I find that the inability to think in a critical way is a plague in this country. I see it a lot in the people I work with at Delta Air Lines. As a pilot, I am trained to execute specific procedures and react to systems and environmental contingencies that present themselves. It is a specific skill set that is highly specialized. All of our pilots at this stage of their careers have been vetted and subjected to intense scrutiny, both in their profession conduct and in their personal lives. By anybody’s measure, pilots at this level are best in the world at what they do. Critical thinking is not necessarily in the pilot skill set.
Most airline pilots belong to a union, and I am no different. I have found that many of my peers lack the ability to think in a critical manner when it comes to their participation within the union, whether electing officers, voting on tentative agreements, or debating union policy. The skill set they use every day in the cockpit does not serve them well when dealing with union representation issues. This is because there is no set paradigm or defined procedures to utilize when considering the issues. It requires the application of analytical processes to create plausible theses, and then critical thinking to adopt one theses over another. In many ways, we pilots have “memorized” rote reaction modes, muscle memory and systems operation, to address issues that present themselves in a flying environment. Not unlike how many of us were taught in school.
The amazing thing is that all of our pilots have a four year college degree as a minimum, many have advanced degrees, and it apparently does not improve the ability to think critically. I will say that most with a scientific or engineering background tend to do better. I believe this is because these people have been exposed to the scientific method. But in the end, there is a significant percentage of pilots that cannot think critically about the issues we face as professional union member. In fact, where emotion does not enter into the equation within cockpit environment, think Capt. Sully going into the Hudson river, it takes the front seat in union activity. Many of these cold blooded and pragmatic problem solvers become emotional and illogical when faced with dealing with people and union governance. They tend to believe in the most ridiculous and improbable things.
As a critical thinker myself, I find it exceedingly frustrating to deal with these people. To me it is like debating with a 6 year old. The solution of course seems to be that you simply avoid these people and only engage with others who have the same capability to reason as I do. The problem with that is there are too many of them, and left to their own they can bring on the destruction of the union and the very airline they work for.
A very high profile example is US Airways, where there has been a schism between warring factions within the union that have allied themselves within two separate camps. There is zero chance of reconciliation and it has effectively divided the group standing against a unified management. Their union is effectively hobbled and nullified. This war between themselves has prevented the pilots from coming to an agreement as to how to combine the former America West and US Air pilots into a single operating entity. Management to this day operates an airline within an airline, where former US Air pilots operate separate from former America West pilots. This creates an operational inefficiency that hobbles the performance of the airline, which hobbles the ability of union to secure superior pay and benefits.
Critical thinkers would not allow a result that ensures mutual destruction. Unfortunately critical thinkers are a minority group and cannot take the day on their own. I find the exact same thing in national politics. The presidential race is determined largely by mainstream media and has become more like a beauty contest or a reality show. People will believe the most ridiculous and absurd things, even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary. People will line up at the polls and they will profess that candidate a. is good and candidate b. is bad for America. Then a year later everyone will be disgusted with both. They find that they have been conned, yet when it is time to elect another president they will fall for the same claptrap and will cast their votes to the designated best choice, at least according to the media.
Some of the best critical thinkers are ones closest to the survival threshold. Poor decision making at that level has serious ramifications. As it turns out, these type of people tend to be the least educated in society. Could there be a correlation between education, or lack thereof, and critical thinking? Sure. Specifically, type of education. Here is JS Kim on the lack of critical thinking:
Lack of Critical Thinking is Key to the Corrupt Status Quo Maintaining Their Power
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.” – Henry David Thoreau
Have you ever noticed how vehemently people react when you question something they believe in instead of ever being able to have an intelligent discussion with him or her? In the below video, Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize winning American journalist, author, and war correspondent, nails the reason that explains why it is so difficult to change a person’s mind when they are committed to believing something even when they are confronted with a mountain of evidence that points to the contrary. Chris states that universities have stripped away humanities and other courses that develop critical thinking skills and instead, due to the historical influences of men like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, focus on teaching young men and women “what to think” instead of “how to think.”
Like the proverb that states we have two ears and only one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we talk, when we are confronted with actually having our views challenged, many among us fail to listen, fail to analyze, fail to think, and we instead immediately open our mouths in defense without ever seriously considering the contrary information, often in factual form, that has been presented to us. All of us, including yours truly, have been guilty of responding insensitively and unintelligently in this manner, and I believe that there is a reason for this type of response. The powers that be have used education against us by employing teaching methods within institutional academia that condition us to automatically dismiss any notion that might conflict with our internal belief systems that THEY have programmed into us. If you believe that this notion is far-fetched, consider that from 1900 to 1920, at a time when the direction of American education was very much still being molded, Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller incredibly spent more money than the entire US government in funding and building the education system to meet their specifications and wishes.
Have you ever thought about why repetition, an integral construct in the effectiveness of brainwashing, is also an integral construct in most institutions of academia in every country of the world? Could education institutions possibly be serving as re-education camps? Should not true learning involve students questioning professors, students questioning students, and professors questioning students not just to repeat and regurgitate pre-packaged responses as is so often the case, but also to critically analyze and to defend one’s positions and arguments? The Powers That Be (TPTB) that attend the Bilderberg conference must secretly smile and laugh behind closed doors at the “unthinking” nature that they have been able to instill within us. Refuse to accept something as fact just because an authority figure, whether a professor, the Vatican, or politician, told you to believe it, and automatically many amongst the sheep will accuse one of pandering to conspiracy theories, even when one can present many facts that support one’s opposition view much more strongly than the widely accepted view.
Because universities are so focused on teaching us “what to think” instead of “how to think”, this dumbing down process has produced many media figures and talk show hosts that respond to any questioning of their beliefs with censorship, an attempt to talk over opposition views, or with infantile ad hominem attacks, no matter how cogent and eloquently expressed the opposition view may be. When I lived in Japan, I learned of a Japanese proverb that states, “The nail that sticks out gets hammered down”, as if uniqueness and individuality were undesirable traits. Perhaps this may be the case as the status quo views us, their subjects, but certainly humanity should strive to achieve creativity and foster critical thought in order to establish a more moral society and to root out corruption. Furthermore, the deliberate destruction of curricula in institutional academia that fosters critical thinking skills has given way to “hero” worship and learned helplessness instead of self-determination and self-reliance. Again, the status quo delights in the hero culture we have built today. Hero worship leaves one longing for salvation to come on the back of some mythical hero without any commitment or accountability from the masses. The status quo delight in the hero culture that they have built in the minds of the masses as they know that longing for salvation to come from someone else will leave people in a state of learned helplessness-induced inertia and thus create an effective barrier from the manifestation of a “peasant” revolt.
As long as we believe a hero can save us, we will not act and take control of our own fate, and all the easier it is for the powers that be to control us. Have you ever noticed how often someone will defend every fault of their country’s President, a huge pop star, or a star athlete as passionately as they would defend their own family if you should dare criticize their “hero” figure? From a logical standpoint, such defenses are the definition of irrational, as no one can truly know anything substantial or substantive about the character or true nature of a public figure with whom they have not spent a single hour. But yet people very frequently subscribe to the absolutely absurd belief that they know the character of their “hero” intimately and will defend this person’s honor (or dishonor as it may be in many cases) to the end of time. In closing, in addition to Chris Hedge’s video, I will leave you with a video I posted nearly a year-and-a-half ago in which I discuss ex-KGB Yuri Bezmenov’s discourse on ideological subversion and how such tactics can produce sheeple that will invariably obey and believe what they are told. Hopefully this will help us identify the ideological subversive tactics that are being deployed against us today all over the world and help all of us to transform into more open-minded people willing to consider alternate viewpoints other than the ones that “the powers that be” commanded us to embrace.
About the author: JS Kim is the Founder and Chief Investment Strategist for SmartKnowledgeU, a fiercely independent investment research and consulting firm with a mission of helping to stomp out Wall Street fraud and to reinstitute sound monetary principles and sound money worldwide. We sincerely appreciate all of you that continue to “like” our Facebook fan page and “follow us” on Twitter. Through these mediums, we will keep all of you aware of some major campaigns we will be launching in early 2012 to raise global awareness of monetary truth and our proposed solutions to institute sound money.