Barriers to critical thinking if left unchecked can harm, and even seriously injure a curious and open mind, the ability to think through issues, analyzing issues from multiple view points and other critical thinking concepts. Let’s call theses threats land mines. Much thinking of the untrained mind is distorted, incomplete, biased, uninformed and prejudiced. This kind of thinking creates a potential mine field that can hold a person back from using his/her knowledge, schooling, experience, reasoning, intuition, common sense and confidence to make informed decisions. This section was created to raise awareness of the critical thinking mine field and ways of avoiding the mines. Then, you can focus your efforts on thinking more critically. Egocentric thinking is viewing everything in relation to oneself. These individuals are self-centered and consider only their interests. This impedes critical thinking. It is difficult for many people to identify this characteristic within themselves. The egocentric person is usually unaware of his or her thinking patterns. There are many successful business people, lawyers, politicians, and others who are egocentric thinkers. They are closed minded to the thoughts and ideas of others.
This damages their critical thinking abilities.
Open minded thinking is one of the fundamental critical thinking skills. The best defense to minimizing thinking egocentrically is to be aware of it and to be mindful of the needs of others. In essence, to continually strive towards viewing ideas and concepts from multiple vantage points. Social conditioning can be a benefit or drawback to your ability to think critically. Each of us is unique. Age, IQ, race, genes, gender, culture, family, friends, and a wide array of other factors have a dramatic effect on how we view the world and the people we interact with. Critical thinking is hindered when the world and people in it are viewed from biased conditioning without learning the needs, desires and dreams of others. It may not be possible to completely understand others, but open minded critical thinking can enable you to listen, learn and empathize. This helps you understand others better. For example, because someone is a Christian, that doesn’t mean he or she can’t appreciate the beliefs of Judaism, Buddhism, or Confucianism. The same is true for any religious, social or political belief system. Arguably one of the biggest problem in the world today is lack of acceptance. In another word: intolerance. Race, religion, culture, and a wide array of other factors can bring us together or tear us apart. Each of us chooses if we will accept others, or not. Recognizing and accepting the influences of conditioning from social effects is normal. However, strive to understand how and why they are biasing thoughts. That enlightenment will help clarify your thinking about issues and help guide you towards conclusions that are rational, unbiased, logical and fair. To learn more see: The Re-Discovery of Common Sense.
Return from Social Conditioning to Problem Solving Techniques Biased experiences are a relative of egocentric thinking.
Although experience is a wonderful teacher, if it is filtered through a biased or distorted view, that is how it is remembered. Self-delusion supports self-delusion. Create an open mind and question logic by asking again and again: “Am I thinking logically and rationally.” This is called a sanity check. Another good sanity check is choosing friends and colleagues who will tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear. These friends are priceless as sounding boards for your stream of thought and rational thinking. To learn more see: The Re-Discovery of Common Sense.
Arrogance and Intolerance
Arrogance and intolerance are not welcome in the mind of the true critical thinker. They are recognized for what they are and kept to a minimum. Arthur Ide, who is the editor of my first...