Critical Thinker or Angry Mob?

Are you a critical thinker or an angry mob?

A critical thinker uses evidence, logic and reason to discuss ideas in a civil and calm manner. A critical thinker is willing to listen to other people’s opinions and ideas with an open mind and without interrupting. This kind of person is able to rationally consider all the data at hand, and make a decision based on all available evidence.

Any such decision made does not preclude new or other previously unknown evidence from being presented and carefully considered. This author would find it foolish to ignore new information pertinent to an investigation. This is not to say that critical thinkers never get swayed by their emotions, but generally, they keep them in check.

An angry mob is vitriolic and uses yelling, name-calling, mocking, hate-speech, verbal and maybe even physical abuse as well as any kind of ad hominem attack that can be brought into the “conversation”.

An angry mob doesn’t care about other people’s opinions or ideas—or feelings and well-being apparently—and would plug their ears and go “Nyah nyah nyah, I can’t hear you!” while the people they disagree with are speaking, rather than listen to them.

This kind of person might use logic and reason sometimes, but most often lets emotions drive the decision making.

Having described these two disparate camps thusly, there are certain things that don’t concern me.

I’m not worried about the reader who is itching to say, “This angry mob was first a critical thinker who came to a rational and logical decision and then later became an angry mob!”

My remarks are intended to be general in nature and not cover every exception. Thank you, though, for your critical thinking skills in coming up with that idea. That was very clever!

While it is true that not every critical thinker is always honest and not every angry mob always dishonest, that seems to be most often the case. Maybe there are good reasons for one to act like the other under certain conditions, but I’m not interested in going there.

I like to think of myself as a critical thinker, although I have to admit having been an angry mob several times in the past when I let my emotions get the best of me. Understanding that it is hard to take an angry mob seriously helps reel me in when I start leaning that way.

Are you a critical thinker or an angry mob? One is a metaphor and one isn’t. If you aren’t sure which is which, ask a critical thinker to help you.


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