Logical Gal and JFK’s quote about thinking

25 Nov

Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. –

John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (1917-1963)

Boy, does that ever apply to all of us!  I tend to see this fault in others and think that I don’t fall into that trap until….I trip, stumble and realize, to my shame, that I don’t know WHY I hold a certain position.  Why is that? Because it takes no energy to repeat

  • what SOUNDS correct and
  • what we WANT to believe

And if enough people around us hold the same view, then we MUST be correct, right?   Besides, it takes EFFORT to think and to sort out reasons and we’re just too tired.

So what can tired but sincere people do?  And where do you begin?  There’s only so much time to research all the controversies out there?

Well, since this is Thanksgiving week, and we’re  likely to be in the mix with different people over the holiday, we will have good occasion to at least LISTEN to various views.  When you hear a viewpoint that is controversial, adopt a humble attitude and say something like, “I’m still undecided about Black Friday store hours/ climate change/the threat of Iran’s nuclear capabilities/ World Cup soccer / whether women should be in the Infantry….Can you tell me why you believe what you do?”

Then when they have articulated their position (assuming that they are capable of it!),  ask permission to repeat back to them what they said so that you can gain the experience of at least communicating a point of view.   It might not be what you will end holding to as your reasoned view, but at least you will have practiced interacting with a position.

I was really encouraged this week when I read in our local newspaper that Asheville High School has grown a superior debate team.  It is now COOL to debate!  Here’s the link – Asheville High School hosts debate tournament

A feature of debate preparation is being ready to defend either side – the pro or the con.  What this means is that it’s valuable to understand reasons for each side and to be diligent and kind in accurately representing a view that you might not hold.

So, what do you have to lose this week?  Just make sure that you start early enough on Thursday’s feast day to engage in thoughtful discourse .  Too much pecan pie will send blood rushing to the stomach and after a big meal no one will feel like doing anything but plopping in front of the TV and watching football.

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