"For too long the educational system in America has failed to teach students how to think properly. These graduates then go on to become poorly educated lawyers, politicians, professors, journalists, artists ..."
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
A lot has been written and spoken about "politically correct" thinking in the United States.
Americans are keenly aware of the need to follow the rules of engagement with regard to views and opinions on issues like: gender identity, patriarchy, toxic masculinity, sexism, racism and many more. It's a mine field that must be traversed carefully in order to avoid being labeled "biased" or even worse. Speaking one's mind in opposition to the prevailing winds of "progressive political thinking" can lead to being socially ostracized, banned from publication, reprimanded at school, denied work or even fired from one's job.
The fatal flaw or mistake being made in all of this, however, is epistemological in nature. Our public discourse these days stems from how we are thinking rather than on what we are thinking.
For too long the educational system in America has failed to teach students how to think properly. These graduates then go on to become poorly educated lawyers, politicians, professors, journalists, artists and so on. What has been missing is the golden key to understanding and knowledge, namely, "philosophically correct thinking". If you listen to many on the left speak about social justice it becomes clear at once that these well-intentioned progressives are thinking in categories or what philosphers used to call "universals".
If you follow the time-line of enlightened thinking that has served us so well towards medical and technological advancement it indicates an upward curve away from thinking in categories towards focusing on "particulars". Unfortunately we are trending in the opposite direction nowadays. "Politically incorrect" is just another category we have invented to objectify fellow citizens and project our own flaws and faults onto. The real progressives in our march towards enlightenment were those who abandoned thinking in categories - viewing individual people and objects as the only reality. This has formed the basis of scientific thinking. In this respect it was Roscellinus and Francis Bacon who lead the way.
Concepts such as race, religion and class do not have any REAL existence. Our minds developed these categories as a way of simplifying and ordering experience due to our habit of comparing and contrasting. Thinking in categories may be useful but only as intellectual exercises. It should never be accepted as a proper way of analyzing or understanding life or the people in our world. Because we are naturally predisposed towards placing events, objects and people into neat manageable boxes (categories) this practice inevitably leads to bi-polar opposition and the construction of an "us versus them" pseudo -reality that overlooks individual traits and characteristics that do not belong to the category people have been assigned to.
This type of philosophically incorrect thinking is far more dangerous than politically incorrect thinking. Throughout history thinking in categories has lead to the imprisonment or even mass extermination of large groups of people unfairly lumped together as indistinguishable members of a certain class, race or religion. Unfortunately, we are repeating this egregious mistake of the past and heading towards a new dark age where fellow human beings are treated not as complex and unique individuals, but as abstract concepts robbed of their essential humanity.
If America does not make a dramatic u-turn away from this trend it is condemned to making the same philosophical mistakes that unenlightened cultures have made leading to the usual tragic consequences.
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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