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Sit Down and Ponder

Precious Few Ponder

In today's culture, where political ideas and arguments whiz about in a flurry of emails, text messages, and tweets, one would be hard pressed to find someone taking the time to question the point of each individual post, let alone its philosophical merits. Whereas in the past if you wished to hold an argument with somebody you would have to either right them a letter or meet them face-to-face, nowadays modern convenience allows one to compose and send a disagreement in a manner of seconds. As a result, there seems to be precious few people who actually sit down and ponder the integrity of their argument before they send it out into the world.

Such lazy argumentation is a plague on modern political discourse. It replaces the traditional well crafted argument with an often incomprehensible stream of consciousnesses - one post after another with each containing little consistence in values or substance. In this way modern political arguments on the daily can scarcely be reconciled to even the day prior, for each "hot take" is at risk of contradicting the next.

Critical Thinking

Unfortunately, as easy as it would be to blame modern communication systems for being the cause of such inconsistency, the problem actually goes down to the individual. Modern communication systems are just tools, and like any other tool it comes down to how you use them. Therefore, to avoid the risk of falling prey to poorly formulated ideas (either others or our own), we must take it upon ourselves to set time aside to ponder what it is we actually believe. A great way of doing this is by adopting the philosophical idea of "critical thinking."

First coined by American philosopher John Dewey, the definition of critical thinking runs thus:

"[Critical thinking is] active, persistent and careful consideration of any belief or supposed form of knowledge in the light of the grounds that support it, and the further conclusions to which it tends."

Put simply, critical thinking requires a focused effort on behalf of the individual to question any assumptions, made by themselves or others, in an effort to understand the purpose and effects of said assumptions.

How Simple it is

You would certainly be doing yourself and others a service by educating yourself in what it is you believe. Not in the traditional sense found in research of what is external, but rather in a research of what is internal. For a person who does not know what they contain within their own head, is liable to have it replaced by another. Do not let your head be filled with another's in this manner, because before long you will be unable to distinguish which thoughts were your own, and which were put in your head for you. Therefore take the time to sit down, and to ponder.

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