Okay maybe we do have a fake news problem too, but it’s only a problem so long as we have a deficit in critical thinking.
Critical thinking and discernment allows us to read anything and not have it infiltrate our belief system. It’s our greatest weapon in the War Against Truth, against racism and prejudice, pop culture mindset, blind nationalism, religious institutions, and general propaganda that flies at us all day.
Critical-thinking and truth-sense isn’t a strong suit of the human brain-mind. We’re more set up for pattern recognition and confirmation bias.
But if we know how our brain-minds work, we can recognize our biases and put in the work to get closer to the truth.
My #1 tool is Google. Figure out how to ask a question that will give you the most unbiased search results, or Google some claim that the media makes and find 5 different perspectives on the topic, allow each one to present it’s case and listen without letting yourself get in the way.
And for the love of G-d, don’t let your take-away be a one or two word fact check rating. Do your thinking for YOU; don’t let anyone else take that agency away from you, and don’t lend your trust to media institutions, friends, or anyone else to think for you.
Flex your critical thinking muscle, and it will grow just like any muscle. Let your ego go, and admit that you don’t really know anything.
Context is everything. Learn history, sociology, psychology, basic biology, political theory, and any other broad base of knowledge so you have proper context for reading the news.
The fight for our minds happens from a very young age, and we need to build up our arsenal of critical thinking skills to prepare for it. I am no expert, and while I’ve found ways to return to my center, I still can get swayed from time to time.
I just finished reading Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn and I think my life will be forever changed by reading it. Still letting it sink in. And RIP to Daniel Quinn, who passed away this February.
My next book will be Critical Thinking Skills by James Burns, one of my heroes of thought and action. I’ll let you know if I glean any insights from it 🙂
Until next time, I wish you well!