Jaime Lubin

TEDx Zapopan speaker,


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Critical thinking versus opinion.

In many TED Conversations I've noticed the fear to the critical thinking that has been replace by opinions.

Why is so easy to say nonsense without the minimal aproach to knowledge

Why this simple magical fantasies in our times?

Are we in the threshold of a new dark age?

What can we do to recover one of the most precious human gifts?

How can we unmask all the liers and hoax-makers?

Why we have to believe them?

  • Apr 13 2012: If you check out really old books and new papers, you will see how rubbish was the standard all the times. 80% of all statistics were always made up on the spot. Facts were always created on demand. Sometimes references too. Often introduced by "As everyone knows...". Today is not so different, only information is more readily available, so bogus information is more readily available too.
    It is bad, but not catastrophic. Who remembers much about phlogiston, or even about aether?

    An opinion is a hypothesis. My mother used to say: If you want to have a few good ideas, you need to have lots of ideas. Which of course means a lot of your ideas will be bad. Some of them bad enough so even you will reject them, some others will be rejected by reality, and then you will have a few good ones, just don't forget to act on them. Maybe we actually do need every single opinionated hypothesis because without them we couldn't have the good ones.

    Mind you all this is not a theory. There is not much fact behind it, except for some observation I made with 20/20 hindsight, nobody has ever made any attempt to disprove it either. It is only an opinion. Just my hypothesis.
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      Apr 13 2012: Szilard thats the real difference between knowledge and information.
      In information theory, you can manipulate the facts in a shadow scale: White...the real truth.; Gray... Half truth, half lie; Dark grey...More lies than truth; Black Just lies disguised as a truth.

      This is from General semiotic theory. Umberto Eco the great scholar in semiotics said: "The semiotics are the art to telling lies to be believed." I was his disciple many years ago in Bologna University and there are more than you imagine in the strategy, tactics and logistics for manipulate from an individual to a whole nation.

      But first you have to be sure to settle five essential things: Fear, Subnutrition, Credulity, Ignorance and Entertenaiment. With this five menaces you have the social conscience in the hand...so then you can do it what you want with them. The newspapers and statictics are just the media not the mean.
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        Apr 13 2012: What you bring out here is very very interesting Jaime.

        I remember watching a program, where it was explained how some governments, manipulate information for years and years to get people to have a certain "attitude" towards a group of individuals, or a cause or the like..............they wait until all this propaganda has moved the masses to ask for actions to be taken, when all along that was the intention to begin with.....It is manipulation pure and simple. I wish I could remember that exact historical account that the program presented with factual dated information. It was so well explained. Too bad my memory betrays me.

        Critical thinking is so important.......but regardless of who or where the information is coming from we have to be alert to the fact that it could be manipulated. Honestly, that is why my faith, my very trust lies solely in the bible's message.....not in religion, not in human leaders, it lies in God and his promises.....it is only through the knowledge I have acquired of God's kingdom, and the effects it will have on this earth, that I am able to have hope for a better future. I am very thankful to have been able to study the Bible and learn of the hope it gives humankind.

        I did not know about the General semiotic theory....thank you for bringing this out.

        Have a good weekend.
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          Apr 14 2012: Hi Mary,

          In for a break after a delightful morning in the warm sun gardening and glad to find your comment here as I have been carrying many of the issues Jaime has raised and we have explored together here.

          I guess my hypothesis is that (1) critical thinking is a natural faculty (2) when we are in posession of that faculty we are "immunized" against influence by mainipulation, rank opinion, i meme's(3) that when we are in possession of that faculty we our selves don't egage in "oure rhetoric", hype, meme , opinion or attempts to manipulate others (4) critical thinking is the complete opposite of reactive thinking ( and speaking)

          Jaime's post above defining critical thinking as hitting the tree then drawing the white line around it is wonderful .. "critical thinking".. is more than a process, it is a habitual way of engaging all information and witness to events in the world.it's a kind of :concentration without effort"..

          A faculty is somethng nuch more profound than a mere "skill" or practice which is the way most folk use the word "critical thinking"
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          Apr 14 2012: Yes mary,i've seen this in my own governments.

          I've also seen how a government reacts to a nations vehemence at ministerial spending privilege by announcing cost cutting of said perks then during the Christmas period quietly with only one television station that mentioned it in passing gave themselves a double raise to compensate the loss or During a media spotlight of my peoples usual troubles with our government slipped a piece of legislature in behind the nations turned head.This was perfectly legal and had been in the process but was implemented on the fly.

          How strange that Lindsay should talk of her struggles with transparency of local governance as we are just pushing through a bill that all lobbyists are to register with the MP's office each time they are there in a professional capacity,this has the lobbyist groups up n arms but are powerless to stop it.
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          Apr 15 2012: Ken,

          It will be interesting to see how your lobbyist registration works. I believe we have that.

          Here in Maine it seems (impression only I just checked in) that lobbyists are regarded as experts. Our DEP commissioner is a former lobbyist for the petroleum industry. Our Health & Human Services Commissioner is a former lobbyist for hospitals. The general belief here, reflected in the legislature itself is that big corporations mean lots of jobs..Maine was one of 6 states to get at F on the State Integrity Report Card..

          So many unwise decisions enjoy widespread popular support. For example Maine's Legislature just approved a new "streamlined regulatory frameowrk" to allow gold mining in oneof the most pristine water sheds in America. The bill was written by the lobbyists and lawyers for the owner of the mountain JD Irving a Canadain Family owned empire. It was sold on the myth that modern mining is much safer and that our existing regs ere too harsh and redundant with other laws. It was supported on the belief that the 300 highly paid jbs would go to the local community.

          It is because the populace at large is easily manipuated and misled that corporate influence works so well. Registering lobbyists, I think, doesn't change that. A constiutional ammendment on corporate personhood won't chnage that As long as people believe there is "something in it for them" they will support it.

          The only truth is what they choose to believe.

          The question is can "we the people" move our selves out of the realm of "rank opinion" where we are easy victims of lies, half truths and mainipulations, to a habit of discernment, reflection, thinking through, working through.
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          Apr 15 2012: We actually had no lobby rules,our lobbyists style themselves as consultants and are usually ex-party members of all branches.This bill will give public access to who and what and how much these consultants are involved for who.It's based off the Canadian lobbyist law and is a small step to transparency but like you said it's not perfect.

          Due to economic stress our government or more importantly our PM wants to open up our conservations to allow for mining,there is no modern method that allows for a non destructive impact on the environment.We use to be so pro-environmental back in the eighties that i wonder what happened,our green party fully support a system that penalises us for our carbon emissions yet supports the EU countries whose emission rates are 400+ per sq km,surprisingly the US are well below at something at around 150 -+ per sq km but these figures are highly suspect due to something i read in passing.

          There's something i don't like and it's the term called "resource rich area"
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        Apr 14 2012: Jaime,

        So how do people who have been manipulated all their lives away from this natural gift of critical thinking, "recover" it?

        Is it just there underneath the whole time in tact? Is it a faculty that cannot be destroyed or eroded only covered over or not allowed expression? Paul seems to think as I do that it is a faculty we always possess and can access and recover at any time.

        And Mary, now that I rethink Rudolph Steiners' Waldorf schools or Seyour Paperts educational philosophy, they are fundamentally about always honing and cultivating that faculty..children taught from these philosophies never fall into the world of meme opinion and manipulation.
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          Apr 14 2012: I wish I was more familiar with the schools of philosophy you have mentioned.

          I'm afraid I am not understanding your comment to me.

          Could you maybe expound a little??

          Critical thinking is such a tricky thing, because as you are probably aware, we can believe we are critical thinkers, and yet, be manipulated by others who are critical thinkers, and who know how we will react to certain topics.........am I making any sense here?

          I don't know if you understand what I am trying to say......

          I sometimes have to put myself to the test....to make sure I am not lying to myself.........and just going along with what I like, verses thinking critically and making a true decision based on critical thinking.....

          I promise I have had my two cups of coffee already....on-line it is sometimes to explain myself Lindsay....plus, my vocabulary skills are not as wonderful as yours.
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          Apr 15 2012: Hey Lindsay, thanks for your reply.....We had rain all morning.....it was a stay in and read and have hot drinks kind of morning.

          Well, thank you for the explanation...I will say this.....all of us are endowed with mental faculties.....the power to reason....however, critical thinking, as I have always understood it has to be developed.....cutivated......through practice/trial and error, and/or through education.

          I have lived and worked in many parts of the world, and I am exposed constantly to many many people of diverse backgrounds. I have noticed that when adults have not been exposed in their young life to situations where they needed to employ their mental faculties in making critical thinking kinds of decisions, well, they pretty much drown in a glass of water.

          I see this every single day of my life. A lack of practice in exercising our mental faculties results in a lack of critical thinking skills.

          Look 2 + 2 = 4

          But 2 + 2 can also be 20....HOW????

          Well, two hands plus two hands can equal 20 fingers. Playing chess, math riddles and games, jigsaw puzzles....soduko....all of it helps us with problem solving, which is part of critical thinking.....not all countries, or for that matter all parents, or all teachers take advantage of these wonderful strategies to develop critical thinking skills.

          I kind of equate critical thinking with common sense.......which, unfortunately, is not so common any more. Sadly a formal education sometimes fails our children. Many reach adulthood without their mental faculties trained to distinguish certain things.

          Tell me what you think......
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          Apr 15 2012: Lindsay I'm thinking critically in the answer....
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          Apr 15 2012: Hi Mary

          Not being an expert, my feeling as that if we can keep our curiosity alive......it can help us to think critically......asking what, why, how, when etc are great way of learning......

          Our education system (at least through which I came out) only teaches how to swallow competenlty and then vomit efficiently on exam paper with in specific time frame on a particular day only......it seldom encourage any sort of thinking at all.....

          Loved your 2+2 example........but I feel when 2+2 makes 20, it's more of Lateral Thinking......
          Doesn't matter though whatever name it is being called, important is our we are trying to use our brain power ....

          P.S. : Lindsay's Reply button hijacked by me .....
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    Apr 12 2012: Is your post a matter of opinion or have you some critical analysis to back up those opinions?
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      Apr 13 2012: I like your comment, because it goes to show that we all want to state our opiniion as a fact.

      In the end, we, individually, have to rely on our own thinking abilities.

      People all too often want others to think and feel like they think and feel...............they don't want us to be critical thinkers.......LOL

      But Jaime does raise a valid question, I hope you come back with your input Anne.
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        Apr 13 2012: It wasn't a flippant comment.

        Opinions may be passed on by others who have influenced us. To a greater or lesser degree we have exercised critical thinking in deciding to accept that influence.

        Opinions may be conclusions we have reached as a result of direct experience, in which case a degree of critical thinking has been exercised in order to determine the validity of the input data and the output conclusion.

        We can form opinions in the abstract, in which case we exercise a degree of critical thinking about the relevance and importance of the data we work with.

        As a bais for discussion, let's say that it is a matter of opinion whether any expressed view is based on sufficient critical thinking.
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          Apr 14 2012: Ann , respectfully theres no degrees in critical thinking. It is or it is'nt.

          In opinions exist a lot of dangerous variations. And the critical thinking is important "per se". For example in extreme sports you have to be critical thinker all the time. In the top of the mountain, crossing a river, in march trough the desert...when you set your backpack you have to be critical to be prepared all the time. Theres no space for opinions when you are climbing the mountain, or swimming to cross the english channel. In biking you have to be critical with your efforts to pedaling. Opinion in extreme sport are very dangerous. You cant express your opinion when you lost the track, the compass speak with the right way. And theres no room for flippant opinions.
          I know very well the extreme activities field in military situations.
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          Apr 15 2012: Hi Anne, I am interested in your definition of "critical thinking."
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          Apr 15 2012: Anne, Jaime, and Bob

          Look............. straight from the horses' mouth for your consideration:

          Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking
          A statement by Michael Scriven & Richard Paul for the {presented at the 8th Annual International Conference on Critical Thinking and Education Reform, Summer 1987}.

          Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.

          Critical thinking varies according to the motivation underlying it.

          *When grounded in selfish motives, it is often manifested in the skillful MANIPULATION of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’, vested interest.

          Critical thinking of any kind is never universal in any individual; everyone is subject to episodes of undisciplined or irrational thought.

          Its quality is therefore typically a matter of degree and dependent on, among other things, the quality and depth of experience in a given domain of thinking or with respect to a particular class of questions.

          No one is a critical thinker through-and-through, but only to such-and-such a degree, with such-and-such insights and blind spots, subject to such-and-such tendencies towards self-delusion.
          For this reason, the development of critical thinking skills and dispositions is a life-long endeavor.

          Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.

          People who think critically consistently attempt to live live rationally, reasonably, empathically.
          They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked.

          What do you think???
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          Apr 15 2012: Anne, I loved your reply.....I started to second guess the things I have written already in this conversation, so I googled critical thinking, and found the wonderful explanation above.

          This definition, is in harmony with what I have learned in my 30+ years as an educator.

          As I mentioned to Lindsay a day ago, we as educators are exposed to Bloom's taxonomy in university....this is a format for getting kids engaged in thinking for themselves, it starts with asking "knowledge" questions and ends with "evaluating" one's thinking. Skillfully using Bloom's taxonomy in formulating class discussions and assessments results in helping the student develop his critical thinking skills.......his power of reasoning......his mental faculties.....

          Life is complicated, if we are not critical thinkers, well, nothing would get fixed around the house.....we couldn't budget ourselves, traffic would always be in a jam.....etc....

          Of course, I agree that there are areas of life that appear to lack people with critical thinking skills......BUT............LOOK AT what the definition says............critical thinking in the hands of selfish individuals is used for manipulating.....that is what I personally have seen, especially in the last 10-15 years of my life on this planet.....what appears to be a LACK of critical thinking is actually done on purpose.....to manipulate.....anyways, this is what I perceive.....because let's face it, sometimes we think of people in leadership roles............"they can't be that dumb can they?"

          Well, I just wanted to share this.

          I hope there is now more solid food to sink our teeth into and discuss.
          Discuss away....I will continue to follow the conversation.
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          Apr 15 2012: Opinion is mere belief or judgment on any subject used by those that don't like to think much.
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        Apr 15 2012: Hi Mary. I think your quoted definition of critical thinking (copied below) sheds light on why there is so little evidence of critical thinking in our world today.

        “Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action”

        If I read this to many of the people I work with, I would either see eyes glaze over or be confronted with the question “What the hell does that mean?”

        Actually, that question may provide a clearer insight into critical thinking. I understand it simply as a process of clarifying by asking questions that help us to see a larger picture more clearly from different perspectives.

        The intellectualization of critical thinking undermines the process of helping people to learn it. It creates an illusion of complexity that it can only be understood by highly trained, sophisticated, and well-paid minds. I believe my son demonstrated critical thinking at age 3. My wife once counted 37 follow-up questions that he asked on one topic until he was satisfied that he understood it clearly. I facilitated an empowerment program owned and operated by people in poverty for nine years. It was the most efficient system I have ever worked in. Participants were taught to clarify, by asking questions and seeking a better understanding of the larger picture. They learn to ask question about assumptions, sources, meanings, intent, likely effects and implications in response to one statement “Let’s clarify.”

        I believe critical thinking is natural. We simply need to model, promote, and support it. Imagine the effects that might have on our educational, political, and economic systems...
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          Apr 15 2012: Bob, you asked about my definition. I like the example you gave, and I'll use that as a basis for my definition. Critical thinking is asking 'Why?' often enough' And 'So what?'. And 'Who says?'. And 'What's missing?'.

          In summary it's not exercising mindless acceptance of the data placed in front of you.
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          Apr 15 2012: Well, Bob, I'm not sure how to interpret your reply to me.

          The part of the definition that you copied and pasted is clear and concise....and if, the people you work with asked you what it meant then that would imply that their metacognitive skills are in tact....they understand that they don't understand....and asking for clarification, is wonderful!

          I don't think that critical thinking should be intellectualize. Hey, I'm not an intellectual. I am an elementary teacher for goodness sakes. And I teach critical thinking to first and second graders....I agree with you...it is natural. But now read this:

          Like I stated in a previous comment, critical thinking starts to develop very early.....kids are naturally curious.......they ask why all the time.....and usually follow it up with 27 other questions. Most parents tell the kid to scram after the first 3..........by the time I get them, they have been told to stop asking questions so many many times that they actually, by age 7, are SCARED to question teachers.

          Hence, I will stand by my posts.....we teachers are taught in college to develop the "skill" of critical thinking in children.......most kids come to school after 4 years of being told by parents..........."now Billy, don't ask too many questions!!"...............I have to turn around and tell Billy "Please ask questions, please!!"

          Yes, I am hoping that 20 years from now some scientist will thank me, their second grade teacher with igniting their love of learning and skills of critical thinking and passion for science. I know, I have big dreams. What can I say??
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          Apr 15 2012: P.S. scroll down and read what Salim posted about Bangladesh.....it is an epidemic...this telling children NOT to ask questions....aha.....the root of the problem lies where????

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        Apr 16 2012: Mary wrote “.we teachers are taught in college to develop the "skill" of critical thinking in children.......most kids come to school after 4 years of being told by parents..........."now Billy, don't ask too many questions!!"...............I have to turn around and tell Billy "Please ask questions, please!!"”

        So let’s clarify. Billy does not seem to be aware that there are some situations where it is helpful to ask questions and others where it’s not. (Many of my previous supervisors would likely say I had the same problem.). That leads to the question how does one know when it is helpful to ask questions. Billy can probably tell us when it is not helpful to ask questions, ie when his parents are stressed, tired, frustrated, or preoccupied. So one key in asking questions is a learning to assess whether the person we are asking is receptive to the questions (the main reason I left jobs where my supervisors didn’t like questions). What about how and when questions are asked and what kinds of questions are asked? These would seem to be important considerations. Asking a complicated, abstract question is different than a question to be answered yes or no. There are lots of wonderful learning opportunities here for both Billy and his teacher.

        The term “teacher” does not include mutual exploration in its definition. A good mountain guide is exploring the mountain anew each time he or she “teaches” a group how to navigate the trails. An effective guide adapts each trip to the individual needs, interests, and concerns of the travelers. Sadly, our system of education does not leave much room for this kind of guided exploration. We remove children and young adults from life to teach them about life. The very fact that we have a concept of “critical thinking” is in some respects, evidence of our failure to develop an educational system that helps people to live effective and fulfilling lives.
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          Apr 16 2012: You know what Bob? I agre with alot of what you state here.

          You have to understand, that bad parenting is bad paenting. It is not that the parent is busy, or stressed or tired, some parents don't want to deal with the intellectual side of their child. I have seen five year olds who start kindergarten without the knowledge of how to color or even hold a crayon in their hand. And some who are afraid to say they need to go to the bathroom because of fear that opening their mouth to say they have a need is too embarassing for them. There are alot of issues involved with question asking....

          Some parents leave everything up to the teachers. I hope you understand the point I am trying to make Bob. I am not saying all, I am saying some parents.

          And, effective teachers, like effective guides, adapt each lesson to the individual student population....sometimes taking time out from whole classroom instruction to give individual attention to the less than average child........but the teacher's own critical thinking skills have to be at play to do this. She must perceive, and analyze and evaluate facial expressions, and homework answers and class participation of each child to discern which one needs the individual help.......there are so many factors at play.

          I also think, addressing now your last sentence, that education should not have the entire load of responsibility. Parents have a big role to play. Humans have lived effective fulfiiling lives without the presence of educational systems in the past, wouldn't you agree?

          Why should education alone be blamed for this lack of critical thinking?
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    Apr 19 2012: Here is a critical thinker.......and he was a comedian.
    He tried, through comedy, to unmask hoax-makers, and liars.


    I would like your thoughts Jaime on this way of expressing critical thinking.
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      Apr 19 2012: Good stuff. My favorite is George pointing out the difference between football and baseball.

      Humor by definition is pointing out things that don't make sense. Consequently comedians have to be able to look at things logically in order to determine what is illogical. Which is why the newspaper is a target rich environment for comedians.
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        Apr 19 2012: Pat from logical to illogical......clear words about. Thanks

        "Humor by definition is pointing out things that don't make sense."

        (Etimology: from ancient latin: means being wet.)
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    Apr 16 2012: Jaime, I am talking about premises, not criteria. Think in terms of 'If this premis is true, then a logical process will give you a certain output'.

    However, it is a matter of opinion whether the premises are valid, and that comes from the experience of the individual and the range and quality of the data available to them.

    My mountain example had nothing to do with democracy, it related to a comparison of the thinking exercised by two individuals. One individual (who was not part of the group) expressed an OPINION based on his own personal experience of mountaineering. The other person (the group leader) expressed an OPINION based on his own personal experience of mountaineering AND his experience of the group he was leading.

    The poinbt is that both parties, if asked, would claim to have exercised critical thinking. The reason they reached different conclusions is because their experience was different and this led to them having diffierent opinions about the range of data that needed consideration.

    Critical thinking is a form of logic, and its output is only as good as the data you put into it.
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      Apr 16 2012: Certainly yes Anne...the premises are the basis...PRE. allways before ...MISE to put in...from classic latin.

      Then if the "premise" is wrong or a lie" is not a real premise....is a PREJUDICE....
      PRE allways before... JUDICARE jugdement.
      This is the real danger in the confussion about opinion and critical thinking.

      Logic is a form of critical thinking. Logic is just a form to know, no more than that. There are others forms more accurated and precise.

      If you see the critical thinking as a sistematic process...(input_ output) then you simplify the whole thing to a merely operational device in our minds. Critical thinking is not so easy to handle. But if you are comfortable seeing in that way , its OK, you run the risk.
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    Apr 13 2012: The critical thinking is like when you took the bow and arrow and shoot. The arrow flow till a tree and hit. Then you go and paint the white circle.
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    Apr 13 2012: I think critical thinkers who are non reactve, civil, free of ego are like seeds that create what Andrea would call "dynamic shift" and change in any setting..that one critical thinker brings forth another and a few start to change the entire culture of what is said and how its said.

    I have been blogging lately on legislative issues here in Maine at all of Maine's daily newspapers. A place of rank opinion of the lowest order when I decided to take up the project..my purpose has been to speak for truth and transparency, to invite co-investigation, co-discovery on issues, to critically think our way through issues in community.

    I think I have evidence for my theory..that people actually feel a "certain something" within themselves when they move from rank opinion ( a place of pure reaction, pure ego, and very poor manners, a diregard for truth or fact, a disinclination to conversation or deliberation ) towards any kind of analytic thinking throuh and any level of collaboration.

    Your topic title is also key, I think..the art of questioning.. it is a well framed question that releases thought,and evaluation.

    The art of asking questions that don't contain a theory about the answer .

    I am beginning to think that we don't need to be turtored and trained in critical thinking ..that its a aatural state, a natural aspiration that can "excavated" and cultivated . I think the key shift is to move away a reactive mode.

    Jaime did you do a TED X talk..do you have a link???
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      Apr 13 2012: Lindsay

      Is the American elections process become shallow because of the inclusion of Tweet quoting?
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        Apr 13 2012: Hello Ken.. do you mean how can such "unreal", unprofound, shallow people saying perfectly silly and generally false things be regarded as serious candidiates for President?

        I think it is deeply connected to what Jaime is pointing to here ( and which Adrianna also explored in a earlier related TED conversation.). My sense is that what keeps people locked into a world of memes and rank opinion is disenfrancisement, alienation and the comodification of ego.

        Something has to pierce through that..almost the way a festering wound can begin to heal when it is lanced.

        Jaime has apparently been writing, teaching about and creating plays and dramas which do that through astonishment and wonder. Adrianna at her Ted Conversation pointed to "naming it" not just accepting and going along.

        Both are about an unexpected excavation of a moment, an unexpected encounter with a deeper truth about our being..

        I have been using a bit of Adrianna's strategy even in testimony on bills under consideration. I have been referring to Maine as a Banana Republic, a Kleptocrcay..if I know a bill is a hand carry from a corporate lobbyist I name the lobbyist and say so even in my testimony.

        In any moment we have the power to escape the prison of memes, rank opinion and the commodification of ego.

        We have the power to offer others that escape.by speaking with simple clarity and complete transparency.
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          Apr 13 2012: Thankyou lindsay

          That was most enlightening,i don't have the language skills that others have,i put that down to myself hence the short Question, which should of been worded better if not more indepth.

          "Rank opinion" I try my darndest not to slip down that road especially when my ego pushes me to react but in this realm it's hard not to.

          Thankyou you've made me think.

          Can't wait to view Jaime's TED
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          Apr 13 2012: "if I know a bill is a hand carry from a corporate lobbyist I name the lobbyist and say so even in my testimony."

          Has this changed the outcome?
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        Apr 13 2012: Mary,

        I think so and I think it has definitely changed the process.

        Others in their testimony have taken up or were already using that "naming and holding up" ..the more of us doing it the more others begin to question what they have blindly accepted.

        Perhaps because we are lulled into a wolrld of opinion, memes and manufactured reality through cultiral emphasis on naming and labeling , naming is a powerful and readily accepted way of marking the exit door out of opinion and toward a more fully open thought process.

        An example of this at work at the national scale is the naming and outing of ALEC affiliated bills and legislators. Now Corpoartions who have used ALEC to lobby state legislators are finding that consumers express their disgust for that by not buyig their products so many have publicly withdrawn from ALEC.

        We had several ALEC bills appear in our legislature this season and we all named that, named the legislators who "carry for ALEC" and carried that bill to our legsulature. Even here where huge MNC's like Nestle ( eyeing our amazing water) literally own our electoral process and literally own our legisilature..naming ALEC, naming corporate influence causes a kind of "awakening"
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          Apr 13 2012: Lindsay, the political issue needs desperately a critical approach. Here in Mexico we start the president ellection procces. Of course in USA is the same caos language than here. One of the critical questions is: Who is over the "democracy"...the corporative overweight. Here, there and everywhere.....the worst part is the never end story from the "loobist worm" that reproduces the sistem in a global scale. They kills the joy to discover, learn, and stop the birth of a new brave world. Sometimes be utopian is the better way to be realistic.
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      Apr 13 2012: Dear Lindsay thanks for your allways clear words...

      Yes in our deep being we all know how to see the real from the illusion.
      We have to do archeological survey to discover our gifts ...one of those is critical thinking.

      My TED X talk was about the power of Enthusiasm and Astonishment. Soon I put the link.

      Nice and warm hug.
  • Apr 12 2012: The problem comes in the form of a world where the concept of 'critical thinking' isn't even introduced to people until they arrive at university - and to be honest it isn't really mentioned much until the second year of university! I believe that education is in dire need of a dramatic revolution - a revolution that comes not from the seats of power but rather one that comes, as we anthropologists like to say, from the 'grass roots' of society; a 'from the ground up' re-imagining and re-structuring of the entire system by which people are educated. The change needs to come, not from education ministers deciding what is best for the country, but rather from the teachers themselves - it is the same problem as is faced in the military when office-bound field marshals make decisions that will effect troops in a country they have never even visited; we need teachers who are passionate about knowledge, and passionate about children - inspirational teachers who have a say in how and what they teach the students who pass through their halls from year to year, not teachers who are limited by people they have never met and have their 'curriculum' handed to them and are forced into this 'fast food' model of education. Real teachers are a rarity these days - true educators with a passion for their work who aren't simply in it for the pay-cheque at the end of the month.
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      Apr 13 2012: It is somewhat a cruel joke to teach critical thinking before the university level. Some students will naturally develop this but for the most part, the educational level will determine the employment of most people. Most industry does not want critical thinkers but workers that can produce. (Man are people going to jump on me for this one.) The educational system was designed for a time when high school was the expectation and college was for the elite. The educational system up to high school produced a worker with the abilities to function in industry. College produced people with leadership/management capabilities. Critical thinking was part of that.

      It is a lot tougher to get a bunch of critical thinkers to focus on a project than a few critical thinkers and many task focused people.

      OK part of this is the devils advocate in me. Have at it.
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        Apr 13 2012: Isn't this system still in place? The only difference is is that there's alot more of us on the planet and that competition for position is becoming more heated?
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        Apr 13 2012: hello linda..

        what you describe is what is

        not what is possible

        or even natural

        and in any event

        critical thinking

        and being a good worker bee

        a good collaborator

        go together nicely and naturally

        critical thinking is not a separate acitivity it's a habit of seeing
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        Apr 14 2012: Linda the only thing that could be learned in school about critical thinking is how to stop it.
        You can discover inside you, and use it. This could be uncomfortable way to live because you loose friends, maybe you loose your job, and the people avoid the contact with your critical side.

        The only way to be free today, is to be out of ANY institution and use everytime the gift of the doubt. This means to be heretic with the "normal life"....and if you play the devil's advocate part...wellcome¡¡¡¡¡¡
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          Apr 15 2012: "Linda the only thing that could be learned in school about critical thinking is how to stop it."
          That is GREAT! Love it:) You are spot on.
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          Apr 15 2012: Jaime, I think you are generalizing when you say school stops critical thinking.....that has not been my experience...........when I was a child, it was very much memorize, regurgetate, forget...week after week. But, as an educator, I have been trained to develop youngster's critical thinking abilities......I love to have a student that asks deep questions that make me think, and pushes me to find answers for him.......and what a great way to model critical thinking in class, when a student takes the lead.....The PROBLEM is, that a classroom can get out of hand with 25 critical thinkers, so a teacher, who is experienced in this, sets boundaries........I love to interact with kids....I encourage talking out and asking questions, and stopping me mid-way to ask something else.....I am a rabbit chaser.........it is for me the wonderful, fantastic, extraordinary part of being a teacher......

          As for the fact you will loose friends, yes.......I have lost many friends, and still the one's I have limit their exposure to me.......I read, and I know alot about different topics......but, people don't appreciate it. Noone likes to hear truths Jaime.......I have struggled with my mind all of my life..........are you familiar with Faraday? He also struggled. I think people with high critical thinking skills see things and perceive things that others just don't.....we have to be careful what to say, and how to say it. or we can end up being ostracized from our group of friends.....that has been my experience anyways.

          Muchas veces tengo que morderme la lengua....porque ya yo se que nadie quiere oir mis opiniones ni mis experiencias.... :(

          Did you know that God warns us about this already in scripture: Look...

          "....the man of thinking abilities is hated." Proverbios 14:17 parte final del verso.
        • Apr 24 2012: I disagree vehemently that the only thing that could be learned in school about critical thinking is how to stop it! Perhaps the only thing that IS taught in school NOW is that critical thinking is bad and should be avoided, but that needn't be the case! Schools COULD change, and COULD become advocates of critical thinking.
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    Apr 20 2012: Look what Rudyard Kipling....in the poem IF, says about thinking:

    11th line down.........."If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim"

    As I ponder over critical thinking and it's power, I can't help but recognize that when we have come to understand issues, and see solutions to problems, we must think also on how to deliver our deep thoughts to others.

    Look, Rudyard Kipling also says something to this effect:

    Fourth stanza:

    "If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch"

    It is fantastic to see individuals who are critical thinkers demonstrate simplicity and humility and willingness to share their ideas in such a fashion that these ideas are attractive to all kinds of people. Hence why poets are so powerful.

    And when we share our thoughts motivated by a love of sharing ideas, and out of love for humanity as a whole, then critical thinking is elevated..........it is no longer seen as a thing of intellectuals..........I have always disliked this separatist term...."intellectuals"........all of us have the capacity to grow and learn and develop our critical thinking.

    Just some thoughts.......while I love to think and learn, I love people more.
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      Apr 20 2012: Mary Kipling wa not just a writer at the service of British Empire, he was a wiseman with a almost constantly insight. Born in India gaves him a tremendous experience and hope to be and see and hear what others cant.

      Ruyard Kipling and Robert Baden Powell were two of the truly masters in critical thinking.
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    Apr 20 2012: Well this is just a little bit of the proff that we need to use the critical thinking.


    It doesnt matter how we define it or named.....the theories are abbundant...but the reality is if we believe or not.
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      Apr 20 2012: What is your point with that video?
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    Apr 20 2012: Dear Lindsay....certainly yes....so clear...."the realm of opinion and meme which masks truth and lulls the senses into a stupor od blind acceptance"......its like a hammer beating the memes head.

    Thank you.
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    Apr 19 2012: Un the ancient Greece, comedy was a mayor art, harder than tragedy. Comedy was a street party among the Dionisos believers or followers with dances, hymns, and a lot of wine. Today the at of comedy is down in the secenario by a joker or a comedian that expect the laughs or smiles. This Carlin looks clever but as all comedians is predictable. The clue for jokes is the unpredictable and sparkling words play with all the histrionic abilities. Maybe this Carlin is good,and he represent one more in the line for US comedians, that allways do the same. (For me Groucho was the best with Harold Lloyd and the Three Stooges. Today maybe Steve Martin has the know how....... Here some examples...(the laugh is allways a fear companion)





    And for stage comedians this is a super example:

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    Apr 19 2012: Critical thinking manifestate in a richfull universe of forms:

    Architecture, Poetry, Music, Geometry, Bionering, Economy, Ecology, Arts and crafts, Painting, Sculpture, Mechanics, Philosophy, Photography, Literature, Culinary Arts, Opera, Historiography, Design, Engineering,

    "The little comodity beggers, the common place people, the cowards behind the blanket , the never -dare souls, the ones who want to change the world but not themselves, the lukewarms worms...never reach any art ,any truth, any real life."
    Arquidionisos (circa 451 BC)
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      Apr 19 2012: Arquidionisos was judging others with this statement, and in my opinion, which I daresay may not be reflective of critical thinking, comes off as arrogant.

      What is art?
      What is truth?
      What is real life?
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        Apr 19 2012: Well thats the Arquidionisos words and I believe that is hard to discuss with him because is already dead so many years ago.

        Your opinion is just for you...is OK....
        Discover for yourself the answers to the questions. Use your own critical thinking, In the realm of your profile protection.
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    Apr 19 2012: Mary.......This chanson d' autumn from Verlaine, close friend of Rimbaud is extraordinary and beautifull.


    and this one is from Rimbaud close friend of Verlaine sing the joy to be.


    Being poet is one of the most dangerous trades in this world.

    Have you read about the sad and grey executives white collars life full of cocaine and illusions of modernity.? They bought and consume drugs with all the hypocrisy and profaneness.

    Have you read the Kenneth Patchen life and poetry? Full of joy and enchantement and critical thinking?
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      Apr 19 2012: Jaime......I think, from having spent the last two days reading about these poets lives, that poetry is a dangerous trade, not only because of tyrant government, but because the choices these poets make end up costing them their own life.

      Truly amazing to read about Verlaine and Rimbaud..... A veces, por mucho que trato de no juzgar, no puedo evitar el pensar que es un gasto de vida humana.....todos tomamos decisiones y tenemos libre albeldrio.....pero me cuesta trabajo el ver que personas dotadas de ciertos dones malgasten su vida de tal manera.....y mueran tan joven.....que pena Jaime, que pena. There is a movie about their lives, did you know? Leo de Caprio is in it..........I haven't seen it, probably won't either, but the title is "Total Eclipse".

      Wonderful video of Ferre....had not heard of him before. He is a master violinist, in the same fashion as me.(here I am using High Humor) We are two of a kind Leo and I. :) And what a wonderful voice, what feeling he sings with!!

      I read some of Patchen's work, well, I listened to it actually, some with jazz playing in the background....now he, he wanted to be a change agent. Look at this link, have you seen this?


      Bellisimo!! What a deep critical thinker.

      Thank you for sharing.......truly I have grown much in knowledge through this conversation, and have been given much food for thought, and I have you to thank for it Jaime. Gracias, muchas gracias.
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        Apr 20 2012: Mary I'm familiar with the Patchen work. Im a Patchen collector with two of his poems painted.
        He was a very nobleman respectfully with the words and their power.
        He paint in the midlle of pain and he knows suffering. He is among Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg, Kerouak, Burroughs and other lights in the City Lights in San Francisco.

        About the "Total Eclipse " picture is too bad, and don't deserve your fine attention. Its so "readers digest style"...en realidad la poca vida que gozaron fue muy fructifera. En especial la vida de Rimbaud es emocionante, existen biografias muy autorizadas sobre todo la de Enid Starkie, irlandesa.

        Leo Ferre es uno de los cantautores mas importantes de Europa junto con Georges Moustaky, Jacques Brel y Edith Piaf.
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    Apr 19 2012: I shutter to think that I dish out opinions, but maybe I ignorant to my own dishing of opinions. Awareness definitely helps with any cause, so shine more light and get more people into that new form of thought. =)
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    Apr 19 2012: Hello again Jaime
    I have enjoyed this thread very much. I have not yet seen all the links, and of course, being in China, I am unable to see the YouTube resources. Nevertheless, I will save this conversation for later study, and think about what I don't know. I am a generalist, a wanna-be Renaissance man, and experiencing the insight that a knowledgeable person can focus on one of the main problems of our time is enlightening, to say the least. I am encouraged to find people who understand and expand upon critical ideas and processes.
    Surely, these are the people that can, and will, find the solutions to our dilemmas.
    This is one of the deepest values of TED in general, and problem solving in particular.
    We are experiencing the results of the failure of society to appreciate the values of critical thinking, deeper understanding, and philosophy in general.
    At the rate decay is dissolving the foundations of Western Civilization, it may be too late to depend - again - on our children to save us.
    On the other hand, the rise of communicative technology gives us the ability to spread ideas more quickly than ever before. Perhaps we can Twitter or Facebook ourselves out of this quagmire. But I doubt it. We need something akin to a 'revival.' Not a revival of religious fervor. Rather, a rebirth of the belief in the necessity of deeper understanding, the value of wisdom, the the worth of the individual as a person, rather than a source of revenue. These concepts can not be boiled down to 180 characters in a Twitter comment. But perhaps the need for them can be.
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    Apr 18 2012: Why the poets are the first one to be eliminated by tiranic regimes?

    For example Mayakowsky in Russia. Garcia Lorca and Miguel Hernandez in Spain.

    The critical thinking in poetic form is unveareable by dictators.
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      Apr 19 2012: Yes Jaime, poets, also authors, and anyone who pens their ideas and shares them....they constiture a very dangerous threat to any tiranic regime.....because their words move you....get you thinking.

      Jaime, also, something that has always concerned me and has saddened me is to read about poets' life.

      Some of their lives were so dark and troubling. Perhaps they perceived too much, thought too much, pondered over their own insecurities and heartaches too much....I don't know..........your example of Rimbaud, he was a teenager when he wrote a season in hell, was he not?? And alo a user of absynth and opium?? Drugs in the 1800"s? An escape!!!

      We have come full circle with critical thinking sometimes affecting our relationships and our state of mind.......but sadly, I am no poet.....well, maybe I am.....free verse.....no on second thought, I am no poet.
      Any appropriate youtube links Jaime, for my ramblings.....?
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      Apr 19 2012: Poets are soul of humanity , poets has got the inner eye to see deep down in present , past and also forward to far future.......which dictators are scared of.........so they are enemies of TYRANTs anywhere anytime.....so such list is a long one....
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        Apr 19 2012: Salim, and isn't it amazing that the arts are the first things to be eliminated in education when there is a lack of funds......have you thought about that?

        Musicians also are feared. In China, did not the communist refuse to allow common people to have musical instruments in the past? I remember seeing this or reading about it somewhere.
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          Apr 20 2012: Mary and Salim....in the recent China history (in Mao's period) when chairman Mao took the power, he calls to all tha artists, poets,writers, sculptors, performers, players, and culture people to run a creativity contest in the aim to make great things for the Republic of China When all they give their names, Mao send the list to the Red Army and all were massacred.
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          Apr 20 2012: Hi Mary
          In my humble opinion (I know Jaime don't like OPINION and this discussion is abvout that) we are yet have any "Education System" anywhere so far my knowledge goes.......what we have everywhere I better take it as a "Certfication System".....these just certify......and even that certification is flawed.....

          It may sound peculiar, for sometime I sledom being bothered by any university closing down any of those creative subjects for which those tried to certify some people......

          I have no example of any great poet, painter was made by any University.....sorry Mary, I may sound a not being empathetic to your feeling about universities....well soemtimes facts are really bitter..........but that's the perspective I look for it......

          Jaime, I know there are lot of Media propaganda & hoax against country like China or ex Soviet Union (I am not telling they were all good, defintely they were tyranic to freedom of thoughts......is not it same here as well ?)......but fact is any Tyranic Regime are scared of Poets mostly than any other branch of creative people......
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        Apr 20 2012: You make a very good point here Salim...........true artists do not need a certificate of any kind, or to go to university.

        I agree.

        Also, I have said this to my daughter many times, I am a natural teacher.......it is in my blood......I love to teach others concepts, ideas, help children learn. It is what I do best....I had to go to university because I had no choice. They would not let me teach without the little paper.

        And please do not apologize.....my view of university is slightly like yours.

        What I was referring to was a cut in the arts programs in primary school.

        To me it is a shame, because through it, is when many children are exposed to the arts for the first time in their young life. It is when they first hold a paint brush, and get their hands in modeling clay, and make ceramic figures and work with mixed media.....also, through the music teacher, they learn to play on various instruments, and read notes and listen to the great composers.............there is much to be said as to how the arts programs in elementary school benefit society.

        Even if the child does not become an artist, his appreciation for the arts may impel him to be a consumer of art............buying paintings, and attending symphonies, and buying poetry books...etc.....

        What do you think?
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          Apr 20 2012: Hi Mary
          I fully agree with your thoughts about seeding seed of arts in kids .....again it seems to me so called certification system whether it's school or university it is either of very little in this regard or none....

          Well one can argue in kids text book of school there are poetry or rhymes....yes those are there but what the school is doing with that, other then just making kids to memorize and vomit in exam paper?

          I am neither an artist nor an expert critic of artist (there is saying that failure arists become critics :)) , may be I am just a buyer as you mentioned.....that didn't come from my education system ........may be some of that intension came from my family, from society around and my own natural instinct......

          What I am doing now with my kids is I am trying to instill that in them......in my own way , forgetting what their school will be doing for them......

          I am great admirer of science and technology but I am also fond of art even if I don;t understand it full so I want to make my kids such.....I want to keep them curious....I try to encourage them to be imaginative whenever I get time to do so......

          Well I am going off topic here so stopping......
          Have a great day.
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      Apr 20 2012: The artists are the leaders, think about it do the words of any politician enter your thought process?, how about artists? Artists are the ones who truly influence the culture.

      Unfortunately Mao and his ilk are basically scared shitless so anyone who is a potential threat to them are attacked.
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        Apr 20 2012: Yes Pat...the artists influence in culture is beyond the times.
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      Apr 20 2012: ".............Mao took the power, he calls to all tha artists, poets,writers, sculptors, performers, players, and culture people to run a creativity contest in the aim to make great things for the Republic of China When all they give their names, Mao send the list to the Red Army and all were massacred."

      This is one of many examples that always makes me think of wise king Solomon's words in Ecclesiaster 8:9

      "I have seen, and there was an applying of my heart to every work that has been done under the sun, during the time that man has dominated man to his injury."
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    Apr 18 2012: Salim...."All truth passes through three stages, First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self evident." Arthur Shopenhauer.

    Do you trust in kids?
    They know what they need, but the dont know HOW to get.
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      Apr 18 2012: Speaking of kids and their mental faculties.....a poem...........Enjoy!!

      My dad gave me one dollar bill
      'Cause I'm his smartest son,
      And I swapped it for two shiny quarters
      'Cause two is more than one!

      And then i took the quarters
      And traded them to Lou
      For three dimes-i guess he don't know
      that three is more than two!

      Just then, along came old blind Bates
      And just 'cause he can't see
      He gave me four nickels for my three dimes,
      And four is more than three!

      And i took the nickels to Hiram Coombs
      Down at the seed-feed store,
      and the fool gave me five pennies for them,
      And five is more than four!

      And then i went and showed my dad,
      and he got red in the cheeks
      And closed his eyes and shook his head-
      Too proud of me to speak!
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        Apr 18 2012: Mary M poetry is one of the highest form of critical thinking.

        Leaves of Grass from W. Withman for example.

        Une saison en enfer from A. Rimbaud...superb.

        Henry V from W. Shakespeare, a truly master class for strategy and heroism.
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    Apr 18 2012: Salim Im not neuroscientist, but this is an article tht could help you in your question.
    How can measure your own irony or creativity? Whay we have to measure all?
    The human brain is a very complex structure, uknown yet.
    Why this measurement cuture...the cult for size, the numeric rituals, the accent in quantity but not in quality?

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    Apr 18 2012: Jamie, " ... critical thinking has been replaced by opinions." Is that a fact or your opinion? Do you really want to unmask all liers and hoax-makers? If your kid has a eye in the middle of his forehead, buck teeth, and floppy ears that makes him look like Dumbo a politician will say how handsome he is. Most of the world tells lies. All book writers and movie makers are hoax makers. I enjoy the banter of word and thought and indulge in critical thinking upon occassion. However, the world be really dull if that was all there was. You last question is "Why we have to believe them?" You are not required to believe them. People allow themselves to be decieved. It is your responsibility to adjudge the truth. Accept it or reject it ... its your decision. All the best. Bob.
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      Apr 18 2012: Also the best for you Bob......thank for your point of view. In my next post Ill show you a sintesys of the data avalaible about this matter.
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    Apr 17 2012: Jaime, if you look at definitions of logic you will see thst logic is simply the application of a systematic process to reach an outcome. It can cover the aapplication of the process to hard facts, and it can include pure abstractions. But in essence, it starts with a set of inputs, applies a systematic process and produces an output. That's not my opinion, it is a description of a recognised intellectual discipline. Unless you are trying to create a completely new definition rather than use the recognised one, critical thinking is a subset of logic.

    A premise is merely a premise, and in many cases its validity is a matter of opinion. I would be interested to know whether you think the following can be considered as inputs to critical thinking, and the reasons behind your views:
    - religious bekiefs
    - morality / ethics
    - the opinions of others
    - the probability of something where there is insufficient factual information
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    Apr 17 2012: I am sure that if someone designed a pyramid of thinking, then critical thinking would be near the top, along with creative thinking. Along the bottom edge would be all the things we 'know.'

    Children can be very creative, because of their freedom, their lack of technical expertise, and their lack of fear that they will 'do it wrong.' But that does not mean that what they create is as valuable, as beautiful, as wonderful, or even as creative, as the work done by an artist who understands the nuances of his trade, the impact certain factors will have upon his audience, the costs and losses involved in beginning a work of art.

    And who is to judge the value, the beauty, the wonder, or creativity of the work? Of course the parent will be overjoyed at any creativity shown by their child. But in the world at large, it is those people with the technical expertise, the understanding of nuance, an appreciation of the skills, costs, and total creativity of the art that can judge the work. These people have the understanding of what it takes to be critical of the work. Their opinion has much more value than the opinion of a parent toward her child.

    'Opinion' is the sum total of your knowledge and understanding. If a person has a lot of knowledge and little understanding, their opinion is of less importance than a person who also has understanding.

    I do not want to be the patient of a doctor who knows everything, and understands nothing. Nor do I want to be the patient of a doctor who knows nothing and understands everything.

    As in much of life, a balance is best. Knowledge, plus understanding, plus kindness and humanity must find a balance in a person. Choosing one thing at the cost of loosing the others leads to a path filled with sorrow.
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      Apr 17 2012: Jon you are right...the top is amazement....equal creativity
      The ancient greeks deseigned this knowledge archetypes based in the wisdom from the ancient arian in predravidic ages. The other name for critical thinking is epistemology that means...the demostrated knowledge. Is just behind amazement or zoumazein, in the top of the piramyd. The basis contains the two forms of ignorance....doxa the lowest level where live the ones who believes all without any question, and the euprepes, the ones who simulates a fake to pretend de different.
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    Apr 17 2012: Jaime, critical thinking.......in your use of it in this question....is it critical....because we want to critique....or critical because it is essential?

    Also, you said to Bob: "The critical thinking is not to be learned but discovered."......can you break this down for me.

    How does one help adults discover.....? Can they be prodded...? I know all about helping children......I am at a loss when it comes to adults.
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      Apr 17 2012: Mary I believe that the essential thing is to be in critical status, allways...thinking, feelling, acting....even if you are quite, relaxing and in calm....critical status is creativity in pure basis....
      the children doesnt know the time (cronos) they live in kairos the time in no time...the eternal present....so they are in critical status...feelling first trough experience....but we adut discover the death...no escape....the eternity is waiting for us and maybe its latter than we think....when we loose the kairos status (from seven-eight) we has to do a lot to learn anything....then we begin to use the intellect....to express our experience trough the mind...we loose the realm f soul and spirit in the logical procedures....critical thinking is usefull to throw by the window all the prejudices and false ideas...all the phantoms. So when you reach the window throw the extra weight, then look for the door and be brave to open it to a new brave world.....reborn in life....recover the kairos and be eternal in the present. The critical thinking is the sublime use of the doubt.
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        Apr 17 2012: Jaime, ok, ....Critical as in critical status....thinking, feeling, acting, as if your life depends on it. Yes.

        And, yes, even if you are quiet, relaxing and calm.......you can still be critically thinking and processing thoughts....yes, yes I understand what you mean.

        Once you are critically thinking then you are able to have a different mindset....you are liberated from false ideas and prejudices.

        Well then, who have you found to exhibit this type of critical thinking.....is there a particular group of people....high IQ, low IQ, educational level.....what group???? Is there a criteria?

        In your opinion who are the critical thinkers today?

        I like your ending thought......"critical thinking is the sublime use of the doubt"
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          Apr 17 2012: Mary I dont believe in opinions.....

          yes theres a particular group of people:...Humankind
          The IQ is a hoax...the educational leven don assure wisdom or creativity
          The best critical thinkers today, tomorrow and yesterday are children....

          They do what they want, because they dont know that they cant do it.
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          Apr 18 2012: Hi Jaime

          Can you please explain a bit why IQ you think to be hoax?

          All psychometric analysises have got instinct limitation so the IQ does, but that is so far one of the most statistically reliable tests ....

          Yes there are many poorly designed , pseudo IQ test materials available which can make wrong judgement or as you told a hoax but a well designed Test Matrial from authentic source done by an qaulified psychologist do sheds enough light on person's intelligence capability (however still language and cultural bias can impact the outcome to some extent.....)

          IQ tests analyses different domains of skill of human brain...like Verbal Inetlligence, Mathematical Ability, Spatal Reasoning Skill , Logical Reasoning Skill , Visual Skills etc etc....... yes (I guess) it misses any test on Critical Thinking.......is it the reason to call IQ to be Hoax?

          I am not a psychologist so I am not sure what is the best way of fathoming someone'e Critical Thniking ability....

          About kids what you told , I feel that is the wonderfully enormous ability of kids being Curious ....but to call that ability of Critical Thinking I am not sure about !

          P.S. Mary , It's a revenge hIjack of REPLY button ha ha ha
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          Apr 18 2012: Salim

          It could be the rabbit and the turtle,they both start at the starting but finish at different times.I've always found that if the person does not want to learn then he won't until they see something that they do want to learn about.

          It's just a stab in the dark.
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          Apr 18 2012: Ken
          By mentioning about person's reluctance to learn you reminded me a story......so sharing.

          The story is about a kid , who usually bears instinct tendency to learn that's why the ask lot of questions.....many of which we adults being unable to answer due to different reasons usually stop them (that's a killer!!)

          This particular kid had one exception. S/he used to dislike Math like anything so used to try to avoid that in all possible ways. But parents of that kid was adament to make her/him an expert in math as they thought that's the key to success.

          So they applied all techniques, looked for differenmt turtors, paid them high to make their kid interested in Math....all went in vein.......

          Finally they could find one confident tutor who was known to have some unqique technique to make kids interested in subject they are not interested.So this new tutor got the job.....for a week the teacher did nothing just spent time with kid playing , gossiping and doing whatever the kid likes.....

          Then one afternoon tutor took the kid for a walk to a near by forest.....the came across a tree where some very beautiful birds were sitting.......very casually the turtor told the kid ...hey look above what beautiful birds those are !!!

          The kid look up and wow yes how beautiful they are ....once back home I will paint this tree with so beautiful birds.....Teacher told thats a good idea....but how many birds you will draw?

          Kid looked up for a while, counted those and then told 15 ........Then the teacher asked well if 7 birds flies away now how many birds will be there then

          The kid looked at the tutor....thought a bit ....and then replied "well I undertsand, you are trying teach me math ....I am not going to learn that, so is not going to answer........

          It's a kid story but I think lot more adults around who have this attitude.
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          Apr 18 2012: Thats a good one,it made me think.
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        Apr 17 2012: You have then thrown me a left curve.....I guess that is why my son put his hand on the kitchen stove, despite the fact we told him it would be hot.....he got branded with the rings of the burner as a result....lovely site.....he still canot help to this day touch the stove each time he passes.....again he burned his finger the other day....hmmm.I don't know enough about the IQ to answer your statement. I will give your comment some thought.

        Oh, and, Are you a critical thinker? Would this be your opinion Jaime, or have you been told you are a critical thinker?
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          Apr 17 2012: Mary I dont thrown to you any curve....

          I'm just an apprentice of critical thinking...
          and I dont throw any opinion about any subject.
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        Apr 17 2012: I meant it as a humorous statement Jaime....it made me laugh.

        Because the last thing I expected was for you to say Children are the best critical thinkers

        My small understanding of critical thinking comes from my university studies and from numerous workshops and seminars on the subject as it relates to helping develop this skill in chidren.

        I assumed that it was the same critical thinking you referred to, but I was wrong? I don't know.....I just don't know.

        Anyways, opinions count. Sometimes opinions can lead to great conversations.....
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          Apr 18 2012: Mary....all this conversation with you is in H_Mayor (humor mayor....) like a jazz quartet...theres a lot of thing tht I dont know... really I'm a professional ignorant...so what?...as miles davis said

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        Apr 18 2012: oh Jaime.....just what I needed, thank you so very much.....what an appropriate title....yes, so what?

        I will keep it and use it accordingly.

        Let me say something here, there is much to say for humor.....and for the brain to process the use of it....One of my favorite 5 minutes of the week was listening to the ramblings of Andy Rooney.....on the news show 60 minutes. He had a way with words.
        Also, there is a TEDster who is very humorous, it is a shame he did not make his way here.
        He started a conversation using a play on words that involved Shakespeare and a major religion. It was removed.....but oh what a mind this gentleman has.

        I find that usin humor in conversations, when appropriate of course, makes it more enjoyable.

        I have had to deal with being the only one who finds humor in statements, and I will laugh out loud or snicker, just to be assaulted by the looks of people wondering what is so funny... But I cannot help it, I get what others don't....also the reverse is true. I will join your league of professional ignorant people.....where do I join this club?

        You raised some very interesting questions in your introduction, I hope you will make an effort to take the conversation in the direction of trying to talk about some of those questions. I would love to hear what others have to say.

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          Apr 18 2012: Mary remember Marx (Groucho not Karl)...."I don't care to belong to a club that accept people like me as members"....
          So ...what?

          Now in some "serious words" the afraid from someones to be engaged in a "intellectual conversation" is the first proof of a silent opinion. Really I appreciate the people who take the time to said something, and with all my respect I answer...but anyway not so all can come inside....and stay....TED is a real realm to be outside from all the noisy enviroment of pseudo theories....
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        Apr 18 2012: Well, if I think I can contribute some of my small knowledge in a conversation, intellectual or not, I give it a try.....anyways, what can I lose?

        Did you know we are having a TEDx here in South Florida in Sept?

        I will try and volunteer to help out.....it is a bit far driving distance, but maybe the experience will be good for me. What do you think?

        I see your picture behind the sign. Have you given a talk at a TED event?
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          Apr 18 2012: Mary in TED you learn to discover, to be sharp and precise, to be clear and humble...I learned a lot. My TED talk was about amazement, astonishment, and a pencil as my favorite technology. Go to help, is an opportunity to be part of the knowledge net lo live better and also with our ignorance to smile better.

          If you want to take a look inside my design atelier:

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    Apr 16 2012: In this TED conversation we found a lot of points of view. Richness and diversity is assured following the three TED words:
    Ideas worth spreading. This three words are everlasting. The same in the Roman Empire, the paleolitic ages or in the outterspace today, the ideas worth spreading means more than words itself...signifies the very roots of our culture and civilization. We are creators of culture. This conversation is focused in one of the principal human gifts: the critical thinking. With this instrument all civilizations were designed and nurtured. Without this the barbarian invasion is ready, but not from outside...worst: from inside. Is not my intention to set up an sterile fight. TED is not an arena for gladiators and theres not an emperor to jugde if we live or die. I prefer the rich dialog and polemic in order to discover knowledge.

    The lenguage level here is the more precise possible. Of course is not the mumblejumbe from new googlebarbarians. And if some individuals are out of this boundaries, well, I cant go to an Oprah, CNN or Sesame Street lenguage level. I pressume the good and nice education of all the participants but I cant assure the eternal and democratic understanding of all we discuss here. I prefer to lost in the attempt to communicate the mistery than gain for a cheap vulgarization of commonplaces.
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      Apr 17 2012: "I prefer to lost in the attempt to communicate the mistery than gain for a cheap vulgarization of commonplaces."

      Translation please for me the commoner, thanks.
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary you quoted Proverbios 14:17.........
        you told me about loose friends with your words

        is the same thing
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          Apr 17 2012: OK....
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    Apr 16 2012: Re: Mary’s quote:

    “Critical Thinking as Defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking: ‘Critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.’”

    I find the term “critical thinking” potentially misleading. A common understanding of “critical” implies to criticize or judge. People not exposed to the academic meaning are excluded from the discussion.

    Our State’s mental health system decided it was important that clients had input into their treatment, and that all of their rights were respected. They engaged in an “intellectually disciplined process of actively (and so they thought) skillfully conceptualizing applying analyzing and evaluating” how to ensure this would accomplished. A client came to me after three visits to a Community Mental Health Center, and I asked what she worked on. She said “Nothing, we just filled out a bunch of paperwork.” I asked her some questions about her concerns and experiences and encouraged her to pose questions so that our discussion became a mutual exploration of understanding and clarifying what was bothering her and what she could do about it. After three sessions her problems were resolved. I later received a 23 page report from her previous therapist, which verified that my client had input into her treatment and that her rights were respected.

    The academization of critical thinking has turned it into something you need to take a course in order to learn. I would recommend dropping the term “critical thinking” and simply emphasizing the importance of asking helpful questions to get a clearer picture from a variety of perspectives. Every child does this naturally.
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      Apr 16 2012: Bob, again I state that the definition is clear and concise.

      Look, when we see, have experiences, think about our experiences, and talk about them, we can then in the future make choices based on all that has happened in the past........the Council says that it is an intellectual discipline....which is nothing more than the use of our mental faculties, which we are all endowed with.

      I really think that many people today are not exposed to thinking about their thinking.........It starts early. Not only should children be told and encouraged to ask why? But parents should ask children why? Why do you feel that way. Why did you choose to act in such a manner. Open, honest communication with lots of questions encourages critical thinking.

      We want people to be alert and think before acting.

      Today, with all this technology, people believe all kinds of things they read on-line and see on tv.......people are easily lied to. Why? Because their mental faculties are not trained to perceive when they are being misled. There is a lack of love and consideration out there Bob. You sound like a wonderful well-intentioned individual who will go the extra mile to help someone in need......it is a rarety in many institutions, and a global issue in my opinion.

      To me critical thinking does NOT imply criticize or judge......no sirry...........it implies critical as in your life depends on it!!! Use it or lose it......a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

      It would be a shame that many TEDsters, feeling the same as you, stayed out of this conversation, because it is a very important one. And you have shown, what a misunderstanding of an expression can result in.

      Jaime asks a very important question here. It is not for intellectuals. I am not an intellectual....again, I repeat, I am an elementary teacher, wife and mom, who loves to cook and listen to music, and cross-stitch, and hike in the mountains. And I love to talk about all kinds of subjects, including our thinking.
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        Apr 16 2012: Mary, I agree that the "official" definition of critical thinking is clear and concise to anyone who has completed a few years of college. I am not sure it is helpful in helping people to clarify what is true and relevant.
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          Apr 17 2012: OK, I'll agree to that (although some high schoolers I know are pretty bright), but ok. But I don't think that people in general need to know the definition of critical thinking to put it into practice. Do you?

          Look Bob, let me ask you this, because I really am interested, not only in understanding you, but also in helping adults I know with this issue.

          Do you feel there is a lack of critical thinking in adults?
          If yes, which adults do you feel lack this skill the most?

          And secondly, have you helped someone to overcome critical thinking problems/issues?

          I really will appreciate your insight, and experiences.

          Thanks, Mary
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary wrote "But I don't think that people in general need to know the definition of critical thinking to put it into practice. Do you?" I think the definition and the term itself interfere with people putting it into practice. Why not simply talk in terms of clarifying or asking questions that help one understand and see a larger picture more clearly.

        Mary asked: "Do you feel there is a lack of critical thinking in adults?
        If yes, which adults do you feel lack this skill the most?" I believe that the lack of ability to ask good questions is one of the most pressing problems facing our world today. The adults who seem to lack the skill the most in my opinion are politicians and the journalists who Interview them and never never seem to follow up with questions that actually get to the truth.

        Mary asked: And secondly, have you helped someone to overcome critical thinking problems/issues? -- I've worked as a teacher and counselor for 36 years with the goal of helping students and clients to see and think more clearly. I facilitated and empowerment program for people in poverty, called the Hard Times Café, for nine years. A major thrust of my work there was ensuring that the consensus decision-making process was clear and inclusive. Patrons formed self managing teams that operated all facets of the program, including office management, accounting, starting and operating businesses, strategic planning, and overall management of the program and weekly meetings. In my opinion, mostly all of the 1200+ people who participated in the program demonstrated an ability to clarify and ask helpful questions that allowed them to see a larger picture more clearly from various perspectives. It was the most efficient operation I have ever seen. The training manual for this program is available on my website www.bobvanoosterhout.com under empowerment.
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          Apr 17 2012: Bob said: "I believe that the lack of ability to ask good questions is one of the most pressing problems facing our world today. The adults who seem to lack the skill the most in my opinion are politicians and the journalists who Interview them and never never seem to follow up with questions that actually get to the truth."

          Even if the right questions are asked Bob, politicians skillfully dance around the answer.....

          Politicians are critical thinkers, but their use of it falls into the definition that I provided before:

          "Critical thinking........when grounded in selfish motives, is often manifested in the skillful MANIPULATION of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’ vested interest."

          Like Jaime said 4 days ago, "plastic language"......."noisy tsunami".......that is why we, the common people have a need for exercising our thinking abilities, to recognize when we are being lied to.

          Thank you so much for answering my questions. It has been a pleasure to exchange thoughts with you.

          Be Well.
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary wrote: "
        "Critical thinking........when grounded in selfish motives, is often manifested in the skillful MANIPULATION of ideas in service of one’s own, or one's groups’ vested interest."

        I disagree with this statement. Clarifying and asking helpful questions leads to the truth. If critical thinking is simply skillful use of language to achieve a potentially selfish goal, it is best not to teach it.
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          Apr 17 2012: Bob wrote:
          "I disagree with this statement."

          You are disagreeing with the horse's mouth.....in other words, the people who say what critical thinking is and isn't. You are not disagreeing with me.

          Bob said earlier:

          "I believe critical thinking is natural. We simply need to model, promote, and support it. Imagine the effects that might have on our educational, political, and economic systems"

          Because critical thinking happens naturally, some learn to maneuver it for their advantage.
          You cannot tell me that when people ask insightful questions it is only for a common good.

          Alot of corrupt individuals have studied humans, and they know how we tick, and they manipulate knowledge of events and ideas and humans. Or do you disagree with this also?

          Critical thinking, can be used for good but also for bad...........Sometimes we want to be wise in our own eyes.
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          Apr 19 2012: Mary, the folk at the website you quote, who claim to be THE authoritative source on "critical thnking" are no more "the horses mouth" than we (, Bob, Jaime, Paul & me )who are using the term in a non normative way but a way that jibes one with the other .

          Jaime's original question posited "critical thinking" as the opoosite of "opinion" ..as being rooted in different soil and yielding different fruit. The view we are putting forth, that critical thinking ( as the opposite of mere opinion) is a natural state doesn't challenge or invalidate or conflict with more conventional views and teachings of "critical thinking"
          as a skill.

          However to think of "critical thinking" as the opposite of opinion..to think of opnion as something that is acquired and imposed on top of that..is very fruitful and empowering.

          When it comes to the great wisdom paths there is no "horse's mouth" there are many different paths that all converge in the same place.

          The thing we must wrestle with and oversome to move us forward is this realm of opinion and meme which masks truth and lulls the senses into a stupor of blin acceptance. That is the primary condition to which, I think Jaime speaks in framing this question.

          It doesn't really matter what name we give to the opposite of that ..but it is the opposite of that that is the way out,
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        Apr 17 2012: Mary wrote "You are disagreeing with the horse's mouth.....in other words, the people who say what critical thinking is and isn't. You are not disagreeing with me"

        I don't have a problem disagreeing with the horses mouth. I often disagree with people at the other end of the horse as well.

        Mary wrote "Because critical thinking happens naturally, some learn to maneuver it for their advantage.
        You cannot tell me that when people ask insightful questions it is only for a common good."

        Asking clear questions gets one to the truth. Any deviation or manipulation is revealed through the process of questioning. If critical thinking promotes something other than that, I have no interest in it.
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          Apr 17 2012: Bob wrote: "I don't have a problem disagreeing with the horses mouth. I often disagree with people at the other end of the horse as well."

          In an attempt at honest communication, one cannot help but deal with all kinds of individuals. Hopefully, noone on here belongs to the latter, because sadly, that would not be conducive to upbuilding interaction.

          Bob wrote: "Asking clear questions gets one to the truth. Any deviation or manipulation is revealed through the process of questioning. If critical thinking promotes something other than that, I have no interest in it."

          Well Bob, I still think that knowing that some people use questions to maniputalte others' thinking is important to acknowledge, because having this knowledge allows us to discern when someone is using this tactic and then we can act accordingly.

          Some people, in an attempt to hide truths will answer any given question with: "why do you want to know?"...........and although we have a right to know why people ask us questions, when that reply comes from someone who owes you an answer, well then, they may be revealing they have something to hide. Oh, I'm not sure you will be able to read and subsequently understand what I just typed, but I hope so. This point of mine comes from alot of experience dealing with many individuals and watching interactions between them.

          I agree with alot of what you have said, and I appreciate the interchange of your ideas and opinions on this subject.

          Thank you. Have a great day.
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      Apr 16 2012: Ok Bob as you said "asking helpfull questions to get a clearer picture from a variety of perspectives"...

      I asking you (and I hope sincerely to be helpfull)...Have you read "The deliberated dumbing down of America" from Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt?

      Do you know the "Lugano Report" from Susan George?

      In that two seminal papers,the education is in the center of the storm, as here and now.

      Well Bob, theres just two different perspectives about the use, missuse and abuse of critical thinking.
      As I see in your profile that you are a current College instructor and counselor and "...(sic) living with heart, understanding and exploring the potential of human nature, and working to solve problems us from living life to its fullest"...
      Unfortunately is not in my hands to drope the term of "critical thinking". The critical thinking is not to be learned but discovered. The veil of ignorance occult all our natural and cultural gifts in this new dark age.
      The pianist Glenn Gould said...:"For me is hard to understand very simple things".
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        Apr 16 2012: Hi Jaime, I have not read either of those authors. Thanks for the suggestion. My belief is that the frames that we use to define our reality are defined and passed down to us without much questioning. My work involves helping people see larger, clearer frames that allow us to work together to recognize and realize our potential.
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    Apr 16 2012: Jaime , me again to answer your last two question in your post under your main premise......

    We need to keep cool , enrich & equip ourselves better then counter them with solid insight to unmask those "liers & hoax makers" ......walking away from them will give them lead (I did walk away a number of times but will not do again).

    We need not to believe them .....shy should we.....

    But yes today with help of technology LIERs became really powerful then ever before...........
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    Apr 15 2012: Frans you are completly right, thank you for participate.
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    Apr 15 2012: Well its time for a coffebreak....and music. Enjoy this classic.....

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      Apr 15 2012: Beautiful...My kids absolutely loved it too....I had to click on the other videos by them...these are songs from my teenage years.....
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    Apr 15 2012: Jaime

    Would you look at these links and tell us in your opinion whether this is a step in the right direction that you propose?




    These were taken from Alexander Wilkes post from

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      Apr 15 2012: Ken great links...here in Guadalajara we work with children in the Asombratorium. In coincidence and corcondance with Ludosofici in Italy. Teaching the principles of epistemology to kids we can prepare a new generation capable to search, quest, discover and amazement. We plant seeds for the future today. So we discover that everyday we are more and more.
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    Apr 15 2012: Jaime, you say thereis no degree in critical thinking but that is not entirely true. It is true to the extent that the speaker either has or has not applied critical thinking.

    But if you apply critical thinking to that statement, it doesn't say a great deal. Mary has found a good definition for critical thinking. It points out that observation and experience feed into the critical thi nking exercised by an individual. Because of that, two individuals can apply critical thinking to the same situation and reach different conclusions.

    Imagine you meet a group of walkers on a mountain. The air is electric with an oncoming storm, and storms in that area are extremely dangerous. It is important for that group to get off the mountain quickly. You ask where they are heading, check your map and advise them to take a certain route. Clearly you have applied critical thinking.

    That evening you meet the leader of the group, and discover that they did not follow your advice. Were they wrong? Your advice was based on critical thinking.

    The group leader was not wrong. Your critical thinking was based on your own knowledge and experience. That did not include an understanding of the people involved and the group dynamics. The group leader knew that your proposed route, while perfectly safe for walkers, included a very exposed section. One member of the group was likely to freeze on such terrain, so it would actually have taken much longer to get the group back by that route. They factored this into their critcal thinking and decided that a longer, less exposed route would take less time.

    Both you and the group leader exercised critical thinking, yet you reached different conclusions.

    Critical thinking is like any other form of logic. The result depends on the premises which form the start point for your reasoning, so there is no absolute right and wrong.
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      Apr 15 2012: Anne you are talking about "criteria"...the result from critical thinking and common sense. But anyway you are right when you mention "different conclusions"....from the same principle. And theres some criteria for this or criteria for that. You applied it following the circumstances. And certainly the "democracy" is not a matter to be followed in the mountain.

      The logic is the art to commit perfect mistakes...we didn't talk yet about common sense. Is the other side of critical thinking. Of course this conversation includes your right to disagree and I wellcome your experienced words. Thank you.
  • Apr 15 2012: Everyone wants to believe that they are right. It's hard to keep your pride when you find that your logic and reasoning is flawed on some level. The natural response I've seen to this is to get on the defensive. Just look at the kids who swear at each other because they died on a game online.

    The only thing stopping people from achieving greatness is their pride. I was working on a project a while ago to build my own video game. I actually made good progress having never done something like it before. But as I completed a part of it that took me a long time to do, I was looking around at what other people were doing in terms of independent video game development and the only thing I could think to myself is that they were so much better than me.

    My pride, wounded, stopped me from working any more on that project. I intend to try again at some point but through the conditioning of "Only the strong survive", courtesy of the Discovery Channel/Social situations/School/'Motivational' Office posters, I feel that my input to creativity will always be overshadowed by someone else which completely dulls my enthusiasm. To prove I actually made a project: http://barrick.deviantart.com/#/d3ldzn1
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    Apr 15 2012: Jaime

    For one who espouses critical thinking your statement is ambiguous maybe it is a language thing?

    I would say that the first thing about critical thinking is that you have to go though a comparison of values to determine how the concept fits together with what you know. A prerequisite to this is finding out what you don't know. Because the younger set appear to be lacking in the ability to simply copy or roger (military terminology) what is being said before any evaluation can be made I think the problem is prior to the critical thinking.
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      Apr 15 2012: Pat thank you to participate. The ambiguity that you find in my statement has to be more focused in the intellectual instruments that we all have . Let me show (in my experience) which are :

      1. Sinectics...The art of Comparison
      2. Mayeutics The art of Questioning
      3. Hermeneutics ...The art of Interpretation
      4. Heuristic...Tha art of Invention

      Theres no more intellectual instruments, and the intellect is usefull just for one and only one thing: Discover what really is and what really not. The main goal to be a critical thinker.
      Your point deserves to be analized because if you talk about the priority of problems, then before we have to be sure what kind of situation really is....there are just three variations: (from general ephistemology)

      1. Problems (just between things)
      2. Conflicts (just between individuals)
      3. States of disorder (the sume of problems and conflicts.

      But theres mor ephistemology inside this.....This three has just two variations:

      A. Complex.......when the constant rule over the variables.
      B. Complicated ...when the variables rule over the constant

      Then the situation is so different in all the cases and the critical thinking has to be aware of this subtle variations to define the strategy for solutions. Yes the evaluations is prior to see the reality. (In military terms)

      My english is so "rusticus", ambiguous. So excuse me for that. I do my best to express in this forum, but if you prefer I can speak in latin, spanish or italian. The main thing is to be understood.
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        Apr 15 2012: i have no interest in an intellectual conversation, as I'm not an intellectual.

        Can you boil your reply down to a point?

        My contention is that a lot of the people on TED don't know what they don't know. And that their ability to "copy" a communication is suspect.
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          Apr 15 2012: Pat... When (in TED or everywhere) the people don't know what they don't know, and "copy" we have to use the critical thinking, this is the very main topic of this conversation.

          This is not an intellectual conversation is just a nice talking inter-pares.
          The intellectual conversations are in very different and specialized forums.
          If you want to participate , you are wellcome, if not, its OK.
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        Apr 15 2012: Since I'm unable to get what you are saying, and have tried twice I will not try again.
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    Apr 15 2012: Mary Mary Mary......I'm generalizing with a bright exceptions....sure your experience is so rich, wonderfull, fantastic, extraordinary, much as mine.

    I've spend the most precious time in kindergarden, not so much in primary grades, in high was a ver colorfull inferno, the prep school : awsome with the jesuits and from that time is wonderfull.

    I've been from 16 to 61 in the realm of the jesuit education, all the university,the master courses, the Ph D and my post doctoral period right now running are marvelous. Here in Mexico and Italy.

    The etimologycal roots for "scholl" is SKOLE from the ancient greek and means CREATIVE LEISURE.
    Today the institutional fears in all the world wants to restraint the creative soul...we are dangerous to the general status, the system, the common place, the establishment or any name for the mask. So theres a general trend in all the world to supress the creativity and push the obedience. The creative intelligence is part of the critical thinking....other etymologic root for CRItic:
    from sanscrit means pass trough and give us the word for cry,s, CREam, CRIsis, CRItical, CREativity....cri cri cre cre like the smal CRIcket singing in the dark when we cant sleep (en español CRIcket es GRIllo).
    As you , me too, loose friends (not so much friendly)...but I think today is the beginnig of a new dark ages and here in TED we find others similar souls to be alert for the barbarians invasion.

    You mention a special perception....the perception is the root for experience and together born a new word here: CONCEPT ...means full of life (conception) so we could be full of life if our perception is so critical, so fine CRIba (sCREen) to let pass just the finest.

    Yes Mary we lost friends in one hand, but in the other we have the richness to found a new and precious ones as you.
    Yo si quiero oir tus experiencias, por favor compartemelas....
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    Apr 15 2012: Hi Jaime
    What about using a bit of common sense before......?
    "Critical Thinking" could be the best that I agree.
    Easiest and commonest "OPINION" about someting is referring so called "Conspiracy Theory"
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      Apr 15 2012: I feel like I am on a treasure hunt looking for reply buttons....LOL

      You say many interesting points on thinking Salim.

      #1.....Yes, curiosity is essential.....but sometimes curiosity can remain on the "knowledge" level. We might just enjoy being in the "know".......critical thinking goes beyond this.....it asks 'why?'......and then takes the answer of the 'why' and puts it to the test, applying it personally, then evaluating it's effect. Let me put it another way.....critical thinking to me, is like the scientific method of the human mental faculties....if we employ this method in life, we will be able to have common sense and make sound decisions.......BUT, and it is a big but........we never know if someone else is employing critical thinking to trick US.......so, in my humble opinion, and because I am a Christian, we do well to rely on godly wisdom and scriptural instruction and use scriptural principles to guide our lives, therefore, this way, our creator can help guide our lives, we don't have to go at it alone.

      This is the balance I personally have found.....as the scriptures say: "Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not lean upon your own understanding. In all your ways take notice of him, and he himself will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 I wholeheartedly believe this to be true in my personal experience.

      #2...And "our education system"....where is this? India, Europe?? it is too bad. Yes, it is terrible that only memorizing facts, then regurgetating them in a test is what some educators choose to do....and I say some educators, and not the system, because dedicated teachers go beyond the system Salim. Some here who have received the training refuse to even conduct science experiments in the classroom because the kids get out of hand.....imagine!!! A classroom full of equipment and training galore, but, an unwilling teacher. Sad, isn't it??

      This is an interesting topic...THANK YOU JAIME!!!
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        Apr 15 2012: Hi Mary
        I referred my country Bangladesh's education system. That's not very different though from Indian system as the framework of that system was done by our Colonial ruler British empire......

        The other point is other then education system our total social setting starts killing curiosity (whiich I consider to be the parent of all new invention, discovery and thoughts) at a very early age......You can't ask this , that .....because....it is not good, it's rude ....you are kid be don't try to be adult and so on.....

        Curiosity displays it's biggest power when one can ask ....."WHY"
        Journey of Critical Thinking , Lateral Thinking , Abstarct Thinking all I feel starts from curiosity......

        As you told if curiosity can stop being satisfied once converted in to knowledege......in my humble opinion right then CURIOSITY dies....and then that knowledge may turn in to dogma......Knowledge is infinite and ever changing only curious mind can remain open to it ....then use all the thinking technoques i.e. Critical , Lateral, Abstract to have a crystalized understanding......

        Have a good day
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        Apr 15 2012: Mary just one point:
        Knowledge , the concept, has two forms:

        Knowledge to be yourself...comes from inside and allways is valid and real. This reside in the intuition
        Knowledge to stay.............comes from outside and is just a landscape that pass. This reside in learning,

        INTUITION... In tuitere from classic latin. Means the inner tutor. In his/your voice, you can find wisdom.
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          Apr 15 2012: This again is beautifully stated......I find much delight in discovering the origins of words that I sometimes take for granted. Thank you so much for again shedding light on something I had not given much thought.

          Yes, I see this.....I "KNOW" that I love knowledge. And, that drives me to learn more and more......so my learning from external forces feeds my inner self.....and helps me find wisdom.....I can see this.

          My intuition tells me that you are enjoying your coffee break......I will share a saying that was on an old college t-shirt I wore into the ground..."No coffee, No workee".

          Here's to you!
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        Apr 16 2012: Mary is my great plesure share with you...I'm gratefull.

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          Apr 16 2012: Oh, this, this I must share with my mother...

          Here is Bossa Nova for you.....one of my favorites


          It brings memories of listening to it live by the Bay.....during university years......oh how time has passed....and still critically thinking, our minds, once expanded to the dimensions of new ideas (even in the form of music) never returns to it's original size (Oliver Wendell Holmes)

          Mil gracias Jaime. Me has hecho este domingo muy pero muy especial. No tengo palabras.
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      Apr 15 2012: Salim alo...

      nice comment about common sense. The so called common sense is some very deep...and requires profound "gnosis"...common sense is what connect all the senses....connect is the key word....
      Right now I have to go to breakfast with my family but I'll return with this. Thank you to be here.....
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        Apr 15 2012: Hi Jaime
        It's my pleasure to be here in your interesting topic.
        Enjoy breakfast with family, will catch up later to be enlighten with your thoughts.
        Have a good day
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      Apr 15 2012: Salim....some words abut common sense.

      Common sense is when we are with ALL our senses in common. Connected, interconnected. And I'm talking about ALL the 10 first senses and the other 54 natural senses.

      The Vedanta teach us the value of all the perceptions to be converted in experience.

      The first 10 senses are:

      1. Sight
      2. Audition
      3. Smell
      4. Taste
      5. Touch
      6. Movement
      7. Space
      8. Time
      9. Humor
      10. Love
      And the common sense is the eleventh sense connecting all the first 10 senses. If we loose that connection maybe we are out. ..Anhestesized. The synestesia is the ultimate experience for joy. And the other side of critical thinking.

      SEN means to go to some point in sanscrit. (To send... in english.)
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        Apr 16 2012: HI Jaime
        Sounds interesting.....any reference can I have for further understanding?

        Well I knew about well know 5 senses (1-5 of your list), and veda consider MIND as a Sixth sense

        Some sub-divides TOUCH in to four senses as different kind of nervous stiumulation involved for the following

        Cold, Heat, Preassure & Pain......

        Would love to know about all others out of 54 you mentioned...
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    Apr 13 2012: Ocio in spanish, is leisure in english.....LEISURE WITH DIGNITY.

    My grandmother told me that I born in leisure (vacations) and I follow their words. So I can't work because I'm very busy with my own things, I cant loose my time working.
    Alessandro Baricco wrote : "The neobarbarians escape to their google shelter."
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    Apr 13 2012: La repuesta es sencillo. Es mas facil para dar un opinion que pensar criticamente. Los opiniones no vale nada, pero los pensamientos logicos, y ideas bienformados, son preciosos.

    The answer is simple. It's easier to give an opinion than to think critically. Opinions don't cost a thing, but logical thought and well-formed ideas are almost priceless.
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      Apr 13 2012: Verble no se cual de las dos respuestas me gustan mas....la dada en espanol, o la formulada en ingles.

      Yes, well-formed ideas and logical thoughts are priceless.

      Very nice comment.
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    Apr 12 2012: Hola Jaime,

    I think that in many TED conversations critical thinking is there.....and also, many opinions.

    I think it is a matter of what is being discussed.

    Also, I think that sometimes, if we are not careful in choosing our words, we can easily be disrespectful.
    Because we cannot hear people's tone of voice, or see facial expressions, sometimes the most innocent of comments can get perceived as inappropriate.

    After you have been on TED for a while, you learn to write your comments in ways that is constructive.....and many debates for example have to end with agreeing to disagree......

    This is my opinion......we should not feel it is up to us to unmask liars and hoaxmakers......you can just state a fact, and provide links, without being disrespectful or insisting on your way is the right way.

    Hope my comments help you Jaime.
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      Apr 12 2012: Mary the TED example that I quoted was just an example...I know that and the opinion kingdom is so extended beyond TED. Is in the universities, in politics, in everyday life. The issue is Critical thinking versus opinion, without focusing in just one place. The afraid to exercise the critical thinking is a devastating cultural sickness in our days. Everyday some noble thing is vulgarized by opinions. With TED or without TED.
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        Apr 13 2012: I answered using TED, because you started your question using TED...

        Yes, of course, I agree with you that it is extended beyond TED.

        I think that the problem Jaime, is that people in general are followers, and not leaders.

        Some tall handsome man, with pearly white teeth and a $3,000 suit goes on tv, or shows up at your corporate headquarters and tickles your ears.....everyone goes oooh, aaah......

        I remember while living overseas that I was shocked to see tv commercials for really nasty stuff being promoted by American movie stars.........why???? because the manufacturers knew that their audience would go out and buy it because the "American movie star" was part of the advertising. I laughed and thought, if people back in the states knew this guy was out here making this tv commercial, they would totally lose respect for him.

        At some point, I also think that people acquiesce, and decide that it is better to just go along......because there is no fighting this system.

        Like you said, it is a devastating cultural sickness. But everyone wants the right to live and do as "they please".............so here we are.............

        "We can only control ourselves, we cannot control others"...........your question is something that all thinking people are constantly thinking about, because they cannot fathom anyone being so _____, I'll let you fill in the blank with the adjective of your choice.

        I'll close with a quote, in spanish.....I'm assuming you speak it...

        El vivo, vive del bovo,
        y el bovo de su trabajo.
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          Apr 13 2012: Mary, nice words and nice dialog, thank you...... if we want to change the world, the batlle is loose, but if we want to transform ourselves maybe we can find the equilibrium , the harmony, the balance.

          I practice the "sublime indifference" (that I learned with the jesuits) and see that we are in the neo ciber post high tec soft core hardnew barbarian age....so I built my fortress to see the devastation while rise my glass and toast for the brave and sensible (very few) people who remains awake...

          El vivo vive del bobo
          y el bobo de su trabajo......

          Another quote from the classic Cicero: OTIUM CUM DIGNITATE
          In spanish: OCIO CON DIGNIDAD.......

          ------------------------------------------------------FIll the line with the english translation. (I'm assuming you speak english.
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        Apr 13 2012: Jaime, thank you. I'm glad you understood my points.

        "Neo ciber post high tech soft core hardnew barbarian age"....that is one for my list of quotes.

        I think that many who are sensible, are trying to AWAKE! others from their intellectual, and also spiritual 'drowziness'.......DESPERTAD! les estan gritando......but, it is like drinking sleeping pills.....this system lulls you into a delicious borachera.....you are somewhere floating between being awake and falling asleep....until you finally give in........and off you go into lala land......how dangerous!

        On another note....thank you for correcting my spelling....bobo/bovo.......I struggle with b and v.

        And finally.......Ocio, as in slothness? Slothness with dignity? Well, yes I can see this. Correct me if I have translated the word incorrectly.

        Very nice exchanging ideas with you. And, yes, I speak english. :)
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    Apr 12 2012: Ane, Leena, Paul, Ed....thank you for your words... I believe that we don't need a "perfect education system" we need a human education system. But today any educational system is under the shadow from the media cibernetics system...anyone could transmit their opinion without the minimal critical thinking...opinions are worthless, sterile words, just sounds from mumble jumble noise. And the "cibersystem" push that open door policy to publish ans spread a lot of nonsense. The science and humanities are in peril of extintion....just an example:

    Everybody knows a fellow who believe anything from pseudo historic channels in TV or You Tube or so...and firmly believe that all the media detritus is true.....¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡

    Here in TED Conversations we found some examples . The use of the "plastic lenguage" is like a noisy tsunami.
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    Apr 12 2012: Dear Jamie,
    Critical thinking is a skill which is endowed on very few. Unfortunately our education system does little to develop and nurture this skill in students. This leads to a poor contribution in terms of opinions. I know it is a far cry to visualize a perfect education system, till then we have to bear and accommodate one and all respectfully.
    • Apr 12 2012: "Critical thinking is a skill which is endowed on very few." - Critical thinking is not an example of esoteric knowledge! It is something that is available to every single person on the planet, and a lot of people do it more often than they think.
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        Apr 13 2012: Paul,

        could you say a bit more?
        how is it available?

        could you say a bit more about how people do it more often than they think?

        are we using the term "critical thinking" in a way that doesn't allow us to recognize it at work.in others?

        in a discussion on seeds with pre schoolers after asking them where the seeds are in different things..apples, pumpkins etc. I asked them where are the seeds for a lettuce? ( we were about toplant lettices and had alreday looked at the lettuce seeds) there was concurrent surprise and wonderment as they wrestled with that and just naturally fell into collaborating on doscovering the answer to that.

        the naming and labeling of things..is the root of opinion..something cultivated from an early age as an essential "life skill" POSSESSING KNOWLEDGE instead of cultivating wisdom and discovery ..that simulatneous look of wonder and that mmediate instinct to set to work discovering where lettuce seeds come from is that indwelling natural ability to think critically.

        By the way..they reasoned their way in no time to the likliehood that lettice seeds did not come from the part we eat..that maybe lettuces make flowers.
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          Apr 13 2012: Lindsay...............as a fellow educator, I thoroughly loved reading your comment. Great illustration!!

          There are wonderful books that are stepping stones to critical thinking.

          Every teacher in college is taught Bloom's taxonomy.........and taught how to use it in class with their students.

          What happens many times is that teachers are no different than other individuals. They too take the path of least resistance. "Read pages 25-35 class, then answer the questions on the board"...........and so, kids do monotonous work over and over.

          You know, about a month ago, someone posted a conversation on here about what life lessons they had learned playing video games.........the answers blew me away.

          Many of the replies, over and over again, stated that their critical thinking skills were improved as a result of the games. They listed the names and gave detail information as to how their thinking abilities and decision making skills were improved in every day life.

          If you get a chance look for it. If you don't find it, let me know and I'll give it a go.

          Thanks for your great comment.
        • Apr 24 2012: When I speak of 'critical thinking' I speak of the ability to call into question that which is presented as fact - something that anybody can do if they are presented with the opportunity to do so. I feel that I may be at a disadvantage in this discussion having not the experiences of some, but I still feel very strongly that, if cultivated properly by enthusiastic and dedicated educators, critical thinking can be developed by anybody.

          When I say that people 'do it more often than they think' I mean that often people will shout at their televisions that what is being said is wrong, or contradict a referee's decision in a football game - these are examples, albeit unacademic examples, of critical thinking at work in the real world - these people are criticizing that which is being told to them.

          Critical thinking needs to be something that is named and encouraged more in schools - students shouldn't be punished for questioning their teachers authority, the should be lauded for it!

          The same thing needs to happen with a similarly important form of thinking - divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is a valuable asset to anyone and children should be encouraged to be more creative and punished less for being wrong.
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        Apr 24 2012: Paul,

        Thanks for your further explication of how natural critical thinking is and for emphasizing that the heart of it is a non reactive, non ideologoical constant alert and awake "fresh seeing""fresh understanding" of all information that comes to us .

        In those moments alone yelling at the TV or reading a story in the paper and saying "that's not right" we are connecting with this always present inner abilty to be present in the moment as a natural "critical thinkers".

        The role of educators, employers and spiritual leaders is to encourage not suppress this inate ability to instinctually to see and witness in a fresh and open way.

        I think we need a new term for that though as the term "critical thinking" has been taken over and presented in so many other ways.

        When I use the term I mean present to the possibiity of seeing more fully what any moment or message actually contains, more alert and open to the possibility that moment may hold for new discovery and higher awareness..
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      Apr 13 2012: I will say Leena, that as an educator, I have been trained in how to develop critical thinking in youngsters. I have had much success with it...........however, only having students for 10 months, and then off they go somewhere else, with a teacher that might be happy having robots in class.......well, I have no control of that.

      Critical thinking can be cultivated..........in my opinion. I think Linda gave a great example.

      However, I think what happens, is that we end up having belief systems, and unless you go through life thinking "I have to convince myself of the truth".....or "believe nothing, question everything".......or "I'm going to educate myself on many topics, so that noone can just feed me lies"...........it is hard to keep at being a critical thinker.

      People like to take the path of least resistance..........not because they are not critical thinkers........BUT, because they do not want to exercise their critical thinking skilll.

      WE ALL HAVE THEM.......it is like muscles..........if you lift weights, and exercise, you will develop them....if you don't, well, that's it then, you are flabby. (I of course I'm referring to individuals with cognitive abilities, because those with developmental issues, I am not in a position to comment on them)

      In my humble opinion, I think critical thinking is best taught at home, as soon as a baby is born. I strive to do this with my own kids.............always picking their brain, and throwing left curves at them........because, as they say........"A mind is a terrible thing to waste".
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      Apr 13 2012: Ed,

      Yes that is it entirely

      opinion is rooted in ego
      in judgment need attachment fantasy

      unknowingly it manufactures false narratives about ourselves , about worldevents

      it is a reactive rather than a relective way of engaing

      (so delightful to see you here again..happy spring)