Obstacles to Thinking

It is much easier NOT to think.

Thinking disturbs us by challenging the views and ideas that we have unthinkingly accepted.

Lack of practice
Thinking takes practice. Much of TOK is simply an opportunity to practice thinking.

Once we start thinking, we discover that there are no clear answers to life’s big questions. We feel frustrated by this lack of answers, because deep down we want the world to make sense. We want everything to be clear. We may say to ourselves, “If there are no answers, what’s the point? Just forget it.”

Faced with such obstacles, many people prefer not to think. Instead, they unthinkingly accept a certain view of the world, stop wondering whether that view is actually valid, and go on with their lives. When something in the world contradicts their view of the way things are, they ignore it or deny it. The fancy psychological term for this is “cognitive dissonance.” You can look it up.

However, if you can overcome these obstacles to thinking, you will discover that you have unlocked the secret to success in all of your IB courses. Why? Because all of your IB courses (except perhaps ab initio language courses) emphasize analysis, and a good analysis requires you to challenge assumptions, deconstruct opposing theories, examine key terms in detail, etc. In other words, analysis requires you to think.

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Not all black and white; the most interesting bits are gray.