In a complex and uncertain world, simplification is dangerous. The discipline of critical thinking is vital in our societies and economies. It helps steer up the direction of truth, away from falsehood. As we commemorate World Logic Day it is essential to equip the 21st century generation that values individuality and fosters an appropriation of knowledge. Granting the fact that technology makes it possible to have much of the world’s information at one’s fingertips, information alone is insufficient for critical thinking. The information is meaningless without the desire and ability to ask the right questions, identify conflicting information, assess the credibility and accuracy of that information, and determine what actions ought to be taken in response.
One noticeable aspect is how critical thinking has become a matter of high-stakes. Issues like COVID-19 that affect society in multiple ways require literate citizens who are capable of making critical decisions and taking actions based on reasons. Each line of business had to adopt a different strategy according to its context, over the past 2 years many businesses where faced with tough decisions such as:-
- Should we close or reopen our businesses?
- Should team members attend work even though basic safety and sanitary conditions are not in adequately in place?
- Should all team members work remotely from home?
- What is the best software application that can serve the needs of our customers as a Quick Service Restaurant (QSR)?
- As a Quick Service Restaurant operating in #Harare, #Gweru #Kwekwe, #VictorialFalls and #Bulawayo which branch would remain in operating.
- Will sit-in discontinue permanently and focus on take away and delivery service?
- The need to invest in continual training of employees on prioritization of hygiene standards
The pandemic, and our reactions to this once-in-a-century health crisis, drives home the need to equip all business owners with critical thinking skills and dispositions.
The rationality of the world is what is at risk. Young people are lacking the simple problem solving skills that make navigating life much easier. Online learning replaced in-person teaching and science uncertainties are more visible than ever. The new forms of communication that generate a rapid increase of information and easy access to it, slowing eroding the ability to think in an organized and rational manner in order to understand connections between ideas and/or facts. Young people need to become aware of their own cognitive biases and how to avoid being victims themselves. It necessitates the crucial aspect of identifying, analyzing, and then fixing flaws in the way one thinks. In other words, it’s “thinking about thinking”. Futurist Alvin Toffler explained that “the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write. It will be those who can not learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Being right is often the goal in traditional leadership models. But when the critical thinking disposition is involved that values doing right over being right, it demands a much more careful and people-centered analysis. The outbreak of COVID-19 has been accompanied by what the World Health Organization (WHO) has described as a “massive infodemic.” Fake news covering all aspects of the pandemic spread rapidly through social media, creating confusion and disinformation. The term infodemic refers to an overabundance of information (real or not) associated with a specific topic, whose growth can occur exponentially in a short period of time [World Health Organization (WHO), 2020]. Let us not be taken advantage of because of lack of critical thinking. As the God father of logical thinking Aristotle articulated “Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach”. Our challenges reveal an urgent need to emphasize several key aspects of critical thinking.