GE372 Week Three:Broaden Your Perspective Welcome back from the break
What’s happening today? Today’s discussion will allow you to: Describe how creative thinking and critical thinking are applied to daily situations Evaluate the critical elements of a source document Critically analyze complex documents Use the ITT Virtual Library to locate issue and or problem-solution documents
Stuff to think about during the lecture: It is easy to agree that the bad thinking habits covered in this lesson are in fact bad—it is far harder to actually change how we respond (to break out of these habits). It is always harder to recognize our own faults (as opposed to recognizing these faults in others). This is evolutionary—it’s your ego’s way of survival. Bad thinking habits include : mine-is-better, face saving, resistance to change, conformity, stereotyping, and self-deception.
Broaden Your Perspective Studies show that confused, defeatist, helpless reactions are not inborn In us. They are Learned. Albert Einstein was… Told by one teacher, “You will never amount to anything.” See pp 41. The lesson here is not that legitimate criticism or advice should be ignored, nor that one can achieve competency in any field merely by belief. It is that you should not sell yourself short—your potential is undoubtedly much greater than you have ever realized. (Awww…does everyone feel warm and fuzzy inside now?)
Becoming an individual We are not individuals automatically. (why is this?) Acculturation: the process of being exposed to society—home, neighborhood, church, school, and so on. The way culture shapes us can be powerfully affected by our families’ socioeconomic condition, religious and political views, and the quality of nutrition and health that is provided to us. Acculturation can occur subtly, creating the illusion that our values, attitudes, and ideas were formed independently of outer people and circumstances. It’s not hard to understand how we are deceived about our independence. It is, however, paramount to your academic progress to admit to yourself that acculturation is a real phenomenon.
Becoming an individual We become individuals by our willingness to realize our potential and our effort to be “self-aware, self-critical, self-enhancing.” The key to becoming individuals is to look at ourselves honestly and objectively. This takes courage because it often involves abandoning wishful thinking and destroying cherished illusions about ourselves. Everyone probably already has abandoned certain illusions. Care to share? Volunteer or you will be compelled to share. Often a shift in ideology can occur in political thought, social views, etc.
Becoming an individualthree easy steps Acknowledge the influences that have shaped your thinking. E.g., “My mind is full of other people’s ideas and attitudes, which I received uncritically and accepted because I was young and trusting. (Recognition is the first step to recovery…;) Sort out and evaluate your ideas and attitudes, even your most cherished ones. Choose the best ideas and keep ‘em. Don’t be afraid to abandon certain ideas.
Habits that hinder thinking:Mine-is-better Begins in childhood. “My dad is stronger than your dad” etc. As we grow older, we are apt to think that the world in which we grew up was the best of all possible worlds. We tend to regard our present ideas, values, groups, and political and religious affiliations as superior, too.
Habits that hinder thinking:Face Saving Like the mine-is-better habit, face saving is a natural tendency arising from our ego. Unlike mine-is-better, it occurs after we have said or done something that threatens to disturb our self-image or the image others have of us. Shrinks call face saving a defense mechanism, meaning it is a strategy we use to protect our image. “It wasn’t my fault…he made me do it…I had no other choice.” Its most dangerous form is called rationalizing. Rationalizing is a dishonest form of reasoning. Any examples? I just had to eat three 7-layer burritos. There was no other choice.
Habits that hinder thinking:Resistance to Change The tendency to reject new ideas and new ways of seeing or doing without examining them fairly. It has been the recurrent reaction to creativity throughout the ages. Galileo came close to losing his life when he suggested the sun, not the earth, was the center of our solar system. What are some other examples from yesteryear, today? Civil rightsfor minorities and women Education
Habits that hinder thinking:Conformity Not all conformity is bad. Certain conformities keep our mail system running smooth and keep our roads safe. Harmful conformity is what we do instead of thinking in order to belong to a group or avoid the risk of being different. It’s not always easy to avoid conforming. Our friends, families, and associates may exert considerable pressure on us. Both explicitly and implied. How often have you done something simply because you were told or asked to do it?
Habits that hinder thinking:Stereotyping Stereotyping is an extreme form of generalizing. Generalizations classify people, places, and ideas according to their common elements. The most common stereotypes are racial, religious, and ethnic. Stereotyping sets up a nice, neat mental warehouse for ideas. Everything has it’s own compartment. There is no comparing, no sorting, weighing, or selecting—just storage. Everything is presorted, predetermined, prejudged. Many people find it difficult to overcome stereotypes because they tend to see them as accurate descriptions of the world, even insightful. How do stereotypes distort our view of reality?
Habits that hinder thinking:Self-Deception A self-imposed neurosis to avoid accepting the root cause of a problem or a condition. “I smoke week all day because I want to…” “These nose bleeds are no big deal…I don’t need to see a doctor” “These energy drinks aren’t making me fat. No…” What are some other examples? What is the danger of self-deception?
Overcoming Bad Habits The key to overcoming the bad habits we have been discussing is to examine first your impressions of problems and issues, particularly strong ones prompting you to take a stand immediately, without examining the evidence or weighing competing arguments. Develop the habit of thinking about your thinking.
This Divided State During the viewing, think about certain individual’s blatant errors in thinking. Can you categorize any of their issues?
Homework Identifying Habits that Hinder Thinking This assignment is to help you analyze your own experience with faulty thinking, since it is only through the examination and improvement of our thinking habits that we can improve our ability for critical analysis. 1. Select three of the six bad habits covered on pages 44 –51 of your Ruggiero text. 2. For each selected bad habit, write a minimum of one well-developed paragraph describing a situation where you made this type of error. If you cannot remember making three of the six errors, give an example of when an acquaintance made the error. 3. Your assignment will be a minimum of three well-developed paragraphs. This assignment will be evaluated on how well your example is identifiable with the bad habit that it is supposed to represent. You will also be evaluated on the structure of your paragraphs. You may wish to review Chapter 3, “Developing the Paragraph and the Paper,” of your Decisions handbook, pages 45-60. Read Chapter 4, “Be a Critical Reader,” pages 55-76 in The Art of Thinking
Homework for next time: Read Chapter 4, “Be a Critical Reader,” pages 55-76 in The Art of Thinking