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A Thought on Thinking and Beliefs

The goal of many so called progressive education is to create individuals who can think critically. This to me is a reaction to the traditional form of education which relies on conformity. This conformance or obedience  has created so many wars and is still creating. One has to be utterly blind and selfish to ignore it. The Christians, the Hindus, the Muslims, the nationalities, the collective barbarism are all the necessary consequences of this. All the so called religions and ideologies have without exception created conflict, strife , misery and confusion. In this confusion a direct  consequence has been the spurt of so many saviours. They promise us that there is a way out.  But the way and the goal is somewhere in the future and requires a great amount of effort and energy. But the energy they want is not neutral, they want it to be directed to some pre defined goal. This goal appears to be the only plausible solution. These goals themselves are contradictory and hence illusory. 

After a long and arduous path even if the believers realise the futility of it all; they still cling to it because the failure of the system seems to appear to be the failure of our own personal egos. We invest a lot in the system and then it appears that failure of the system may be a result of some error in its implementation. Some even suggest further remedial measures. This situation seems to be omnipresent and appears in every aspect of human life; relationships, politics, economic system, the religions, etc.  

This sometimes produce a totally opposite reaction to it.  That of throwing the whole system rather than mending it and adjusting it. This has happened again and again and in different places. The communist ideology in contrast to the capitalist, atheism as a reaction to theism, democracy in reaction to dictatorship. But what is mostly forgotten is that the reaction to something is still driven by the old system. It is in opposition to it but not different. 

In the recent times, though not recent in terms of years, but recent in terms of the whole process of evolution, science has come to occupy a very prominent role and strength. The discoveries and inventions of times though happened at a more individual level, the widespread cultural shift towards its acceptance was a reaction to the orthodoxy in Christianity and its factions. It became evident that the church has severed any chance of  growth of human intelligence and hence a new system which is in opposition to it came about. This was reliance on the positivist ideology and the pursuit of knowledge which can be testified against some  measurable parameters with no esoteric knowledge. This however has now resulted in a very grave situation. The environmental degradation, the constant and ever increasing psychological disorders, not only in humans but also in other plant and animal kingdoms are strongly evident. 

In the educational  discourse one such idea has been to develop critical thinking abilities. This may have been a spillover of the positivist notions and a reaction to the traditional approaches . This believes in developing a kind of framework for the learner where he/she develops skills to question everything and test it with evidence. This ideology believes in not accepting anything on its face and trying to pursue it objectively. It sounds good so far as it does not rely on the authority and pre defined concepts. 

However a closer analysis or observation rather, would show the actual implementation of it and the kind of orthodoxy it has created. This orthodoxy is a little subtle and does not apparently become visible but exists with all its contradictions and confusion. 

The first problem with such a system is the assumption that exposure to more facts and theories would make a person objective enough to look at something from various perspectives. So it still depends on these external theories and systems to develop the ability. The theories generally derive their strength from the platform they are spoken of or comes from. E.g. When Gandhi says something, it immediately becomes important to be looked at. The same exists with any popular figure, religious, spiritual, political or scientific. The beliefs derive their strength from the following( authority) it has or the amount of controversies it creates. 

Second problem with this, is the belief that the analyser or the learner with all his/ her  idiosyncrasies will act upon them neutrally (whatever the word may mean) and see things objectively. The belief rests upon the idea that the analyser has the capacity already to act upon things. But isn’t the very analyser the problem in it. First the theories are loaded already and then there is this analyser or critical thinker who is the source of all this confusion and conflicts. So do we really think that such a belief can actually take us very far. I don’t know, but what i feel is the need to question it, and very objectively try to see the analyser. 

But now the problem is who is going to do that. The analyser himself is so conditioned and the root cause of everything, so this is again futile. But wait, isn’t there some light in this realisation or seeing of the fact that there is nobody to analyse. The analyser and the analysed are the same entity or as Krishnamurti puts it, the observer is observed. The very seeing of this fact, not intellectually as a theory or emotionally as a reaction but passionately and sincerely as a fact is the freedom. 

Freedom from not somebody or something because there is nobody to be free from, but just freedom for its own sake. This freedom is not a reaction as there is nobody to react to, but a deep and alive sense of being. Without motive, without any system, without any content.

So is there any critical thinker then,  when all the thinking is of the past and hence old and conditioned. The very realisation that thinking comes from the thinker or the thinker comes from the thinking is the way. This realisation drives the fever away from our actions and there appears no doer. When there is no doer then there is no misery. Because the doer is the source of all this. This also effaces at effort. Because the effort is always from something to something. But if there is no thinker and no goal, then there is no effort. Then whatever that remains is what it is. This is eternal and true.

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