Sunday, January 9, 2011

Thinking is hard work.

It's a beautiful day here today.  I decided to sit alone and think for a while.  With our sound bite world, these periods of reflection are rare.  Most of my days are spent trying to think over, or talk over someone else.  Booming music, news readers, sportscasters, kids, folks talking on cell phones, announcements, all day television, traffic noise, crowd noise, and a host of other interference keep us from thinking.  In days past men valued their time to think and reflect on things happening around them.  Now Facebook and other social sites provide ample evidence of people talking without thinking much.

Critical thinking is a difficult task.  We have to examine every statement and postulate for accuracy and relevance to determine if it can be used to support whatever hypothesis we proffer.  If the subject matter is emotionally charged, a comment on religious matters, or related to politics, it is often filled with self serving issues unrelated to the matter being discussed.  By throwing oranges and peanuts into a discussion of apples, the real truth of the issue can be confused and lost in the fog.

I've read recent articles published in what now passes for news sources that were filled with old talking points that have already been widely published and accepted by the general public, but which have no basis in the truth.  The authors were not present when the events being reported were taking place, they know no one who was, and they are basing their opinions on what someone else has written on the subject using the same flawed point of reference.

We have Hollywood actors roaming around spouting their opinions on a wide variety of subjects because they have the time, money, and forum to do so.  I'm not saying they are not valid opinions, but as a populace we can't just accept that they are correct because of their popularity.  We must examine not only the content, but the motives behind the comments.  We must look at the supporting statistical data used to bolster any argument and determine things like the size and make-up of the test group, any preexisting conditions that might affect the data, and the methodology used to gather the information desired.  We just can't accept data because it comes from a source that has been around for a while.  Real critical thinking means that we can't make broad generalizations from a specific incident.  Each incident stands on its own and must be examined in that light.

Thinking is hard work.  When I play, I play hard.  When I work, I work hard.  When I think, I go to sleep.
Don't be swayed until you examine the facts for yourself.  Many cases sound good until the defense is presented.

Before I got married I had six theories about bringing up children; now I have six children and no theories.

John Wilmot


  1. That's some good thinking there. You really need to slow down. I can hear the snoring clear over here in SE Georgia. Since you appear to need an occupation, we are installing new flooring in my home office. You're welcome to come help. :))

    Hope you have a blessed, and less hectic, Sunday my friend.

  2. You're just funny.
    It's the pic that made me smile... and the quote made me feel better too (being 41 w/ a 4 y/o and 11 month old).

  3. I will keep your imagery in mind from now on. I am forever throwing apples into discussions about oranges. Sometimes it's because there really are connections or parallels. Sometimes it's because a creative idea has been sparked. Sometimes it's just down to woolly thinking.

    It's odd arriving for a rare visit. I'm so indebted to our National Health Service (I'm in England) for my life and continuing health, one of my best wishes for the USA would be that you should have such universal health care . . . but, from the images in the sidebar - I guess you are thinking differently.


  4. Thank you Esther Montgomery. I may be mistaken, but I think I remember you from my earliest blogging days. It was something about your wool comment that triggered that memory. Let me know if I'm right. Throwing an occasional apple into a discussion about oranges might be appropriate at times as long as you are not trying to make a point about apples. I was trying to deter some of my more liberal readers from continuing with their vain attempts to make political hay from a recent tragedy. The event is self explanatory and need not be used to support single issue political matters. Stick with the story and flesh it out in a responsible manner and we will all be well served. I'm glad you are happy with your country's National health care system. Not all I correspond with from across the pond have been so kind. Most of Europe (The British Isles included) are bankrupt because of socialist programs inflamed by uncontrolled immigration and worker apathy. I appreciate your wish for the U. S., but as an already overburdened taxpayer, I want none of it. I prefer a pay as you go system with reasonable charges for those who have worked and contributed in a free market system. Thank you for coming by and sharing. Best wishes.

  5. Boy, you can say that again... or shall I say, Pappy, you can say that again. And you say it so respectful and laconically.

  6. Pappy, I heard a piece on NPR tonight that mentioned this book. You've probably already read it.


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