Critical Thinking and Perception
Prepare a 700-1000 words essay on ‘Critical thinking and Perception. ’ Perception is Reality. Identify an instance in your life where your perception of the reality situation was different from actual reality. What did you think was going on? What was actually going on? Why was there such a difference? What did you learn and how has your thinking changed because of this? Critical Thinking Critical thinking is the purposeful and reflective judgment about what to believe or what to do in response to our observations, experience, verbal or written expressions, or arguements.
It involves determining the meaning and significance of what is observed or expressed, concerning a given inference or argument, determining whether there is adequate justification to accept the conclusion as true. Fisher & Scriven define critical thinking as “Skilled, active, interpretation and evaluation of observations, communications, information, and argumentation. ” Parker & Moore define it more naturally as” the careful, deliberate determination of whether one should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim and the degree of confidence with which one accepts or rejects it.
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In simpler terms, Critical thinking is disciplined logical thinking governed by clear intellectual standards. Critical thinkers must always seek truth and reality. It employs not only logic but broad intellectual criteria such as clarity, credibility, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance and fairness. While thinking critically we must give due consideration to the evidence, the context of judgment, the relevant criteria for making the judgment correctly, the applicable methods or techniques for forming the judgment, and the applicable theoretical constructs for understanding the problem and the question at hand.
Critical Thinking and Perception Perception is an extremely common word used to define our own thinking and beliefs about certain situations and facts. The word “perception” comes from the Latin words perceptio, percipio, and means “receiving, collecting, action of taking possession, apprehension with the mind or senses. ” It is the process of attaining awareness or understanding of sensory information. The classic question, “Is the glass half empty or half full? ” serves to demonstrate the way an object can be perceived in different ways. People with different mindsets and different experiences in life will perceive it differently.
Optimistic people and individuals with a positive outlook towards life will perceive it a glass half full. Whereas pessimistic people will view it as a glass half empty. Thus it can be maintained that Perception is unique to every individual and is simply one’s interpretation of reality. When we view something with a preconceived concept about it, we tend to take those concepts and see them whether or not they are there. This problem of perception stems from the fact that humans are unable to understand new information, without the inherent base of their previous knowledge.
Thus we always tend to perceive things based on their past experiences, previous knowledge, point of views and our socio cultural environment. Critical Thinking does not recognize perception as the correct reasoning technique and calls for evident, logical and accurate facts. It seeks to achieve and establish reality and truth as it is without any distortions. It also maintains that perceptions are not always coincidental with reality. Life Instance and ‘My Perception’ (What did I think was going on? ) Since childhood I had been quite an opinionated girl.
Most of the times I strongly maintained my own point of view but I was never rigid. As all people I also had my own perceptions based on whatever I saw, read or heard about, experienced personally and experiences of people close to me. I grew up in a cozy and protected environment where I had very limited interactions with people from a socio cultural background different than mine. As a result I had my own pre-conceived notions about people from different religion especially about Muslims and their beliefs and lifestyle. As a child studying in a Convent school, I never had Muslim friends.
The only interaction or limited exposure I had about Muslims been limited to bits of information passed on by my dad about his workers and the news channels. As a result of this I was wary of making friends. Somehow I had a weird theory in my mind where I perceived all Muslims to be an absolute different type of people with a very different lifestyle. I imagined Muslim men to be huge giantly men with strange beards dressed in white kurtas with keffiyah on their shoulders. I had also thought them to be mostly uneducated, orthodox and backward people.
On my brief trips to old Delhi I had always seen Muslim women clad in burqas. I thought those women would feel restricted and oppressed all their lives since their contact with outside world is so limited. No body could see their beautiful clothes and accessories. I also thought of Islam as a rigid religion with strict rules forcing people to read Namaaz five times a day. In my ignorance, I perceived it to be an unfair social system for women as polygamy is acceptable. It is quite obvious that my perceptions were far from reality and were just those – narrow-minded perceptions.
Rendezvous with ‘Reality’ (What was actually going on? ) My perception about the religion changed drastically changed with my growing up years and especially when I joined college. My graduation college (a leading fashion design college in Delhi) was truly cosmopolitan in nature. It was a melting pot of various cultures and lifestyles. It had students from all walks of life and varied socio cultural backgrounds. As a class all of us were supposed to interact with maximum number of people and work together as a team. There I met many new friends and made some for lifetime.
One of them was Aslam- a lanky but a super stylish Muslim boy. He was an absolute contrast to my ill-conceived perceptions about Muslims. He did not wear ill fitted kurtas and had done his schooling from a leading school of Delhi. He belonged to a very educated family. I was surprised and I started changing my thinking. After some time when we became close friends I realized Islam is not a rigid religion and does not force people to read Namaaz five times a day. It is in fact the most misinterpreted religion, which only suggested that men could remarry to support helpless women in times of distress and war etc.
I realized all the burqa-clad women I always saw in Old Delhi were not the only Islamic lifestyle. My friend’s mother is a businesswoman and his sisters lived their lives in a manner quite similar to mine. The biggest revelation was that he is a vegetarian by choice and very secular in nature. He also faced same late teenage issues as mine and held similar political and social beliefs. In short his life was very similar to anyone else’s life of our age. The only difference lied in the gods we prayed to and the way we prayed. It was an eye opener as well as a heart-warming experience for me.
And today he is one of my dearest friends whose friendship I will always cherish. His friendship has enriched me as a person in many ways. A Changed Me (What did I learn and how has my thinking changed because of this instance? ) My friendship with Aslam over a period of 4 years has changed me and made me a changed person today. I now realize my perceptions about Islam and Muslims were absolutely baseless and wrong. All my childhood years I was not thinking critically or correctly and I had fallen prey to unwarranted assumptions about Muslims, which were not based on any proofs or conclusive evidence.
Based on my little and incorrect knowledge, I had mistakenly perceived and stereo typed a huge group of diverse people into an uneducated, unaware and rigid community. I drew a wrong conclusion about a large group of people from an extremely small sample of very few Muslims I indirectly came across my brief Old Delhi trips and my father’s conversations. I learnt that one must not formulate their own theories and view point about people, situations and facts without confirming the logic behind it. Every individual is different and one must never stereotype a large group based on inaccurate information or perceptive theories.
But since we are human beings and we are bound to perceive, it always helps to be a little flexible about our opinions and welcome rightful changes. The experience of getting to know someone from a completely different religion has changed my perspective towards people. Today I am not that narrow-minded girl anymore but a better individual with a broader thinking capacity and a deeper understanding of our Indian multi lingual religious and cultural social fabric. I am now open and mentally well prepared to make friends from different backgrounds.
This experience has also helped me to cope up with social life in MBA College where students belong to varied nationalities and milieu. As a matter of fact I now look forward to interact with new and different people and make as many friends as possible irrespective of their religion, nationality, ethnical backdrops etc. (*** PS : This is just to explain how I have changed as a person and not to hurt anyone’s religious sentiments. I am very glad I came across this experience as it has changed my wrong perceptions and opened my eyes to a new world full of new and good