“We must think critically…”

“We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs. Take them out on the verandah and beat them with a cricket bat… Be intellectually rigorous.Identify your biases, your prejudices, your privilege.” – Tim Minchin

I really like the quote above. But – and I suppose this will show my own biases – it strikes me as a really masculine way of looking at self-reflection – so aggressive – so over-the-top – like we’re marching off into a major war or something, with swords drawn and bludgeons and bats at the ready.

My approach to the art of critical thinking is a little different, I guess. Sometimes I’m a gardener – pulling up the weeds, planting the cheery sunflowers, nurturing and watering the good, plucking out the stuff that’s not so good. And sometimes I approach it as a housekeeper might – adding a little vinegar to the water, and wiping the film and build-up of nonsense off the window panes so I can see clearly again, and so the light can come into my home.

We don’t need to beat the crap out of ourselves – and certainly not out of others – to make progress in our lives. We don’t need to break the windows – we just need to clean them, you know?

So how do we know when we need to spruce up our beliefs? Well, for me it starts with looking at where my beliefs are taking me. If they’re leading me towards hate, fear, anger, bigotry, bullying, greed, and selfishness, then those beliefs have got to go. But if my beliefs are leading me towards love – guiding me to a place of courage and compassion, generosity and hope, joy and kindness and forgiveness and integrity – then those are the beliefs I’m going to nurture.

Are we clearing the gardens of thought by uprooting the noxious weeds of passion, malice, envy, and strife? – Mary Baker Eddy

The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love. – Mary Baker Eddy

sunflower and bee

photo of sunflower and bee by Karen Molenaar Terrell

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13 thoughts on ““We must think critically…”


  1. ■ We don’t need to beat the crap out of ourselves – and certainly not out of others – to make progress in our lives. We don’t need to break the windows – we just need to clean them, you know?
    ■ The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love. – Mary Baker Eddy

  2. Reblogged this on Bilawal Says and commented:


    ■ We don’t need to beat the crap out of ourselves – and certainly not out of others – to make progress in our lives. We don’t need to break the windows – we just need to clean them, you know?
    ■ The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love. – Mary Baker Eddy

  3. Analogies always make a mess of things. Minchin says be brutal in your examination of your own beliefs while you want to do it gingerly – something he might also appreciate. The point is don’t be shy about it, do it, do not hold back or give yourself or your beliefs a free pass anywhere. You might want to just clean the windows but don’t be hesitant to replace them if they are done for.

    • I really liked Minchin’s quote – I think he’d be a hoot to invite to dinner – ohmygosh! That would be such a blast. I like your analogy, too – about replacing the windows if need be. I don’t think analogies always make a mess of things – and your analogy actually proves that. 🙂 Thank you, myatheistlife.

  4. Karen, I love you and am so enjoying sharing your books – reading them has stirred my beliefs and like Eddy says stirred the feather bed – given everything I thought I knew a good shake up and I am reveling in the fresh air blowing through my thoughts….joy to the world…

  5. I like Tim Minchin, I also like the idea of taking Christian Science outside with a cricket bat… perhaps I’ll have to settle for the complimentary copy of the Sentinel they sent a while back.

  6. Pingback: Bits and Clips for February 2015 | Polly Castor

  7. Critical thinking is the mental process of analyzing or evaluating information. ‘To reason’ is the capacity for rational thought, or to think logically.

    By thinking critically, instead of reacting emotionally to a problem, we employ strategies which:

    Help us learn from an experience
    Help prevent it from occurring again
    Result in a reasonable, effective solution
    The quality of life we experience is in direct proportion to the quality of our thinking.

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