Critical Thinking


    Those who claim to engage in critical thinking are very numerous, but those who actually know how to do so are very few. Critical thinking uses a definite criteria of established evidence and proven facts to evolve a rational and correct conclusion. Someone who merely accepts a statement as fact, without bothering to investigate the substance of the statement, is someone who is a stranger to critical thinking. Not knowing the false from the true is the mark of the lack of critical thinking.    Acceptance of something as fact when tradition dictates it so is the common mode of passive acceptance of the average person who has been taught that traditional beliefs are traditional because of wide and long acceptance. Yet, when critical determinations have been made according to facts and evidence, a lot of past traditional suppositions fall into incredibility. People tend to accept something as a fact or as a falsehood simply because a mass of other people have already accepted it as such.  The masses are not a dependable criteria for determining truth or falsehood, as historical evidence has repeatedly shown.    All “believers” operate in their mentalities without a criteria for rational determinations.

    Certainly, it is obvious that there are an abundance of philosophies, religions, belief systems, and superstitions.   Because of the comparative contradictions between all the diverse systems and ideas and dogmas, it becomes obvious that there is no overall agreement about what is fact and what is fiction, or what is history and what is allegory and analogy.   Systems of logic and interpretation are incomplete, errant, or deficient.

     How to tell what the ancient author of Genesis had in mind when he wrote that the Serpent had tempted Adam and Eve in the garden?   A plethora of methods have been resorted to in order to make the story comprehensible. Kabala, number-words, symbology, mythological analogies, different ways of interpretation, and a lot of guesswork and theories have been offered up that some sort of verity is embedded in the story.   And this story is only one in the vast multitude of stories.

     It remains a matter of conjecture, of theory, and of guesswork when most people enquire into human origins, the origins of the universe, the real reasons behind the existence of events perceived, and what’s really going on.  The ideas we cling to sometimes do not seem to have much of a foundation based on reality and real experience.   The bottom line hard fact is that most humans are not credibly established in the ability to discriminate between fact and fiction.  “What’s really going on” is, for most, still a matter of conjecture, of philosophy, of religion, and of a multitude of different beliefs that are permeated with partiality, error, presumption, fantasy, and superstition.

    So all the so-called scriptures, of whatever genre, can be theorized about endlessly as to what they say, what they might mean, what the right interpretation of them might be.  Language presents great difficulties since it is structured according to dualistic perspectives.    All the so-called “knowledge” written down in so-called scriptures has to be classed as one of two types: right knowledge or wrong knowledge. The science of how to get real knowledge, epistemology, is sadly lacking in systemic method.   So when knowledge is mixed with truths and falsehoods, the mind cannot properly discern what is the reality. Knowledge is always dependent on fact or fiction, the limitations of the mind, and the world of relativity itself.

    In the end it has to be admitted that in order to really KNOW, the mind and its partialities of knowledge concerning relativities must be transcended. The workings of the mind can only interfere. Real knowing has to come from yet another faculty beyond mind, if there is one.   This is the great value of ideas concerning meditation and contemplation that posit ways to get beyond the grasping, diffused mind.   So if something needs to be known, really known, the usual scriptures are of no worth at all unless they instruct on HOW to access real knowledge directly, immediately, and surely.

    The approach to the consideration of ignorance is through the discernment of false views (or the determination of WHAT IS and WHAT IS NOT).   False views are incorrect conclusions which are determined from faulty reason and unsound and inaccurate observation and discernment. Sound and accurate observation and discernment are the necessary prerequisite mental conditions which must always antecede any and all subsequent correct conclusions.   All correct conclusions must invariably be determined by sound and accurate observation and discernment of verified facts and established evidence. This is critical thinking.

    Facts are verified and evidence is established only through direct and immediate personal experience or observation, as opposed to rash inference, theory, or belief.   Belief is the effect of the mistake of confusing theoretical assumptions or hypothetical conjectures with what is really the case. Passive acceptance of that which has not sincerely been enquired into, and accordingly, rejection of that which also has not been sincerely enquired into, is the activity of delusion.    Delusion is the effect of the error of believing in something which contradicts reality. Evident contradiction is the established evidence of faulty conjecture determined from unsound and inaccurate observation and discernment.

    Theoreticians and dogmatists go on talking about things they know nothing of. Their beliefs are founded on hopes and conjectures of imagination, not on direct knowing experience.    The exercise of reason is the only rational and dependable approach to real understanding.   Faith comes by hearing and acceptance of second-hand indirect knowledge and conjecture. Faith is a consoling, hopeful conclusion determined aside from facts and without established evidence.   A profession of faith or belief is therefore a confession of the lack of sound and accurate observation and discernment.

    True sanity is a sound mind with sound and accurate observation and discernment.  Lack of these is the effect of an aberrated mental process, mental disorder, or derangement, more commonly defined as insanity.   The whole problem concerning the confusion produced by false views is rooted in an undeveloped or crippled capacity to accurately observe and discern the unreal from the real.  Doubt and grief are the inevitable final result of accepting the untrue as true.

    Not bothering to investigate, people fall victim to their own ignorance and resign themselves to utter foolishness.  Willing slaves to inventions of an uncontrolled imagination and fanatical superstition, they reduce themselves to the lower state of humankind and a degenerated intelligence. Something is not true simply because it is written down somewhere.  Lies are easily offered and become acceptable to those who have become afraid of facts and truth because of their uninvestigated obsession with vanity.  If truth comes, then lies are exposed and must collapse, and the ego-notion (upon which all vanity is based) is always built upon the foundation of falsehood, superstition, and lies.

   People become confused and remain in ignorance and disagreement, not because of their sound and accurate observation and discernment, but because the cherished hopes and vain fantasies they are obsessed with and cling to are challenged by the truth. They are willing slaves and victims of their own fascinations and afraid to wake up out of their delusions for fear of losing their concocted dream.

   Everyone is at liberty to have faith in and believe whatever they want to, and have the freedom to think and express their foolishness in the manner of their choosing, but their mistakes of perception and discernment can in no way effect facts and evidence which are established and evident. People will continue to live in the dark shadow of their superstitions and false beliefs, with doubt and anxiety as their only certainty until they progress to the stage where they give consideration and preference to the truth over hallucinated fictions of imagination.

    False views are utterly rejectable and reprehensible.   They are the source of wrong and meaningless aspirations and conduct, and are proven liable to imprison people within the most debased and grievous conditions of turmoil and suffering and depravity of the worst kinds. The eradication of delusion and the establishment of wisdom through the mastery of one’s own mind is the highest aspiration of humankind and the key to real happiness and contentment.   People should not prey on others as the beasts do, nor should they follow blind opinion like automatons, nor follow along with those that make the most noise like stupid sheep do, but should develop sound and accurate observation and discernment, and with utmost vigilance and diligence hold the truth most precious.


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