through logical analysis and synthesis, to categorize information, distinguish between relevant and irrelevant data and predict the results.

“People skilled in the art of critical thinking make a practice of questioning everything. Even their own opinions. They don’t necessarily sit in the middle ground of any debate, but they understand the potential fallibility of sources, and acknowledge the legitimate existence of other points of view … subject to examination, along with their own. Meaningful exploration and discussion of issues, therefore, becomes possible. Even productive.” –Lane Wallace

This was a reflection that should be extended to the leaders who lost good habits!

Leaders must call into question assumptions, to adopt different perspectives, seek potential and make the management of ambiguity!


Feel free to comment! Thank you!

Tagged with: