Critical thinking is, unfortunately, not an inherent characteristic of the human condition. I recall it being one of my most enlightening and rewarding classes… so much so that I took it twice just to relive that “awakening” through the eyes of others that had never been taught to think in such a way.
For as long as I can recall, I’ve approached nearly every situation rationally and logically first. I’ve had to suspend that response mechanism this last 12–16 months as I kept running into walls (no pun intended) when discussing the big picture with people; not just strangers/peers, but lifelong friends and family. They know, more than anyone else, that I think and approach life differently, that I don’t swim with their school but they try to rationalize their opinions and choices nonetheless. It’s frustrating, nay; infuriating to watch my friends and family regress into their silos and dig in to their set of irrational beliefs. I could no longer rationalize it nor apply any sane logic other than it being a purely emotional response on their part.
My response then was to just walk away. If someone I grew up to respect and/or love is incapable of stepping outside their comfort zone to seek a different perspective, then I cannot continue investing time and effort to try. You might say that’s giving up, and you’d be partially correct, but when every meeting and/or interaction eventually goes “there”; it just becomes a feedback loop… like getting a BSOD on the old Windows machines. There’s just not a damn thing you can do to change it except reset and walk away for a while. Don’t get me wrong, I still see them and haven’t blacklisted anyone but our interactions are short and sweet now as I generally cut them short before the conversation devolves.
Eventually, I killed my Facebook identity. Deactivated first, then deleted entirely. I had withdrawals for a month or so but then they went away and I found an inner peace unlike anything I could recall for the last few years. It felt like the volume knob of life had been turned down to a more pleasing level. The static, and noise of dramatized hyperbole was suddenly muted.
I turned that newfound gift of free time to learning new skills; enhancing my knowledge base to satiate my infinite curiosity of all things I don’t know. It’s been both liberating and overwhelming to cut the social media umbilical cord but I believe I’m better for it.
It led me here…