In The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge points out that real learning involves seeing things from a different perspective (metanoia). Likewise, Vincent Ruggiero, in Beyond Feelings: A Guide to Critical Thinking, tells us that one characteristic of critical (good) thinking is listening to others, particularly those who disagree with us. Richard Paul, in Critical Thinking, says, "Critical thinking.. involves overcoming not only intellectual barriers.. but psychological barriers as well" (Paul, ii)... "Given.. our inherent tendencies toward self-deception, and our tenacious grip on unconsciously absorbed beliefs.. [we must] prepare ourselves for a lifetime of diligent and rigorous intellectual work" (Paul, v).
Below, from an anonymous e-mail, is a good example of seeing things from a different perspective. It is a particularly nice example because it is positive in nature. Unfortunately, critical thinking often leads to negative conclusions -- people are lying to us, and things are nearly as good as we have been led to believe.
I AM THANKFUL . . .
FOR THE TEENAGER WHO IS COMPLAINING ABOUT DOING DISHES, BECAUSE THAT MEANS SHE IS AT HOME & NOT ON THE STREETS.
FOR THE TAXES THAT I PAY, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT I AM EMPLOYED.
FOR THE MESS TO CLEAN AFTER A PARTY, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT I HAVE BEEN SURROUNDED BY FRIENDS.
FOR THE CLOTHES THAT FIT A LITTLE TOO SNUG, BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE ENOUGH TO EAT.
FOR MY SHADOW THAT WATCHES ME WORK, BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM OUT IN THE SUNSHINE.
FOR A LAWN THAT NEEDS MOWING, WINDOWS THAT NEED CLEANING, AND GUTTERS THAT NEED FIXING, BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE A HOME.
FOR ALL THE COMPLAINING I HEAR ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT WE HAVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH.
FOR THE PARKING SPOT I FIND AT THE FAR END OF THE PARKING LOT, BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM CAPABLE OF WALKING AND THAT I HAVE BEEN BLESSED WITH TRANSPORTATION.
FOR MY HUGE HEATING BILL, BECAUSE IT MEANS I AM WARM.
FOR THE LADY BEHIND ME IN CHURCH THAT SINGS OFF KEY, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT I CAN HEAR.
FOR THE PILE OF LAUNDRY AND IRONING, BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE CLOTHES TO WEAR.
FOR WEARINESS AND ACHING MUSCLES AT THE END OF THE DAY, BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE BEEN CAPABLE OF WORKING HARD.
FOR THE ALARM THAT GOES OFF IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS, BECAUSE IT MEANS THAT I AM ALIVE.
AND FINALLY.......FOR TOO MUCH E-MAIL, BECAUSE IT MEANS I HAVE FRIENDS WHO ARE THINKING OF ME.
Colby Glass, MLIS