Lives at risk
I constantly receive a lot of meaningless and ridiculous messages through the social media application ‘WhatsApp’, such that I often wonder: How did the sender accept or believe the contents of such messages?
Someone who is supposed to be a teacher, educated and with a degree of awareness asked me about the validity of the contents of extremely superficial and untrue messages. He feels they are real without working out his mind, even a little bit, in search for the truth of the contents which are unreasonable and far from reality.
It becomes even more painful when some responded to my request to ignore such messages because they are not compatible with the minimum level of logic by trying to convince me with a strange sense of insistence that the contents of these messages are true although they contradict reason.
This determination prompted me to look for the reason behind the decline in the ability to understand and analyze among most of us. I found that it is due to the absence of critical thinking in the curriculum of our schools.
Critical thinking means possessing the ability to think clearly and rationally about what should be done or understood, together with the ability to think independently and to find the logical connection between conflicting ideas.
I do not write this from the perspective of the learner or the one who is familiar with the secrets of critical thinking, but I think that me and others have minimal understanding as a result of readings, experiments or studies which are gained through age. All this helps in proper thinking and observation of the correctness of a situation, word or image compared to another.
Critical thinking primarily requires liberation from the unseen (metaphysics). Therefore, the Ministries of Education in many religiously extremist countries have not included this subject (critical thinking) in their curricula, as it may prompt students to raise questions or doubts about established matters accepted by the society based on the belief that doing so is not in the interest of anyone. Any society which follows such idea will accept that its members are incapable of critical thinking.
In fact, whether the skill of critical thinking is acquired or not determines the future of any human being. Not being able to accept and analyze information will have a huge impact on the future, especially in terms of scientific development. Social media sites bombard us with a large number of wrong and correct information every day, hence, critical thinking has become more important.
Our lives are in great danger if we are unable to think in a critical and analytical way, if we cannot differentiate right from wrong or the authentic from fake videos. It is therefore necessary to develop our ability to think critically and not to take many things for granted.
It is also necessary to develop critical and analytical thinking, as well as all other intellectual skills. This is not always easy especially since it requires abandoning our concepts and prejudices so that we can reach a logical result away from personal desires.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf