These first words as I began the book captivated my imagination. On reading the book, I have been questioning everything that I have been thinking about. This week I have been asking myself very often if my thoughts are B.D.P.U.P (biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, and prejudiced). The question is how should I improve my thinking? Being in another culture where I am stared at a lot (I have bought some clothes that are helping bridge the gap I think) I have had to watch how I am analyzing and evaluating what I see and experience. I have been asking myself, ‘At what level I am I thinking now?’
Even though critical thinking is more about the ‘self’, I realize how my past experiences and exposure (or a lack of) colors my perceptions with my cultural rainbow. The way I think is influenced by those I spend a lot of time with and the books I read (or have read). This book ‘A Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking’ tends to focus repeatedly on the eight elements of thought a checklist of reasoning. The universal intellectual standards seem easy but read but I realized that it would take a lot of discipline to master. The rigor of doctoral study must elevate my thinking to a level where I am able to courageously train myself to be a better thinker.
My intellectual traits need to be worked on. I desire to be a humble and courageous thinker. I spent the evening in Washington DC listening to Brian McLaren speak on the launch of his new book on how to help Christian leaders relate better with people of other faiths (Why did Jesus, Moses, Buddha and Mohamed cross the Road? – this is the book’s title). His sentiments on the historical, doctrinal, liturgical and missional aspects challenge leaders to learn in order to embrace the true foundation of loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is practical critical thinking or rather as Jason Clark will always remind us, the heart of ‘reflective practitioners. Brian has is a intellectual thinker and he is international acclaimed for his ability to walk across cultural and religious boundaries.
The church is one of the organizations that works with no system yet academia pushes me to interact at multiply systems where we ask and are asked questions with multiple points of view. This is one of the challenges that I know I will have to deal with. The more I read and learn as I interact with others, the more I need to listen and process the information. Rather than look at knowledge with the lens of my worldview, critical thinking will enable me to expand my horizon and see what others are thinking about and why.
As I undertake to do research at doctoral level, my mantra will be ‘Purpose-Goal-Information-Interpretations-Point of view-Assumptions-Concepts-Implications and consequences’. I have begun my journey from an egoistic thinker to a critical thinker. I will do so with the effort of a skilled gardener who takes care of his land and ensures that everything is balanced in order to expect a good harvest. I pledge to cultivate excellence in thought.