Thinking Critically

You may have wondered, just what is "thinking critically"? Defining the term in words produces only more words . . . and perhaps more words. And whatever we say it is, it is not . . . because "the word is not the thing." An operational definition would be helpful, as well as tools and techniques to practice critical thinking and effective communication. Assistance in reaching that goal, and a little more insight and a different perspective toward thinking rationally and sanely may be gained by visiting the sites below:

If the reader were limited to adopting just one improvement in his communication and perception of his environment and the world around him, let it be the goal of eliminating the “ is” of identification. It conveys such permanence in one’s thinking and communication as to lead to misunderstandings, erroneous inferences, even serious maladjustment to one’s environment.

Example: John is an alcoholic. Conclusion: He always has been, is now, and will forever be an alcoholic. Consider instead: Dating occurrences when John appeared to you to have been under the influence.

Now consider the implications of “is” when applied to the labels so prevalent in our political and religious affairs--made worse by the fact that the labels are not clearly defined.

"If your language is confused, your intellect, if not your whole character, will almost certainly correspond." - - Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch

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Read "Semantics of torture, waterboarding" by Charley Reese (born January 29, 1937) a syndicated columnist known for his plainspoken manner and paleoconservative views. He was associated with the Orlando Sentinel from 1971-2001, both as a writer and in various editorial capacities. King Features Syndicate distributes his column, which comes out three times each week.

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General Semantics embraces the concept of writing in E-Prime, i.e., abolishing all forms of the verb "to be," which has its roots in the field of general semantics as presented by Alfred Korzybski in his 1933 book, "Science and Sanity."

Toward Understanding E-Prime E-Prime . . . omitting the verb "to be" from English usage

In short, writing in E-Prime, the ultimate achievement in General Semantics, avoids be, is, am, are, was, were, been, being; suggests the use of linking verbs (become, seem, appear) and appositions; and advises expressing the progressive aspect by using continues to . . . avoiding use of the passive voice.

Suggested Reading:
General Semantics
Language in Thought and Action by S. I Hayakawa
People in Quandaries by Wendell Johnson
Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski
People in Quandaries: Its Significance for Psychopathology by Russell Meyers
The Aims of GS and the Method of Science by Russell Meyers
The Nervous System and GS: Perceptual Response and the Neurology of Abstraction by Russell Meyers
Phyloanalysis and General Semantics by Charles I. Glicksberg
Avoiding the Dangers of Semantic Adolescence by Ann Dix Meiers
To Be or Not: An E-Prime Anthology by D. David Bourland, Jr. & Paul Dennithorne Johnston
More E-Prime: To Be or Not II by Paul Dennithorne Johnston & D. David Bourland, Jr.
E-Prime III?: A Third Anthology by D. David Bourland & Paul Dennithorne Johnston
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