Critical Thinking: Quotes on the Importance of Developing the Ability to Think Critically
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In the era of "fake news" and a seemingly endless number of digital distractions, it's easy to passively accept whatever is viral on social media or blindly trust the information from mainstream media. Doing so is dangerous because when we fail to think for ourselves, those in power can easily step in and claim to be the only moral solution (never let a good crisis go to waste, right?).
The truth is that it's up to each of us to defend our own personal sovereignty. Hence, it's important to learn how to separate fact from fiction – to become knowledgeable, to create our own set of ideologies, and then to know how to persuasively defend them when the time comes (or change them when necessary). This is what critical thinking is all about, and below are some of our favorite quotes on the power it holds.
“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”
“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”
“Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.”
“We need to teach our children how to debate the major life issues. Debate strengthens their beliefs and enables them to defend themselves against ideologies that are going to come their way.”
“To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.”
“Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
“The opinion of 10,000 men is of no value if none of them know anything about the subject.”
“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
“It is the duty of everyman, so far as his ability allows, to detect and expose delusion and error.”
“There are three classes of intellects: one which comprehends by itself; another which appreciates what others comprehend; and a third which neither comprehends by itself nor by the showing of others; the first is the most excellent, the second is good, and the third is useless.”
“The biggest lesson I learned from Vietnam is not to trust [our own] government statements.”
“The lies the government and media tell are amplifications of the lies we tell ourselves. To stop being conned, stop conning yourself.”
“The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same.”
“The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”
“Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it.”