Why critical thinking is important for living with awareness
Our education disconnects us from ourselves and from our intrinsic humanness. Instead of developing the faculty of critical thinking in our students, we teach them to become highly competent knowledge gatherers. We teach them what to think, instead of how to think.
Little wonder then that when they grow up, they have no real values of their own. Their values are borrowed, their morals second-hand. Their conscience is simply a hand-me-down and not something born out of the consciousness of their shared humanity. Look around at the hatred, the violence, the greed and the craving for success at all costs. Look at the apathy that pervades all around us. Doesn’t it bother you?
It won’t, if you are comfortable in your conditioning, if the violent and divisive narratives suit your personal life situation and your narrow selfish agendas. I don’t blame you—society benefits from conformists; after all, democracy as a system itself promotes majoritarianism. And our education is designed to produce conformists who are discouraged to ask uncomfortable questions. What we are trained for is to look for personal success and, as such, are taught to compete with our own friends while in school and college; greed is given the name of ambition and is promoted overtly; we are brainwashed into believe that participating in the rat-race is inevitable and, in fact, good for us.
Slowly, gradually, our humanness starts withering. By the time our education is over, we are well trained in chasing wealth but at the cost of our health and happiness. By now we have learnt to worship success so blindly that we begin to twist even spirituality to attain material goals. We consume, consume and consume even more…mindlessly. As a result, we are beneficial to the economy but at the tremendous cost to our humanity.
Yet, if you’re honest then perhaps in your quiet moments you begin to reflect: have I been hoodwinked by this society? You wonder whether all this mad rush for “more” is just propaganda by those who profit from it. You see the everyday violence, hatred and divisiveness all around you and want to no longer participate in it—directly or indirectly. You even begin to question the fundamentals of economics, which measures only wealth and not wellbeing.
Now, you have a choice: dismiss these uneasy thoughts when they cross your mind because you are too afraid of standing alone. Or wake up and begin reconnecting with your real “self”, your raw humanness.
I think if you wish to live, truly live, you can only do so when you recognise your conditioning as conditioning. And it is impossible to lift the veil of conditioning unless you start questioning.
It’s only when you start questioning that you begin to free yourself from the hold of a manipulative, divisive society—a society that, by exploiting your vulnerability as a child, brainwashed you not only into conforming but also succeeded in making you part of their team so that the exploitation and subjugation continues.
But, when you awaken from the stupor, you stop accepting any information without passing it through your own critical filter of humanity. And thus begin to live for the first time.
If this resonates and you realise that it is absolutely vital to live freely, here’s what you can do to break free: start questioning.
– Question everything you read or see or hear.
– Question your elders. Question your teachers.
– Question the media, the politicians, the patriots, the philosophers.
– Question your own thoughts even. Do consider that most of your thoughts are not your own…but they pretend to be, thanks to years of brainwashing through propaganda, misinformation etc.
– Most importantly, don’t forget to question your spiritual masters and your religious leaders. They are as responsible for the state of affairs as everyone else.
And by question, I don’t mean seek answers from them, please! In fact, question their answers! And seek your answers from your own awareness as a human being. Try it…you might be in for a shock.
P.S. I am not suggesting that you become a cynic. I am suggesting that you reconnect with your own intrinsic humanness and check for the hidden biases…in the self and others. We are, first and foremost, human beings. Let’s find out what that really means!