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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Learning methods that suppress critical thinking

Muneeb Imran |

Sitting with old colleagues, who parted ways into either different departments of the same organization or into different organizations, the discussion became heated. I argued that the lack and inability of our organization to define career pathways damages the careers and the valuable talent one may have.

One of the dear friends confronted the idea with a remark that I should have been a philosopher instead of an engineer, to which I responded that these were the very basic ideas on which organizational structures are established and our failure to address it is Intellectual dishonesty. However, what this intense debate triggered inside of me was another process;  Why is it that most people in our society are unable to think through what they’re told? Why do they lack the capacity to indulge in serious, grilling and thought-provoking discussions? Why are we resistant to critical thinking?

Isn’t this because from a very young age, we are taught not to think but to comply? Our learning methods, whether emerging from religious seminaries or from modern educational systems, are more focused on compliance and following a tightly structured pattern.

On the contrary, a society that does not indulge in critical thinking is more programmed to operate like a bot and such a society is more vulnerable to chaos despite having an organized symmetric outlook.

This isn’t to say that there should not be any pattern in place but the question centers around what should be the underlying values of that pattern. Out of the existing pattern, people do develop the capacity to mint money at a staggering pace, but do they develop the capacity to think through and look at societal problems and how their conduct impacts the society?Ironically, critical thinking is held up in high esteem not only according to modern educational standards but also according to Quran, which incites you to think.

Read more: Want to improve your critical thinking? Here’s how you to do…

I genuinely believe that the lack of critical thinking has caused our society to polarize, in past two decades, between religious class and modern educated elite. Isn’t this because the parties on the two polarities have locked themselves in, without trying to understand where they converge with the other polarity? The two sides do not understand where they diverge and how goodwill, generated from the path of convergence, can be used to manage their divergences.

Today, many western countries have become so strong that the differences in their ethnicities, color, religion & ideologies do not matter or impact the overall equilibrium of the state. They have managed to achieve this by critical thinking -where you do your own soul searching, critically analyzing strength and weakness of your own ideas and of your alleged adversaries’ ideas and beliefs. This entire process is so amazing that even if you do not end up agreeing with the other party on all the terms, you tend to develop a respect for the other person’s opinion, as long as it emerges from an honest thought process.

This practice gives birth to democracy in a society where critical thinking, patience, and respect for others’ opinions & beliefs are the underlying values. In such a society, harmony & unity is not attributed to an agreement but on the fundamental principle of honest introspection & agreeing to disagree by keeping others’ respect intact. On the contrary, a society that does not indulge in critical thinking is more programmed to operate like a bot and such a society is more vulnerable to chaos despite having an organized symmetric outlook.

In order to compete & contribute in the modern day world, we have to develop this habit of participating in honest grueling sessions because the truth mostly lies somewhere in the middle.

Muneeb Imran is a data solutionist, Information Security Engineer by Profession in Multi-National Telecommunication Organization based in Saudi Arabia. He is an active reader with a deep interest in information security, foreign policy, International Relations and Cricket. He can be contacted at microchip839@hotmail.com. The views expressed in this article are authors own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.