How to teach children to think for themselves?

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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binocular
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:45 pm

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:17 pm
If a person treats me with the qualities you specified - " indifference, hostility, competition, or expendability." - then I won't be taking them for my spiritual advisor, thanks.
But how come you think you have that choice?
You must have some kind of metaphysical background to think you have a choice in whom you'll look to as your teacher in religious/spiritual matters.

I've never had any choice about my teachers. Not in school, and so far, not in religion/spirituality either. In Catholicism, things function by the territorial principle and one is subject to the priest who is in charge of the parish one resides in (one isn't even supposed to go to mass in another parish if such going would be simply out of one's own preference). I don't know any other way.

But more than that: If religion/spirituality is supposed to be about The Truth (which one does not know yet), then how does it make sense to _choose_ a religious/spiritual teacher, or religion to begin with?
I might be able to learn swimming, driving, or even philosophy from them, but if they don't embody the type of ethics I admire, then I will treat them like the swimming teacher with the drowned pupils or the driving instructor who causes crashes.
This seems so common-sensical, and yet not ...
"Embody the type of ethics I admire" -- there is no room for that in Catholicism. "Mine is not to make reply, mine is not to reason why, mine is but to do and die!"

I don't know ... maybe I have post-Catholic PTSD ...

:(

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Sam Vara
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:43 pm

binocular wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:45 pm

But how come you think you have that choice?
You must have some kind of metaphysical background to think you have a choice in whom you'll look to as your teacher in religious/spiritual matters.
I believe that actions (kamma) makes a difference to my experience. That's based on common sense, plus what the Buddha said. If one doesn't believe that, then any spiritual progress is impossible, and any spiritual seeking is futile.
I've never had any choice about my teachers. Not in school, and so far, not in religion/spirituality either. In Catholicism, things function by the territorial principle and one is subject to the priest who is in charge of the parish one resides in (one isn't even supposed to go to mass in another parish if such going would be simply out of one's own preference). I don't know any other way.
I sympathise, but you did apparently exercise some choice - you chose not to believe them! If they are not worthy of belief, then so far, so good!
But more than that: If religion/spirituality is supposed to be about The Truth (which one does not know yet), then how does it make sense to _choose_ a religious/spiritual teacher, or religion to begin with?
Well, we know something of the truth. The perfections outlined by the Buddha are there at least im embryonic state. We can begin with developing those factors which seem to be most in line with that truth. We don't have to have complete certainty; just a faith that is rational. I think of it in Popperian terms. I'll try something out, and see if it is nonsense that ought to be rejected. So far I've experienced nothing to make me reject Right View, or morality.
I don't know ... maybe I have post-Catholic PTSD ...
:console: It's not terminal. :heart:

chownah
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by chownah » Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:35 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 1:10 pm
chownah wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 12:56 pm

All thinking is "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions,"(don't know why "mere" is used here)....what else could it be?
Purposive activity which benefits the thinker. You'll certainly think a lot if your clothes catch fire in an accident. Most of it will be mere mentation, which adds nothing to your welfare. If you've been lucky enough to have been trained as a fire-fighter and understand the principles of combustion, however, then your thought will be of a different nature.
I think that encouraging children (for example) to think a certain way may elicit the natural use of certain types of thought processes....but I think that just like a seed will sprout when put in fertile ground and watered, thinking will sprout when provided fertile experiences and encouragement.
Sure. It's a reasonable enough analogy, but the distinction between farming and pedagogy is there for a reason.
I don't know what you mean exactly with "mentation" and I don't understand why you use "mere" to describe it. Mentation means mental activity and isn't mental activity thinking?

Isn't "Purposive activity which benefits the thinker" a kind of "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions,"....and why do you include "benefits the thinker"?....

Seems that you are trying to create something called "mere mentation" which is a "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions," (again why the use of the dismissive "mere"?) and something else called "Purposive activity which benefits the thinker" which is what REAL thinking is all about.

Could it be that you think that REAL thinking (as opposed to "mere mentation") requires an internal dialogue?....in other words do you think that REAL thinking (as opposed to "mere mentation") occurs when mentation includes a linguistic component?......it sort of seems like it.

...or....could it be that your view is that REAL thinking occurs only in association with the delusional self?

chownah

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Sam Vara
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:45 am

chownah wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 3:35 am

I don't know what you mean exactly with "mentation" and I don't understand why you use "mere" to describe it. Mentation means mental activity and isn't mental activity thinking?
Not all mental activity is thinking, and far less of it would count as "thinking for oneself", which is what this thread is about. Random thoughts, intrusive images, vague feelings and dreams would count as mentation, but would not be called, in this context, "thinking for oneself".
Isn't "Purposive activity which benefits the thinker" a kind of "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions,"....and why do you include "benefits the thinker"?....
Because that's one of the ways (not the definitive way) we can tell that a person is thinking for themsleves. For example, the difference between panicking in a crisis, and reflecting on it so as to make things better or extricate oneself.
Seems that you are trying to create something called "mere mentation" which is a "mere mental activity driven by contact with thoughts and sense-impressions," (again why the use of the dismissive "mere"?) and something else called "Purposive activity which benefits the thinker" which is what REAL thinking is all about.
No, not real thinking, but thinking for oneself. As the OP specified this, I would like to differentiate it from other - "mere" - mental activities. The "mere" is in line with ordinary usage: "It was merely a dream"; "This idea was a mere distraction".
Could it be that you think that REAL thinking (as opposed to "mere mentation") requires an internal dialogue?....in other words do you think that REAL thinking (as opposed to "mere mentation") occurs when mentation includes a linguistic component?......it sort of seems like it.
Again, I'm not sure that "real" thinking is all that helpful in understanding what I am saying. It might be that thinking for oneself requires a linguistic component (it is normally portrayed that way in the West) or at least an understood system of signifiers.
...or....could it be that your view is that REAL thinking occurs only in association with the delusional self?
It's not my view, as I don't know enough about undeluded selves to make a judgement. Fetch me an arahant, and we'll ask him/her!

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binocular
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:27 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:43 pm
binocular wrote:
Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:45 pm
But how come you think you have that choice?
You must have some kind of metaphysical background to think you have a choice in whom you'll look to as your teacher in religious/spiritual matters.
I believe that actions (kamma) makes a difference to my experience. That's based on common sense, plus what the Buddha said. If one doesn't believe that, then any spiritual progress is impossible, and any spiritual seeking is futile.
This seems like a crucial point. I will need to think about this.
I've never had any choice about my teachers. Not in school, and so far, not in religion/spirituality either. In Catholicism, things function by the territorial principle and one is subject to the priest who is in charge of the parish one resides in (one isn't even supposed to go to mass in another parish if such going would be simply out of one's own preference). I don't know any other way.
I sympathise, but you did apparently exercise some choice - you chose not to believe them!
I exercised no such choice.
If anything, I have tried very hard to believe them and to take as true what they say; but I couldn't believe them.
I can find no reason not to believe them; but I also cannot find any definitive reason to believe them (other than evolutionary arguments, which I don't find very convincing, much less uplifting or optimistic).

It's an extremely alienating experience: I've lived in close proximity to Catholicism my whole life, I probably know Catholic doctrine better than most Catholics, I've gone to great lengths to believe Catholic doctrine -- and yet it's all foreign to me. It's almost like the proverbial water off the duck's back: it just doesn't stick in my mind as true.
However, there are some (mostly implicit) epistemic, ethical, and metareligious positions that I seem to have picked up from Catholicism and which do stick, like glue. Like the one that my personal knowledge and experience are irrelevant to the truth.
If they are not worthy of belief, then so far, so good!
That's just it, I haven't come to that point yet.
I don't know ... maybe I have post-Catholic PTSD ...
It's not terminal.
I'm sorry. I wish there would be a faster, more efficient way to overcome this.

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Sam Vara
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Sam Vara » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:10 am

binocular wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 8:27 am

I exercised no such choice.
If anything, I have tried very hard to believe them and to take as true what they say; but I couldn't believe them.
I can find no reason not to believe them; but I also cannot find any definitive reason to believe them (other than evolutionary arguments, which I don't find very convincing, much less uplifting or optimistic).
Ah, OK, I stand corrected.
It's an extremely alienating experience: I've lived in close proximity to Catholicism my whole life, I probably know Catholic doctrine better than most Catholics, I've gone to great lengths to believe Catholic doctrine -- and yet it's all foreign to me. It's almost like the proverbial water off the duck's back: it just doesn't stick in my mind as true.
However, there are some (mostly implicit) epistemic, ethical, and metareligious positions that I seem to have picked up from Catholicism and which do stick, like glue. Like the one that my personal knowledge and experience are irrelevant to the truth.
Interesting. Were you born into a Catholic family? Or do you mean that your family had a different religion (or none) and that your neighbours and their dominant culture was Catholic?

The idea that one's experience is irrelevant to the truth is fascinating, in that there is some parallel with delusion. But ultimately, I think that the Buddha's treaching is exclusively concerned with experience, as opposed to ontology and what there "is" independent of our experiences. The idea that there is something we have no access to which has ultimate power over our future experiences is scary. I can see the appeal, yet also the extreme danger in it. How would you even propitiate such a thing? It's probably the toughest trap that I can envisage. Just a thought, but have you tried ignoring that aspect of Catholic teaching, and going direct to what Jesus actually said and did? (My wife is an Anglican priest. I'm going to talk to her and then get back to you!)
I'm sorry. I wish there would be a faster, more efficient way to overcome this.
Maybe this one requires patient endurance. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipita ... .than.html

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binocular
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by binocular » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:28 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:10 am
Interesting. Were you born into a Catholic family? Or do you mean that your family had a different religion (or none) and that your neighbours and their dominant culture was Catholic?
I'm a second generation illegitimate child of Catholics. My parents were technically Catholics, my extended family were Catholic, in the town where I've lived, the vast majority of people were Catholic, I was the only non-Catholic student throughout my primary education, all the other students and teachers were Catholic (it was an ordinary public school though, not Catholic), in a country that has been traditionally Catholic for over a thousand years. I was there, living among Catholics, while never being one of them.
The idea that one's experience is irrelevant to the truth is fascinating, in that there is some parallel with delusion. But ultimately, I think that the Buddha's treaching is exclusively concerned with experience, as opposed to ontology and what there "is" independent of our experiences. The idea that there is something we have no access to which has ultimate power over our future experiences is scary. I can see the appeal, yet also the extreme danger in it. How would you even propitiate such a thing? It's probably the toughest trap that I can envisage.

I have no idea. I suppose the Catholics know this and this is why there is such emphasis on infant baptism and on active membership in the Church. It seems that there is the expectation that being included in an authoritarian organisation from early on should take care of any epistemic or other problems that a person might have.
Just a thought, but have you tried ignoring that aspect of Catholic teaching, and going direct to what Jesus actually said and did?
It doesn't mean anything to me; I am completely unimpressed by Jesus.
(My wife is an Anglican priest. I'm going to talk to her and then get back to you!)
Thanks. But what will you ask her ...? :smile:
I'm sorry. I wish there would be a faster, more efficient way to overcome this.
Maybe this one requires patient endurance. https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipita ... .than.html
The damn thing has tentacles all over my mind! It doesn't just sit there, but it really messes with me! I can't just let it do its thing!

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Modus.Ponens
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:36 pm

binocular wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:12 am
Greetings.

From another thread:
retrofuturist wrote:
Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:23 pm
Frankly, I can think of a lot of things that should be taught in schools before religion even comes into the curriculum. It's better to teach kids how to think for themselves, and give them the analytical tools to let them choose their own views and beliefs, rather than be indoctrinated in someone else's.
How to teach children to think for themselves?

"To teach someone" and "to think for themselves" seem mutually exclusive. As long as the teacher decides whether a prticular student is thinking for themselves or not, and the teacher's decision in this matter is to be regarded as authoritative, this long the student isn't thinking for themselves, nor allowed space to do so.


Please discuss. Thank you.
Hello.

Teaching how to think and teaching the tools required for critical thinking are not the same thing. The tools required for critical thinking can (and should) be taught. Namely, correct logical arguments, logical falacies, common human biases, flawed scientific methodology, and good scientific methodology. The "curriculum" should include practical cases, such as homeopathy, 9/11 conspiracies, and UFOs. It should also include real life examples of the consequences of ignoring science, such as the explosion of the Space Shuttle Challenger, the preventable spread of AIDS in several African countries due to anti condom propaganda and AIDS denialism, or the great famines caused by Lysenkoist science denial, which resulted in the death of up to 25 Million people.

Añjali
"He turns his mind away from those phenomena and, having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.' " - Jhana Sutta

chownah
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Re: How to teach children to think for themselves?

Post by chownah » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:33 pm

If one wants to know how to teach something it is good to know how something is learned:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Learning_ ... education)

This article might shed some light on the differences of opinions for example the difference between sam vera and myself.
chownah

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