Month: January 2014

Three Daily Principles I live by

Three Daily Principles I live by

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Principle #1: It’s what in my Heart and Mind Which Is Most Important

As I go through the journey of life, I have seen time and time again, that what’s in my mind and heart in any given situation is very critical. This has been really engrained deeply in me by my Buddhist teacher. Once he told me to let go of “what I think I want,” and be open to where I am to be guided too. I know that many life decisions which I have made based on emotional self-serving ideals never seem to work out, yet when loving kindness and generosity in is in my mind and heart things seem to work out fine. I have found that in today’s hectic society that we live in, and with the noise of materialism very loud (especially in America society,) that things are not really as important as they seem many times. I have found for myself that in a given day, no matter how filled up it maybe, only a few things are critical. I have found some non-electronic down-time is a great idea. I meditate daily and this helps me keep things in prospective.

Principle #2: Optimistic Caring Intention Creates Value in my Human Interactions

What is optimistic caring intention; it’s a technique I use when I run into people who are suffering or upset about things in life. I start by listening deeply to what the person is saying, and I have found that one of the greatest gifts you can give to another person is your ear and your time. When I listen, instead of filtering on fear or pessimism; I try to focus on the optimistic (hopeful). I have found in almost all the stories of life and challenges in this world I listen too, there is always something optimistic if I listen deeply enough. Once I have extracted this nugget of value, and speak it back to the person I am with and I let them know I can see and hear the value in them. Almost always this results in a smile and the person feeling better. I always feel better when I give then when I receive, especially in these situations.

Principle #3: Humility and Sincerity are two of my most Important Life Tools

For me the above concepts are all in words as opposed to deeds unless I can focus on humility and sincerity. Sincerely being open to facing my own character defects has always been a challenge, yet all the years of putting up my defensive shield has been even harder. When I can be OK that I am a flawed person trying to improve, it’s easier to see the positive in what I could view as criticism. By making it OK for me to be wrong, and sincerely trying to exercise humility I have a chance to live principles #1 and #2. I can tell you that having a deep spiritual life has been essential for me, because in a world of challenges it can be an intense experience to walk my talk, and I am trying to improve a little every day.

These three principles for daily happiness connect back to giving ourselves the gift of “Still, Down and Quiet Time.”

In an article “lao-zhuang and heidegger on nature and technology” in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy, Graham Parkes states that “our current environmental problems stem from damage to the natural world through excessive use of modern technologies” (Parkes, 2013). This statement is stunning both in its reality, and metaphoric representation of technology eliminating “Still, Down and Quiet Time,” for the human race. Technology is incredible, and has done so much good, but we can’t allow modern life to extract us from our primordial selves which are pristine, perfect and wonderful just as they are. When I went to school built upon Quaker ethics early in life, they had enforced quiet time in the mornings. — I believe we can all live a better life by treating ourselves daily to “Still, Down and Quiet Time.”

Referencestao

Parkes, G. (2012). Lao- Zhuang and Heidegger on Nature and Technology. Journal Of Chinese Philosophy, 39112-133. doi:10.1111/1540-6253.12005

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Critical Thinking on The Internet can Change the World!

Critical Thinking on The Internet can Change the World!

After reading the paper by Elder and Paul critical thinking titled “The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking,” I came away with some thoughts on critical thinking and some of the elements of the critical thinking process which might be: definition of purpose, framing within context-point of view, illumination of assumptions, implications-consequences, data-facts-experiences, inferences-judgments, concepts-theories, and answers to questions/recommendations (Elder, L., Paul, R., 2007).

Critical Thinking

I was thinking on the Internet today while there is some amazing thinking going on and wonderful communities developing; we all could benefit by greater levels of critical thinking on-line.

I like the idea of greater integration of critical thinking into the online world in general, and I think the possibilities for knowledge growth and value creation are tremendous. In many cases on the Internet because getting lots of eyes on your content equates to monetary gain, I wonder if critical thinking is not really at the forefront of people’s minds (especially in a day and age when so many people are simply trying to survive).

It follows that a guided critical thinking process in on-line communities might be an interesting idea that has the potential to raise the quality of the content on the Internet. Introducing artificial intelligence into on-line programming and using it to facilitate critical-thinking processes is a fascinating, powerful and very scary possibility.

Artificially Intelligent computer programs could encourage a greater level of critical-thinking instead of emotional based responses on the Internet, but these processes might also have the potential to be influenced in a negative way by the bot-masters who run them. On-line automated “bots” flying around the Internet have the potential for evil or good. Artificially intelligent critical thinking engines” might facilitate good on-line thinking and better content. The training of on-line facilitators to encourage critical thinking might also be a great direction for us to go in.

Here is the outstanding paper by Elder and Paul, “The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking.”

I also think Benjamin Franklin was a great critical thinker ahead of his time, his principles include:

  • Conversations purpose is to “give or receive information, attain truth or enjoyment.”
  • Conversations are not debates
  • “Humility is a necessary means to our conversation ends of truth and enjoyment”
  • Listening closely and “well” to others
  • Modestly in expression, accepting we might be wrong
  • Looking for truth in others beliefs and expressions

(Warren, Dona., (2012), Benjamin Franklin on Thinking Well with Others)

BF

Check out the Dona Warren presentation on Benjamin Franklin here.

These are outstanding and each express some element of critical thinking. I admire and respect Franklin for his relentless search for ways to improve himself and his unceasing pursuit of these wonderful principles.

Finally I leave you with a definition of critical thinking which I came up with as part of an excellent course at Excelsior University:

An active process which synergistically combines: investigative thinking, challenging of accepted assumptions, use of deep cognitive thinking processes-learned-skill-sets, reflecting of contextual points-of-view to arrive at a decision which is logical, beneficial to self and others, and supportable by scholarly researched references and resources.

Happy Critical Thinking to us All!

Christopher C. Welber

References:

Warren, Dona., (2012), Benjamin Franklin on Thinking Well with Others, uwsp.edu, retrieved

from the Internet on 1-10-2014:

http://www4.uwsp.edu/philosophy/dwarren/LOBenFranklin/default.htm

Elder, L., Paul, R., (2007). The Thinker’s Guide to Analytic Thinking, ISBN 0-944-583-19-9