A thoughtful note on thinking…

In my 18 or so years of educational experience, I have learnt that it is not enough to just absorb what I was told. Learning facts is not so important, but learning how to think for myself… Well, that’s not so easy.

This ability to think for oneself underlies wisdom. Wisdom is not simply knowing, but being able to act using our experiences, insight and understanding to guide us to make true and accurate judgments. It disposes us to the truth, thus shaping our actions in order to deliver the correct outcome. Therefore it makes sense that the more we know, the more we understand, and the better disposed we are to making wise decisions.

It is not uncommon in today’s age to have society and the media insist on filling open minds with ideas on what to wear, what music to listen to, how to act, what to believe. The list goes on. But when one can rationalise one’s own thinking, (not only knowing what I am thinking, but why I think this), then can one go beyond the boundaries imposed by society and truly think for oneself.

Therefore we must seek opportunities beyond our education to expand our experiences and knowledge. One such occasion was a conference I attended about a month ago, held by Campion College, Australia’s only tertiary Liberal Arts institution. Graced by internationally renowned scholar Dr Roger Scruton, I couldn’t help but fan-girl over his wit and intelligence as he gave us insight into how pop-culture shapes us as individuals and as a society.

Dr Scruton made a point about how something as everyday as pop music influences our movement and how this in turn influences how we relate to others. It’s so easy for this to go unnoticed without a passing thought, but once you realise that it does in fact have quite an influence on our being, we can then go on being more critical of the things we listen to. Have a listen to the talks presented at the conference by clicking here, and you might just find yourself questioning the previously unquestioned.

What really struck me was the recurring point each speaker made… “Be your own person”. And this brings us back to how we think. Thinking dictates our choices, choices determine our habits, and habits in turn shape our character. The liberal arts, rather than teaching us what to think, trains one on how to think; something you just can’t learn from a textbook. If this is something that piques your interest, check out Campion’s website here. And why not go in and check out college life on their open day.

We may seek advice from others, and more often than not we may even let them decide for us. Whether it be our parents choosing our career path, or Vogue telling us what we should wear, in the end you decide. It is so easy to revert to the default and allow the environment or people around us to guide us, or even allowing our emotions or impulses to dictate us. But in the end, choices made by those means, are not really entirely made by us.

Think critically, choose wisely. You are your own ruler.

SO… what do you think?

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