Critical Thinking is a decisive skill that has to be taught from the early ages. While critical thinking is pertinent to our daily life, it is not accepted or encouraged in dictatorships or oppressive systems. Still today in 2011, people are being told what to think and how to think.
Years ago, once searching for graduate school I realized that most universities offered a course called: Critical Thinking. This blew my mind. Along that line, in one of the courses for my graduate studies, we had a professor who at the end of each session would suggest readings while wishing us a “happy creative thinking.” To me, this was incredible, I kept telling myself, how could my thinking become happy or be creative at all while I was dealing with internal and external forces of oppression?
I came to think that no one had ever encouraged me or us for a happy thinking. While I was suffering from the fact that my countrymen and women were being killed at the same time in my home country because they were critical thinkers, here I was challenged to become overly critical of our compound planet.
I would look around and check for the critical thinkers in my surroundings. While people had that skill, yet their voices were low, they had almost no energy of thinking deeper, or they were hiding in the corners of each justified avenues for silently talking about the injustice in their home country. I could see that oppression had taken over critical thinking.
I had to gasp for breath when I recalled how our people have always been discouraged and punished for being critical thinkers.
Obviously, critical thinking for us Iranian is intertwined with fear, intimidation, harassment, and punishments. Now with the western movements such as Occupy Wall Street followed by a whole range of Occupy places, we would think that our younger generations are showing their potential for critical thinking by demanding for reforms. Perhaps our younger, multicultural, social media generations have learned to be critical thinkers in the school of hardships and in the aftermath of poverty and injustice.
However, still it is significant that universities and academic institutions around the world offer critical thinking courses and keep encouraging people to actually thinking critically.
Surely, our current situation in the world requires critical thinking for finding new creative ways in dealing with the most challenging issues in our human history. Human being is without a doubt thirsty for widespread humanity, peace, freedom, respect for everyone’s rights, and justice more than ever before. We need to question the status quo while offering a platform for the new ideas.
Thinking critically could become a habit, a source of gathering strength, a way for expressing the self, a method for organizing one’ thoughts, an avenue to download what is bothering, search for answers and new ideas a plan for next actions and a structured way of hoping for change.
Therefore, critical thinking is entangled with the freedom of speech and human rights.