7 Signs You Are A Critical Thinker

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1. When people talk about views different than
your own, you don’t get angry
You can’t be angry without being afraid and you have
no reason to be afraid your argument is wrong if you are
a critical thinker. Your argument isn’t you, it is a thing
you think, which can be replaced by another, stronger
version if only people would help you think more sharply
about it. People who are critical thinkers don’t identify as
their arguments because they know every argument has
a weakness, and changes with time. This doesn’t make
the thing you think bad. Iron sharpens iron, and this is
good for both of the individual pieces of metal.
2. You dump people for weird reasons
You might be talking to a cute guy and he says something
like “my daughter could never have a mohawk. No reason
why. It’s just wrong!” That is the absolute end of your
crush. You find it impossible to be attracted to people
who accept things without having actual reasons, other
than social norms. Or, even being able to articulate that a
social norm might be a big enough reason for them to
arrive at their conclusion.
3. You like to read controversial things
When you read something insane like “in defense of
murdering people” you can pick out a few interesting
things the writer said without dismissing it entirely
because you disagree so vehemently with the overall
premise. You respect people like Peter Singer, who is
fantastic at making logical arguments, though you might
not necessarily be a vegan or be sending monthly checks
to Oxfam.
4. You’ve never said the phrase “you just set the
women’s movement back 50 years”
When people say things you think are asinine, you’re just
excited that it’s a platform for discussion.
5. You don’t preface responses with “sweetie” or
“honey”
You have no need to be condescending. You are either
confident in your response, or genuinely curious to test
your theory out, it’s not an emotional competition in
which one person wins and the other loses. You’re not
trying to “win,” by discussing something, you’re trying to
satisfy your curiosity. The latter has no stock in making
the other person feel bad.
6. You ask “why?” at weird times
If you are staying at a hotel and you discover you can’t
use the pool at 8am even though there are no rooms
surrounding the area, you are going to ask the staff why
this is. Likely, the hotel cribbed their pool rules from
another hotel without thinking about whether they made
sense at their venue. That entire process is so foreign to
you, it doesn’t even occur to you so you are busy trying
to understand a thought process that doesn’t exist.
7. You ask a lot of questions
Even if you feel very confident in your answer, you are
the kind of person who could always feel more confident.
You are a curious person and lack emotional attachment
to your views. This is not to say you don’t care
passionately about anything you think, just that you know
that you care about the essence of what you think—not
the particular words or form of an argument you
happened to come up with. Example: if you are a
Christian, you ask questions about the existence of god
because your passion is for an idea greater than whatever
particular argument you’re tossing around. You care
about Truth as a whole, not the shard of it that is
manifesting in any particular argument. You know that if
your argument is shot down, it wasn’t true to begin with,
something else is, and you better find it.

CHRISSY STOCKTON

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