This piece is written to support us in "thinking about our thinking."
Although the subject can at first seem rather dry, the issues are of the utmost importance in our personal lives and the survival of our species.
Why is it that we don't express the natural response of vehemently protesting being exploited and deceived, again and again? Why do we imbibe the pap that passes as news, instead of demanding truth? Why does our thinking tend to be narrow, rather than penetrating?
Field Marshal Göring - one of Hitler's earliest, longest-lasting associates, the top German military figure during World War II, and for a long-time Hitler's designated successor, said:
"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Göring shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood.
"But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.
"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
We have just passed the anniversary of 9/11. What stands out is the American public's lack of interest in the data that strongly suggests that this was a "false-flag" operation. Many still cling to emotions such as: 1) indifference - the sense that, "That was in the past, and I can't be bothered with it," and 2) aggression and defensiveness, which emanates from the idea that we were attacked by "outsiders." There is a clear absence of discernment re- the massive domestic and world-wide implications of this event. To date no one in our government has been prosecuted. If 9/11 was in fact a false flag, and the public remains in the dark, what message does this send re- our government using such tactics again? (See Fromthewilderness.com, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited by David Ray Griffin, and 9/11truth.org.)
It is widely accepted that we have used this approach to initiate wars in the past; e.g., the Gulf of Tonkin, the Spanish-American War and Operation Northwoods (proposed). In regards to these wars the population simply bought what the government was selling and remained disinterested in questioning further.
Beyond this, we see the same trends the concerning increasing revelations regarding extra-terrestrial visitations. Despite the enormous implications of these probable facts, we hold to our naivete re-our own and other countries' penchant for false-flag operations as the raison d'être to initiate wars. Our lack of interest and knowledge may in fact be setting up the human population for a near-future false-flag operation utilizing human-made extraterrestrial craft.
The goal of such a scenario would be "forcing" the need for the establishment of a world dictatorship to fight off our putative off-planet enemies. Until his death, Werner von Braun (a luminary in the realm of rocketry) maintained that these plans are all lies, and are a manifestation of the MIC's need for enemies. ("Cosmic Hoax" by Steven Greer -Youtube; Paul Hellyer - Youtube; siriusdisclosure.com; paradigmresearchgroup.org.)
Then there are expanding questions as to whether the coronavirus and the vaccines - purported to save our lives - are themselves bioweapons, focused on preparing us for further depopulation strategies and anti-democratic coercion, in a war against human freedom - moving us toward a "global reset." (Globalresearch.ca and Dr. Vernon Coleman, click here.)
Edward Snowden masterfully demonstrated that we now live in a surveillance state that dwarfs the one in Orwell's fictional 1984.
The fact that some 70 million people still support the Mafia don-like-wannabe Donald Trump, an authoritarian who has clearly demonstrated major fascistic trends, remains a serious conundrum.
The Need for Critical Thinking
It seems fair to say that the public is not particularly interested in the above issues, even though our present and future are at stake.
In many of the developing countries, the issues are more nitty-gritty: having enough food and water, decent shelter and clothing, having access to appropriate medicine, medical expertise, and basic employment.
We, in the "developed" countries, should be immensely grateful that we even have the luxury to contemplate the quality of our thought process. Yet, as we are preoccupied with the pandemic, employment, and childcare, as well as the instability of our politics and the world at large, we, too, are distracted, tired, and currently have limited attention to give to larger issues.
Subconsciously, no doubt things like rampant racism, global warming, and the growing gap between the rich and the poor exist in the back of some of our minds. Some react to the accelerating rate of change and instability by embracing fundamentalism with its black and white answers.
Understandably, many of us tune out in the face of a world and domestic situation that feels so intractable and complex. The "You can't fight city hall" meme works its magic, allowing us to function and sleep at night.
Yet, our denial does not prevent us from remaining the pawns of large trends that will severely affect the world and, in turn, ourselves and our families. Our denial only increases the probability that these trends will strengthen.
There will always be people who choose not to care or think about larger issues. And for many of us, when things are relatively copasetic, it is easy to become complacent and indifferent, going along and getting along. The question is - as a population - where will this lead us?
We know where these thought patterns led the Germans pre- and during WW2.
The games being played this time have to do with world hegemony. Can we allow ourselves to simply drift along, watching the news and other forms of entertainment, while limiting our concerns to our own immediate circle?
What is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is "thinking about thinking."
We have been named Homo Sapiens sapiens - "the human who is doubly wise." This refers to our capacity to "step back" and observe our inner processes of perceiving the world. Too often, this is a muscle we ignore or simply don't choose to utilize.
Critical thinking involves an objective, unbiased, open critique.
A critical thinker is an active questioner of ideas while maintaining a deep and wide perspective, instead of being a passive recipient of answers developed by someone else.
Critical thinking can discern logical fallacies and cognitive biases. It has been defined as: "the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, self-regulation, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action." Its aim is mental clarity and effective problem-solving. This can become a habit, our baseline.
To become better critical thinkers, we can ask simple questions, challenge common assumptions, become aware of our biases, and carefully evaluate sources of information, while seeing through sources that are projecting propaganda or dogma.
Attitudes that foster critical thinking:
--- Dedication to reality.
--- A broad, deep comprehensive knowledge base.
--- Non-attachment to any given knowledge base, and an absence of rigidity.
--- An openness to looking at a problem from multiple points of view.
--- An understanding of the maps of reality we have unthinkingly absorbed from parents, teachers, peers and media.
--- Healthy skepticism.
--- The art of thinking for oneself.
--- The willingness to allow emotions and a bodily "felt sense" into our decisions.
--- The need to clearly define terms.
--- Transcendence of conformity and fear of not following the crowd. The ability to recognize the dangers of group-think.
--- The willingness to tolerate discomfort, if this is what emerges when we face a data that contradicts conventional, consensual answers.
--- Courage and commitment to facing and acting on what we perceive to be true, even it means bucking the crowd. This is not as easy as it sounds.
--- Lack of ego-investment in conclusions and letting go of the need to be "right".
--- Letting go of the need for control.
Obstacles to critical thinking
--- Unexamined assumptions and slanted emotionally based, egocentric thought.
--- The habit of closed-mindedness and fear of expanding one's point of view. Attachment to narrow perspectives and unquestioned ideologies.
--- Authoritarianism: following a charismatic leader, ideology or dogma. This includes the insistence on "being right and the willingness to admit when we are wrong."
--- Passivity and mental laziness: unwillingness to check the reliability of our sources of information to determine their merit. Failing to discern research bias. Not bothering to obtain confirmation from multiple sources. Feeling it is "too much work" to scrutinize evidence and dissect opposing arguments.
--- Absence of an adequate fund of knowledge about the world.
--- Inability to use a variety of types of thinking: symbolic, intuitive, archetypal, metaphoric.
--- The craving for stability and fear of "rocking the boat" re- one's own life.
--- Immersion in and attachment to fantasies.
---- Habitual disregard for the truth.
--- Lack of awareness re- our emotions. This can include unconscious, seething anger.
--- Cynicism, indifference and the lack of a sense of the human community. Ego- and socio-centrism.
--- Lack of self-knowledge. Too often our motivations, emotions and thought patterns remain unconscious. Some of these emotionally fueled patterns include prejudice, preconceptions and unexamined assumptions., and non-objective thinking.
----An acceptance of government and business prevarication as "just the way things are." Further thought stops there.
--- Being busy with work, raising a family and multiple distractions via television, the internet, etc. "I have no time to think about such things."
--- Reductionistic thinking, complete with thought-stopping memes.
--- Denial, rationalization, projection, displacement and other psychological defense mechanisms.
Where this leaves us
Without the skill of critical thinking, it is all too easy for us to function like sheep, where a herd-like instinct holds sway.
Much comes down to fear, as well as the educational experience we have endured. Schooling rewarded us for memorizing, rather than for the kind of thinking that challenges assumptions (especially the teacher's). This leads to a lack of curiosity and a robotic approach to learning. We are also inculcated with the need to "follow orders." (The "just following orders" defense, was made famous in the post-WWII Nazi Nuremberg trials, and featured heavily in Eichmann's court hearings).
Regarding fear, we often do not want to admit having been fooled or misled. We commonly have difficulty facing the truth - if this entails thinking thoughts or feeling emotions that make us uncomfortable or frightened. We may have a desire for control, which will be upended by facts that lead us into uncertainty. We may choose to focus on the past, as if the future will be a replication, rather than an unpredictable endeavor.
So it is that we elected Donald Trump to the highest office in the land, despite his history of sexual assault, not paying those who work for him, threats to jail his opponent and his racist, xenophobic, misogynistic campaign for the White House. It is evident (for those who have eyes to see that he was corrupt, dangerous (playing with the notion of using nuclear weapons) and cruel (caging children of immigrants who had crossed the border, likely scarring them for life). His actions and interminable blatant lies meant that the country was in an abusive relationship with its supposed leader. Besides his constant gaslighting of the public, he demonstrated an overabundance of hostility - a characteristic of a malignant narcissist.
If [Hillary Clinton] gets to pick - if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don't know.
You have to dominate. If you don't dominate, you're wasting your time. They're going to run over you. You're going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate, and you have to arrest people, and you have to try people, and they have to go to jail for long periods of time.
You know what I hate? There's a guy, totally disruptive, throwing punches [false or questionable], we're not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks. Oh, it's true. ... I'd like to punch him in the face, I tell ya.
The New York Times reported that some 71 million people voted for Donald Trump.
Biden won by more than seven million votes and dozens of courts rejected Trump's challenges to the results. Yet, a May 17-19 Reuters national poll found that 53% of Republicans believe that Trump, their party's nominee, is the "the president" now, compared to 3% of Democrats and 25% of all Americans.
An estimated 21 million Americans believe that Joe Biden is an illegitimate president and that former President Donald Trump should be restored to the White House by force.
Meanwhile, a Brookings poll found that Trump's consistent appeals to his base bore rich fruit. His campaign for reelection was supported by 94% of Republicans, up from 92% in 2016; by 84% of white evangelical Protestants, up from 77%; and by 65% of rural voters, up from 59%. At the same time, he held the support of about two-thirds of whites without college degrees, and his support among white women rose from 47 to 53%.
America lost much status and the trust of the rest of the world, not only through our policies under Trump, but through our lack of discrimination in electing him in the first place. There are other Trump-like potential candidates waiting in the wings.
And, where does lack of critical thinking lead us?
The recent global survey, conducted by WIN/Gallup International, polled residents in 68 countries on everything from the global economy to politics and living conditions.
According to the poll, 24 percent of the surveyed countries ranked the United States as the greatest threat to world peace today, followed by Pakistan at 8 percent, China at 6 percent and four countries (Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea) tied at 5 percent.
Psychiatrist John Mack asserted the simple, stark reality that the existence of life on our planet hangs by a thread and that: "Unless we act quickly to take responsibility for our fate, we [all] may well be - like the 'good Germans' of the 1930s and '40s, permitting the final holocaust to be committed in our names."
Clearly, we need to teach children, in both our homes and our schools, the benefits and capacities needed for critical thinking. Workplaces need to reward divergent thinking. And we need to intensify our own self-awareness, as well as call out distorted thinking and conclusions whenever it is possible.
We have been given the evolutionary gift of a pre-frontal cortex capable of self-awareness and complex thought. Will we use it?
It would seem that many at the pinnacle of power think of the population as stupid, gullible, "useless eaters." Whether we accept and live out these designations is up to us.
(Article changed on Sep 25, 2021 at 2:24 PM EDT)
(Article changed on Sep 25, 2021 at 2:29 PM EDT)
(Article changed on Sep 25, 2021 at 10:40 PM EDT)