Sunday, September 19, 2010


Consider this the companion piece to my last blog:

Have we lost the ability to think for ourselves?

Have we been so inundated with information from the many forms of social media that it has become HOW we think, instead of SHAPING the way that we think?

Thought al a carte?

The velocity at which we receive our information is pushing it out so quickly that it leaves no time to ponder, give it deep thought or even discuss it for any length of time. It is “crawlers” and “breaking news headlines” in short bursts. A passing thought on the way to the next subject!

And I think that it is causing us to become as impulsive with our opinions as we are with our shopping. I am sure that you have heard the phrase “impulse buy”. Well, I happen to think that there are impulse opinions floating around out there based upon impulsive thoughts.

I believe that because I used to think that a person’s opinions were interwoven into personal convictions that created a base of moral fiber. You could not develop strong, personal convictions simply because you read something somewhere once. You had to delve into it more deeply; read more about it, talk about it, weigh it against your conscience and decide if you agreed or disagreed with it and then articulate your opinion about it. It becomes stronger as you witness it having positive impact, in your mind. From there, it adds to the development of you, as a person.

That may sound like a lengthy process, but it can be so subtle and transparent that it is building in us until you see or hear something that you feel is contrary to what you read or heard; perhaps, you “interpreted” it differently, which will also create a forum for different opinions.

Are we taking someone else’s opinion as ours’ because we don’t want to take the time to investigate the subject matter? It’s someone that you trust and if they say that it is so, then it is so.

How many cable TV talk shows are there now; each with some puffed up pontificator telling us; nay, pouring their hearts out to us about everything from tea parties, women in the locker room, where you should invest your money or where a mosque should or shouldn’t be built. They want you to believe that they are the moral equivalent of the Holy Grail because they want their beliefs to be your beliefs and if you don’t give it serious thought, you will pass their views off as your own. Congratulations; you have simply become the mouth of another talking head. Listen to the room go silent as soon as you qualify your statement with “well, I was watching Glenn Beck…”

It just so happens that I watch Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann and Anderson Cooper and Jon Stewart because I want ALL sides. I also read publications that are left, right, liberal, conservative, mainstream, radical, biased, unbiased, partisan, non-partisan and humorous. I don’t search for information that supports my opinion. I look for things that will support the way or to shape the way that I think and opinions will grow from there. It does no good most of the time to simply argue opposing opinions. To move the debate forward, one must give the other something new to think about.

Now; I admit that I read a lot and I watch various TV shows when I have time; all in an effort to find as much information as I can, so that if something like health care, pensions, budgets, religion, politics or even daily living is discussed, I want to receive the information so that I can decide for ME what is best in my mind and if I should happen to take a wrong point of view upon reflection, I will correct it. It’s not an uncommon occurrence; I have been wrong before, but in the realm of opinions, are there “wrong” opinions or is it someone else’s opinion that you have the wrong opinion?

Deep stuff, I know, but trust me; this blog has an ending.

As we continue to surround ourselves with the gadgets that will do more for us, it is requiring that we do less and less and that includes thinking.

Think of all of the cell phone apps, the remote control at home that runs your home entertainment system, your computer, microwave oven, refrigerator/freezer, coffeemaker and who knows what else. Hell; your car goes where the GPS tells it to. The Griswolds no longer have to sit down and map out their vacation. You simply plug in the coordinates into the GPS system and planning has become obsolete.

I just misspelled a word and the computer automatically changed it. No need to spell check when I’m finished. It corrects it real time to save time. Wow!

Anyone who has been around the fire service knows that you can’t be impulsive. Despite the fact that we have pre-plans, SOGs and box cards, every person at the incident must still THINK about what they are doing or are about to do. We often hear that we must train until it is automatic. That might be the case if you are talking about human behavior, but not where you are dealing with natural phenomenon involving Fire. It is a chemical chain reaction that isn’t completely predictable. Therefore; you must have the capacity to think your way out of a situation that changes unexpectedly. They don’t have a cell phone app for that.

When we get into those conversations where we think that there is too much to learn, then how can we expect that learning process to mature if we are being spoon fed in baby bites that information that we receive in our daily lives to the point that it contaminates our ability to engage in any critical thinking?

We cannot have a cookie cutter approach to what we do.

We have to continue to THINK our way to safer and better ways to deliver our services.

I cannot tell you how to think or what to think.

I am simply asking you to give it some thought!


The article is protected by federal copyright law under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella. It is written and submitted by Art Goodrich a.k.a. ChiefReason. This article or any other article submitted under The Adventures of Jake and Vinnie© umbrella cannot be reproduced in ANY form without the expressed, written permission of the author. Violations are punishable by applicable laws.
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