For Critical Thinking and an Equivalent, Creativity

Starting, for April, I participated in many of the new Discover challenges that WordPress organized, to help bloggers write posts during the crisis.  Each morning, 6 AM in most cases in my time zone, a new word with additional suggestions became available for WordPress bloggers.

Each word theme was accompanied by suggestions about what to post.  I found the exercises helped me feel better about blogging because some things I enjoy discussing became the subject of new posts at the same time other bloggers addressed the same themes.  With each post, I had several visitors, and if you are among those and returning, please accept my thanks.

Now, today is May the 4th, Star Wars Day.  Star Wars The Clone Wars concludes its season 7 run today, a season devoted to the Seige of Mandalore.  I think the entire animated series lives on Disney+.

Today is also the day that all nine films of the Skywalker Saga are available with a Disney+ subscription.  “This will be a day long-remembered,” to quote Peter Cushing in Star Wars Episode IV.

Star Wars Celebration last spring in Chicago meant a week of hours and hours of daily streaming on YouTube.  I said something about it:  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2019/04/19/star-wars-celebration-on-youtube-whered-you-go-chicago/

I have a new strategy, I am starting by trying a serious-in-tone critical thinking post.  I was already writing the odd observation about techniques that might contribute to someone’s existing take on the science of being a blogger, tempered with humour, I suppose.  I reckoned that I was enjoying myself, that’s mostly what counted.

Photo by Lukáš Rychvalský from StockSnap

A definition of a hobby is this:

hob·by

n. pl. hob·bies

An activity or interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and engaged in primarily for pleasure.

The pleasure of blogging comes from the interaction on the world wide web with people who also blog.  I believe that social interaction is important at any age.  Why is social interaction important for psychological health, I asked Yahoo!.

“Social engagement is associated with a stronger immune system, especially for older adults,” Yahoo! answered.  “This means that you are better able to fight off colds, the flu, and even some types of cancer.  You will enjoy better mental health.

“Interacting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression.”

There are so many avenues that if you have access to the web, there are so many ways to reach people, and fulfill that desire, I know you know this.  It is always about more than the dollar, as it should be.  I’m not out to make a buck at all, I’m just experimenting with being an optimist.  

Recently I found a website page that takes a gander at the satisfaction that goes with the joy of a decent diversion.  Human resources psychologist Jessica Beltran addresses it in The Value of Hobbies  https://blogs.psychcentral.com/thrive/2014/05/the-value-of-hobbies/  “We are at our best when we are relaxed and in tune with ourselves.”

Photo by Snufkin from StockSnap

While we are capitalists, the playing field becomes more narrow if you consider that you can address people with the confidence of having many of the skills that they have.  There is any number of stations in the lives we lead, but lots of motivation speakers give the advice to get started with your creations, however possible.  “Do hobbies help with their careers?” I asked Yahoo!.

“While it may seem counterintuitive to make time for something outside of work to get ahead at work, career coaches have confirmed that having a hobby can help make you better at your job. Having a hobby helps you learn how to handle work-life stress and think creatively,” answered the search engine.

“What skills are needed to be a critical thinker?” I went on to ask.

In response Yahoo! informed me of several qualities, ten in fact, that you need to be a capable critical thinker:

1 Accuracy.

2 Adept.

3 Analytical.

4 Creativity.

5 Critical thinking.

6 Detail-oriented.

7 Efficiency.

8 Industriousness.

9 Innovative.

10 Logical thinking.

I have additional input.

Accuracy, for starters, I learned about in high school science.  Accuracy in that environment is measurably collecting data.  To determine accuracy, you might perform the same process several times, with only minor variants, to learn if your method is accurate.

It’s important.  Troubleshooting a computer station, for example, requires accuracy.

You need to determine what changes have gone on before and after a problem has happened at your terminal.  There is a joke about hapless computer users calling the Windows system crash the Blue Screen of Death, dire-sounding, but which means that you are losing your unsaved work, a bummer.  By the way, I enjoyed computer science in high school a lot more than I enjoyed chemistry and physics.

If what you were doing meant nine out of ten times you got a system crash, and then one out of ten times it worked out, hypothetically speaking, you could, if the measurements were accurate, you’re determining that those nine times of system crashes mean that you can’t proceed in that manner.  If five out of ten times, your computer works, and five times it doesn’t, you don’t have an accurate idea of what of your commands are leading to the system crash.  The results aren’t too useful in that case.

You need to check variables that contribute to your procedure’s success or failure and come up with a more accurate idea of what’s going to work.  Once you establish the variables that work out okay, by trial and error, you can figure out which instruction is awakening the Blue Screen of Death.

The second term in Yahoo!’s list is the word adept.  Adept means are adroit.  Critically, you have to be adept at forming interpretations.

Those I think of as the external–the external is the object or scenario you’re critically thinking about.  You need to know what you’re examining, to form a critical judgement.  I have two ways for you to do this, and you can read about them a little further in.

Like for me, to decide whether, say, a popular film is “good,” in the sense that the motion picture proves that everybody involved did a good job, you have to understand enough about what makes a good film to be adept at reviewing it.  It would help if you’d contributed to the completion of a motion picture, to be properly critical, but it probably suffices to understand the structure of a film, the symbolism in the film visually, and previous attempts to make similar films.

The next term, the word analytical, this is a word like adept, but analytical is more about looking at a critiqued thing that calculates whether you should take it seriously or not.  You know what the thing is and what it’s for, but being analytical towards it means judging it in a way that you can comprehend additional specifics about it, forming your external.  What does it mean? is an analytical question that you might have about your object or scenario.

You would be analytical concluding that your problem works at all levels.

Photo by donterase from StockSnap

Next is creativity, a lovely word, for I feel I am creative, as would many bloggers regard themselves.  Creativity is reworking an established idea and making it yours.  It goes on constantly.

Like, back to film, when a successful film franchise follows up with a sequel, or a reboot, that’s an instance of creativity that is often quite impressive.  As with, say, the 1978 horror film Halloween, directed by John Carpenter, when two years later in 1980 the sequel Halloween II came out, again starring famed actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the film continued the story of the first movie by showing a lot more of what happened later that Halloween night, when the mad masked murderer had returned, (ghastly!).  However, John Carpenter was no longer directing the film.

Do you like horror films?

Halloween II has the same characters and the same locale and a continuation of the plot of the first film, all interesting for fans of the first movie, just with the point that somebody else is now directing.  That’s the creative part, in this example.

Next, Yahoo! repeats the phrase critical thinking.  I mean that Yahoo! includes critical thinking among the terms for critical thinking, which begs the question, Yahoo!.  I interpreted that as meaning that critical thinking refers here to the overall level of ability the interpreter brings to the noun being thought through critically.  It is having the skill to return to thinking critically, in a manner that applies other additional criteria.

In this case, we’re using the handy number ten.  The words, I derive, make an agenda for surveying an item or a situation.  It is redundant to include the phrase “critical thinking” in a list that explains critical thinking, pointing to a rabbit hole, a burrow that goes on and on when it opens.

You have to be firm with yourself what decisions you will make in the process of critical thinking or you will never conclude.  I have a little more to say about that in the conclusion.

Close up white cup of Coffee, latte on the wooden table

Detail-oriented refers to the organizer’s ability to put together a mental assessment of the details that have gone into the subject being thought about critically.  A job interview often includes a question along these lines, as in, “If you were taking this job, would you consider yourself a detail-oriented person?”  It means getting everything right.

Efficiency is the ability to get things done promptly.  You don’t lose time by making redundant decisions; everything works.  If you value efficiency, you want your scenario or your object to function smoothly, a swift external.

It means saving time.  A lot of people who need to complete many tasks highly value efficiency.

Industriousness refers to having the initiative to take bold steps.  Being industrious is good in that a person shows, say, leadership.  If what you are critical of is a tool for industriousness, it lends itself to a nature that assists people who have a success rate at reaching goals.

Innovative means thinking outside of the box.  Someone innovative has solutions that circumvent traditional stop signs that cause headaches.  Being innovative is positive.  You should recognize when innovation is happening and that it can have positive results.

Photo by Matthew Henry from StockSnap

Logical thinking is great for being “right.”  I first read a little about logical thinking in a high school English class.  I was daunted at the time because I’d never known that logical thinking existed like that, and I doubted I could learn enough about it to become competent, bizarrely, I suppose.

I was a diffident youth.  I wish I’d got that information earlier in life.  My teacher, Ms. M., outlined twelve specific styles of logical thinking and in fact, I wonder if I as yet have that same document.

I should have read it again and again.  At times I’ve been proud that I’m not completely obligated to be logical, but I don’t disregard logic.  I value things like the structure of an external, and that, for example, requires logic.

Logical thinking when it comes to being critical of a specific external is very useful, for if you can make a logical argument about the nature of your object or situation, you’re external, you are on your way to answering a riddle about it.  It is a regret I have that I didn’t take the introduction to logical thinking I got in high school more gravely and go to work at understanding it.

The ten criteria words stop at the letter L.  This is all about setting your sights on critically interpreting an external and taking it apart in a way that you can better understand what it means.  The terms are building blocks for evaluating your external.

There are some points where the process isn’t going to be scientific.  Starting with accurate, you need to look at more than one external and compare them to see how accurate your method is.  This word accurate is exciting because you can find parallels that aren’t necessarily immediately self-evident.

You are being analytical because you are trying to make a process occur that is accurate.  Those two a-letter words work together to open a method of diagramming your external to better understand what it is.

The next word, adept, is applicable because you need to run your process with adept skill.  What I’m doing here is being creative with Yahoo!’s list of critical thinking terms.  I’m making the argument that they are useful.

The search engine believes it.  So, too, should you.  Together the terms have an impact that you can draw upon for inspiration.

It does bother my sensibilities that critical thinking could itself be a term for critical thinking, but as there is a connection between all three a-letter words, so too I noticed a connection between the two c-letter words.  Critical thinking and creativity are two different sides of the same coin.

I’ve had to stir my reserve of critical thinking to identify what that means, but it is so.  Creativity is letting reason fly in the wind, whereas critical thinking is unearthing the truth about your external that wouldn’t be evident if you didn’t possess some definitions that assist in critical thinking.

For d, we have detail-oriented, taking your analysis and better developing it.

For e, we have efficiency, reducing creativity in favour of a strategy that is more pure critical thinking and not as open-minded as the word creative would imply.

Next, we have i-letter words, industrious and innovative, words that strengthen the process of analyzing the external by accelerating the process.  Those words apply to the analyst as much as they apply to the object or scenario being looked at.  Being industrious is keeping at it and being innovative is keeping open-minded.

Both these reflect the analyst as much or more than the external being explored.  Logical thinking is a phrase that means much the same as analysis.  If you took these ten terms, you could assemble them this way:   You have the creativity and you have critical thinking (the c-words).

If you want creativity to rule the process of investigating the external, what you have is industriousness and innovation for the matter at hand.

To proceed down the avenue of critical thinking that is more logical and detail-oriented, you can reduce your creative input and begin letting a process unfold without the benefit of a creative assignment.  In either case, you need to be adept at thinking, and further, to return to the a-letter words, you are being more purely analytical and accurate if you pursue critical thinking without the requirement of innovation ruling your process.  So, your basic process either follows one c-path or the other c-path, critical thinking or creativity and then to round out outreaching your external you have the accuracy, the analytics, the detail-oriented questions, the efficiency and the logical thinking; and down the other c-path, you have industriousness and innovation.

These are subcategories from the ten we started with.

Photographer:
Tim Gouw

The terms favour an analysis-heavy approach to critical thinking, meaning there are more components of more purely critical thinking than terms that include creativity.  Where that leaves us is what I started with, the word hobby.  A creative design is better for a hobby; analysis is better suited for more profound comprehension.

All the same, creativity can be as hard to comprehend as analysis.  If you reach an external by analysis, it is beginning to fall outside the field of the hobbyist and more closely approach the realm of the expert.

A more complicated external lends itself to critical thinking; a simpler external is suitable for creativity.  This isn’t always true, but that’s a guideline that you could start with if you are deciding whether you want to approach an external with a lens of more complicated and comprehensive critical thinking or with a simpler but also effective creative paintbrush, so to speak.

That’s the rabbit hole, that if you don’t have a handle on your creativity, flights of fancy can take you far afield of a suitable stopping place.  That’s why creativity isn’t a super useful strategy for analyzing an external that’s become complex.  That’s when your critical thinking approach needs to take over.

I’ve enjoyed writing about this, my first post since the April Discover challenges ended.  Do you like the idea that a simpler object might benefit from creative analysis and a more complicated object require a more detailed critical analysis?  You’re welcome to follow and/or to comment.

Read more about me here:  about.me/patrickcoholan

Happy Star Wars Day

Photographer:
Thomas Kelley

Taking Steps to Infuse Life With The Ingredient of Maturity

Toward the end of the year 2004, when I was twenty-seven, and sort of in the routine of a day-to-day lifestyle that worked for me, I happened to find myself listening to a public speaker who was talking about someone I took to be the famous philosopher of relationships, writer John Gray. The man proposing Gray’s books appeared certain about his suggestion.

That year, a lady with who I was likely getting a charge out of a sorry excuse for a tease, had quite recently given me Gray’s blockbuster, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. If you’re sensitive, you’ll have experienced coincidences of that same sum and substance. I chose to peruse Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and I enjoyed it enough to get intrigued to discover what else Gray had.

Photographer: Stephen Rahn

At our library, I found Gray’s first book, What You Feel, You Can Heal. I saw John Gray wrote about surviving homelessness when he was in the springtime of life. He talked with individuals he met en route, asking himself what was genuinely upsetting these individuals. I know everyone has a hard road to walk, but I understand Gray thought he might be able to light the way for those struggling.

Gray thought of life experiences that he felt are universally true. He wrote in What You Feel, You Can Heal that when people reach their mid-thirties, it is time for them to get down to raising a dependent, whether an animal or a person. And come the age of 42, individuals are ready to experience what it’s like to be part of a community, people together more than the sum of their parts.

I was reading my favourite blog last night, the title Beauty Beyond Bones, and I saw she wrote she was just so tired of men who wouldn’t grow up. It didn’t sound like she was having the most splendid time at the moment. I am grateful to the Beauty Beyond Bones blog for its inspiration.

As she is confident in saying, God is good. Beauty Beyond Bones can be found here: https://beautybeyondbones.com/

She is also a Patreon creator. Look here: https://beautybeyondbones.com/support-bbb-on-patreon/

She only asks for a couple of dollars a month, and she draws on the resources she finds, for the purpose of ministry. She deserves the shout-out.

Far fewer than her, I have two hundred and fifty subscribers, and I don’t know if anyone among those will be available to offer her additional support, but I like reading her blog on Monday and Thursday evenings. She also does a Wednesday evening post, where she shares recipes, but I’m not such a talented kitchen hand.

Photographer: Tim Sullivan

Incongruously, I’ve got an interest in Star Wars. I like cinema, I think Star Wars is absorbing, but it crossed my mind that it might not be the kind of priority that’s too impressive for someone of my level.

I’ve written in my blog a bit about Disney, and about Star Wars, taking inspiration from others who find threads of that kind usable. and I’ve devoted time to experiencing Lucasfilm and their “Star Wars.” Maybe I should have slowed down how many times I turned the focus of my blog back to Star Wars, but, on the whole, I don’t think it changed the overall definition of the blog I’ve done. I enjoyed most aspects of the task–my dear mother reading my thoughts on the Star Wars movies, told me I must be an expert!

On the subject of Beauty Beyond Bones, last night that blog cast back what it’s like going into the 2020s. The author’s a beautiful young lady and I understand why a lot of men might not interest her. Her blog has forty-five thousand subscribers, and of course, she doesn’t need to be concerned unduly with undeserving men.

I like reading her because she’s Catholic, and she lives in the Big Apple, and she has a fantastic amount of charm with which to counter other bloggers who are interested in the conversation. But removing blogs from the equation, I thought of providence, you might say, and I wondered if there was a method I could use to satisfy that need for a community.

Maybe I should go back to reading something that addresses the matter, probably not John Gray any longer, but something that is geared to helping grown-ups get better. I don’t have a straight-up answer to the question, but even starting to reflect on this reminds me that I could ask something about it on Quora, for example, and see if I have the good fortune to attract a sensible response. I would like to change, in light of the number of years I’m racking up, but I do need a strategy to get there (somewhere better, ostensibly).

I usually make a go of Monday’s motivation, the trend. I like YouTube videos about motivation or strategies to make life improvements. Even better, when Monday evening arrives, the Beauty Beyond Bones blog goes live. It is a superb discussion.

Photo: Jonas Svidras @ STEP.CAMERA

Of course, it’s not 2004 anymore, or 1994, for that matter, but sound advice is always agreeable, of course. I am sure it is a positive investment for the time it takes to enjoy it.

I hope that 2020 will be filled with the right opportunity for you. You’re welcome to like, to follow and or/to comment. Do take care and may there be many happy tidings.

15 Ways the Most Youthful Adherent to Video Research is Totally Overrated. Part III

Cats at play
Kittens
Dimensions: 6000 x 3376
Photographer:
Redd Angelo
Dimensions: 5616 x 3744
Photographer:
Greg Rakozy

This post is intended as the conclusion to two earlier posts, written and published recently.

Not to say that video doesn’t have many, many uses, sometimes even critical, I have thought of some observations debunking video.  Information learned from video research can be useful, particularly if it is assembled in a blog shared on Facebook.

I feel, historically, video research does not hold up given its artifice as evidence.  With good editing, that difficulty is somewhat rectified.  Here are five more ways that video research is overrated.  These are ways that video does not provide any more substantive information than where is otherwise available.

 

  1. Twitter’s Vine, now Periscope launched people with a genius for shooting six-second long videos, usually intended to be funny, meaning that if you were a creator with a knack for coming up with hilarious six-second videos.  On Vine, you could build a reputation and attract an audience.  The problem is that Vine came to an abrupt end because behind the scenes Twitter was continually working on becoming profitable and Vine didn’t enter the equation.
    Therefore the six-second video format of Vine left the Internet.  This is an example how video did not work in a specialized format that was “cool,” new and stimulating.
  2. Another way that video has failed the mainstream is the interesting but absurd idea that you can video-record phenomena, like Bigfoot, or UFOs.  An idea of going on an expedition to get a video recording of Bigfoot in his natural habitat, or UFOs in the night sky, often gets debunked by skeptics as “hoax.”  True experiences with phenomena of this kind go with a lot of excitement and potentially lasts only briefly.
    Videos of this kind are often derided, despite, of course, the additional risk that goes with trying to capture evidence of what’s alien and supernatural.  Also, there is the problem of informing on mysteries which government authorities commonly downplay.  If you want specifics about extraterrestrial astronauts, I think you will have a hard time procuring verifiable video recordings.
    It is not video research you can easily manage, despite popularity on television and on the internet.  “NASA Astronauts Discuss Extraterrestrial Life” https://binged.it/2Ga1mXi Extraterrestrial Laboratory
  3. Celebrity video recordings are not a reliable example of a video that can be examined for research purposes.  A celebrity sells a brand.  Observations made by the celebrity have an end goal in mind, not a general desire to be casually revealed.
    Researching the brand might be an approach, however, to video research that you could apply, but I think finding both a starting point and an endpoint could be difficult.  It might even take researching techniques for analyzing a brand if you’ve never studied that.  I doubt that you will find in a video the best information about analyzing a brand.
    That being said, I have no doubt you can earn the skill-set to analyze a brand as it’s represented in a video.  I think the evidence for the success of the brand would be better extrapolated by looking at the brand in the market apart from its appearance in a video context.  To be fresh, I think you would have to apply some expert touches.
  4. Coaching lessons in packages of a student-ready video may turn out to be somewhat dull in comparison to more novel approaches to learning.  A year ago I enjoyed completing a great WordPress course.  I took photos over the course of a couple of weeks, learning a little about photography with each and making something out of each lesson.
    I liked learning like that.  https://findingenvirons1.blog/2018/01/01/doggedly-capturing-developing-your-eye-themes-to-ring-in-the-new-year/
    If you have an opportunity to do some organized learning, I tend to think it is more fun if you can find applications you can apply in real life.  Try referencing research sources, perhaps some interactive, other than just video lessons, and I am thinking in addition about getting around the price of the video information, if it is part of a curriculum, belying how useful the information is.
    For example, a life coach offering videos to elevate your self-esteem could prove fruitless if you can’t make the lessons work, or if your intention falters and you no longer are acting in the manner required by the video curriculum.  This is important to note.  You can apply change only as much as you are mentally prepared to.
  5. I want to wrap this up with the suggestion that video research could have you preoccupied and unfocused what with possibilities opening for you that are more and more seductive and complicated.  You should remember your focus; you are not going to benefit by wasting time.
    Too much video and you are not getting done anything that’s worthwhile.  I feel if you are a consumer of video from a small number of creators who have focused themselves on something relatable, the focus that puts you amid them is what will keep you thinking consistently.  By that, I mean thinking in a way that organic learning, by a process of discovery, rather than by merely looking aimlessly, will be of some benefit to you.
    Your critical thinking may engage if you proceed this way.  I would put it to you to learn in this fashion.

 

This has been a three-part post about video research and how video research is over-rated.  If you enjoyed it, you’re welcome to like this post.  You can follow and subscribe as well.  Thank you again for reading me.

Asking if Secularisation of a Society is Bad

Leonardo da Vinci

Just the other day, I saw a WordPress blogger asking for debate if secularisation is good or bad.  She defined it, and I take it she means the decline of the influence of religion, like, for example, the power of the Catholic Church, on society around the world.

 

https://lovableliterature.wordpress.com/2018/07/30/debate-is-the-secularisation-of-modern-society-a-bad-thing/

 

This year I made time to read Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road, a novel about a man and his son trying to survive some time from now in the future when society no longer exists as it did previous to the events in the novel.  I think of church attendance preventing circumstances in our world like that in this Cormac McCarthy book.

 

If strong leaders utilize the unitary values of religious institutions in a way that helps people lead lives of better prosperity, it would be likely, I think, that people will make better progress in the world, decreasingly supernatural as it is.

 

Reading The Road, I didn’t think much supernatural dread happened to the characters, probably in part because to create their own resources they were too hard pressed to deal with the spiritual implications of society being at an end.

 

If I think about secularisation as it could relate to the plot of the novel, I think that the leaders of the world which existed before the events of the book have failed in their ability to keep the structure of its society intact.  Maybe this owes to an overall weakness in the story’s idea of religious institutions, but I can’t that except by thinking it is a possibility, judging that religious symbols seem to exist in the book.  The man on the road is a little like Jesus, set apart from others by his singularity.

Leonardo da Vinci
Imitation of The Last Supper

There isn’t an explanation for readers of The Road why society ended–it is a question only that it is gone, and how a much harder reality supplants it, the “road” of the title.

 

Isolation is the new struggle to overcome adversity, instead of questions like how did the world’s institutions fail and what can be done now, in their absence.

 

The novel’s interesting because society as a whole is over and done and there is no solution available.  It is a story of apocalypse.

 

The man traveling in isolation with his son seems unconcerned if there were religious institutions before society fell to pieces.  I don’t see why there wouldn’t have been institutions–in every other detail I can think of in The Road it matches the world as it’s known today, which leads me to think that parts of the world in the book weren’t secularised, as our world in real life remains only in part secularised today.

Dimensions: 3941 x 2931
Photographer: Iryna Tysiak

I tend to think that order would fragment in the event of too much secularisation because people need to feel that there is something supernatural about their lives, that they owe something to God.

 

I am optimistic about trusting religious authorities because I see a sphere of religious influence making a more positive outcome for our world.

 

I am glad to have had an opportunity to write a few thoughts on how thinking back to reading The Road helped me articulate an opinion on secularisation.

 

I was likewise glad that I took time this year to read the book by Cormac McCarthy, as well as having read Bethany’s post asking about secularisation.  The Road is the only title of McCarthy I am familiar with, but the cover of the paperback copy I read advertised that it had sold well.

 

If you enjoyed this post, you’re welcome to “like,” “follow,” and/or “subscribe.”