The Mother of All Minds for Mother’s Day — YOURS!

13 05 2007

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY all you thinking mothers! 🙂
Not to be solipsist but we can think for ourselves better than anyone else can do it for us. That might not create our reality, but it does affect it!

For several years Nance and I have had a local Mother’s Day editorial on our parent-directed education website, not just about learning with kids but for The Thinking Parent’s own lifelong education:

Think for Yourself — Mom’s Advice Still Good

(from the Tallahassee Democrat)

. . .The hundreds of objections were orchestrated by someone who apparently finds the sound of a chorus effective, dozens of people clamoring . . .but offering little or nothing else to suggest further contemplation or a better idea. As if that sort of prerecorded pronouncement is enough.This is what it comes to quite often in public issues these days: Just add your name to the list of those who have also said “Me, too. I don’t like it.”

As frustrating as this easy approach is, it also indicates how many people are not taught to think critically, or develop confidence in their own ability to change the status quo – not just stand around, hands on hips, exerting veto power.

Florida’s constitutional amendment mania is irrefutable evidence of the ease with which people give five seconds of thought to huge petitions for change: I want more of this; less of that. Then they go back to their knitting, satisfied that they’ve made a difference.

This is democracy, I suppose, in a kind of sloppy way. It’s the voice of the people when they don’t have much to say beyond, “This can’t be good for me.”

. . .I don’t know where critical thinking is learned these days; I hold no degrees in it myself. But I suspect it’s in the home where parents champion curiosity and the boldness to not just veto what others are doing, but to come up with a better idea of your own.

On this Mother’s Day, I salute the moms who, like my own, have the maddening habit of saying, “Don’t expect me to give you all the answers. Think about it for yourself.”

Kinsley on Hitchens’ New Anti-God Book

13 05 2007

Michael Kinsley’s NYT review of Hitchens’ latest polemic is headed “In God, Distrust” and captures the same mixed reactions to Hitchens we’ve been discussing here.

God should be flattered: unlike most of those clamoring for his attention, Hitchens treats him like an adult.

See excerpt of book here — the first chapter, I think. For example:

“You may not see the point of all this faith now,” he said. “But you will one day, when you start to lose loved ones.”

Again, I experienced a stab of sheer indignation as well as disbelief. Why, that would be as much as saying that religion might not be true, but never mind that, since it can be relied upon for comfort. How contemptible. I was then nearing thirteen, and becoming quite the insufferable little intellectual. I had never heard of Sigmund Freud-though he would have been very useful to me in understanding the headmaster. . .

There still remain four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum of servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking.