Monday, February 3, 2014

Being Critical vs Critical Thinking

Everybody knows somebody in a group who, the moment a commercial starts or a celebrity says something, calls out this moment with some kind of statement, mainly that he/she "cannot believe this." They then go on some kind of a rant against said celebrity/product/etc...

In our daily lives it is common to not like things. That is just what it means to be human. We won't like the way a person sings, the way a politician lies to save his career, or that we have to watch another car commercial having just watched three before it in the span of 3 minutes.

That commercial with the dragon STARTED so cool ... AND NOW IT'S A FORD COMMERCIAL?!
 This kind of thing, what happens when we dislike something and talk about it, is being critical. It is totally ok* to dislike things. How then can you distinguish this kind of thing, either in person or on Facebook, from the term "critical thinking?"

[*Just don't become a Joffrey Baratheon over it. Seriously.]

Being critical of something might best be summed up with the following image:

Mostly people who encounter other people being critical of something are encountering this. While the person being critical might not be expressing this feeling to you, he/she might be expressing it to society when he rolls his eyes, waves his hands, and shouts "OH, WELL, I AM SO GLAD WE WATCHED THIS PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS! AGH!"

This is not critical thinking. If I can sum up critical thinking in a picture it would be as follows:

One example of this would be in how we approach popular things. One of the most popular films in recent memory for kids (provided you ask people right now) would be the movie Frozen. It's hyper-popular and probably has more praise attached to it than some people think it deserves. Instead of just saying "I HATE IT" and being rude to those who do like it, one blogger created the following blog ...


In our lives we will always dislike. Still, to assess, comment, provide evidence, and to leave the final thought up to the reader/listener? That is what proper analysis is mean to be and it is a key component to critical thinking as opposed to just being critical