In life, decisions must be made. We are often confronted to situations where good judgment is required to achieve a certain goal or simply succeed in our different endeavors. Good judgment is the result of an important process which is critical thinking. Each one of us should seek acquiring this skill to encourage their curiosity and broaden their interests for constructive outcomes. So, what is critical thinking?
Critical thinking is a metacognitive process, which means that it involves thinking about your thinking. Socrates was a pioneer in applying this revolutionary process to reach his philosophical findings. We often stumble upon debates on television about various topics. For example, if I am watching a debate about the role of Ultras groups in the stadiums, it is probable that I already have views about the topic, and each view is an example of thinking. Critical thinking starts when I start reflecting on my own thinking, and asking questions like: why do I have these views? On what basis are they built? How do other people look at Ultras groups differently? How can I tell which view is accurate? The first step of critical thinking is to always ask good questions that go to the heart of the matter. Real life throws messy questions at us constantly, and we find ourselves wandering in a maze of information in search for the absolute truth. We are surrounded by clues with loose ends leading us to unclear conclusions, or disastrous outcomes sometimes. Imagine a sailor lost in the ocean with only a compass as a tool; this compass is critical thinking, and the sailor is us in life. In order to learn to think critically, one should first lean to ask questions, and even further, notice that there are questions that need to be addressed. A student who keeps failing classes or getting bad grades should ask himself: what should I do to get better grades? How can I read books more effectively? These questions might seem void or meaningless at first sight, but if asked with the right spirit and good will, they will trigger the true power of critical thinking.
Asking questions implies that we should not take any information for granted. I can hear news on the radio, from a friend, in a chat in the bus, but how can I be sure of the veracity of the information? Who can guarantee the reliability of the source of the information? We have reached the second step of critical thinking which is reasoning. However, reasoning does not simply imply giving answers we have always taken for granted but never thought about. On the contrary, to get the full benefits of critical thinking, one should look for new sources and answers, as knowledge is an endless tank, and views can swing at the discovery of new elements. We live today in the social media era, where fake news are going viral, and we are swamped daily with huge amounts of information; therefore, critical thinking is the last shield we are left with to protect our brains against intellectual pollution. And in order for reasoning to work, critical thinking should be emotionless to some extent. We cannot expect to do conduct good reasoning if emotions like anger, fear, or happiness are overwhelming us because it is extremely difficult to think clearly then. The best option we have in these moments is to take a break and let objectivity reign again.
With reasoning we achieve results. The authenticity of these results depends on the extent of our belief in them and in the quality of our critical thinking. These results could be actions to do or paths to take. Critical thinking allows us to disregard negative or obsolete alternatives and helps us identify positive assertions, which usually lead us toward achieving our goals. Furthermore, it gives our life a sense of freedom by getting us away from the predefined thinking dogmas. This freedom does not only teach us how to reach good conclusions, but also how to prove facts and form arguments by testing our own thinking process. One key value to always bear in mind is open-mindedness. Logically, we cannot accept others’ views or even try to understand them if we are not willing to make a step against our favored beliefs. Open-mindedness should not be seen as a weakness or compared with indecisiveness, but a quality unveiling other perspectives that have to be taken into consideration. In general, we tend to be less critical towards facts or claims supporting our original beliefs compared to evidence that goes against then. The more we balance the criticism, the closer we get to critical thinking.
We, as Ultras Eagles, encourage our dear members to adopt this thinking process not only when it comes to Raja or Ultras matters, but also in their daily life in general. Unfortunately, we live in a country where we share the stands with groups which are ages behind critical thinking and could use some of it to stop spreading idiocy among their youth. For the sake of the example, let us all recall the theatre of absurdism’s tifo animation of “La cantatrice chauve”, which illustrates that our rivals’ history and arguments have nothing to do with reason and are deprived from any form of critical thinking. Being an Ultras Eagles’ member is a privilege which should be honored; the least we could do is be critical thinkers and never cease to be curious. The group has always embraced critical thinking in its different positions, works, and actions. In the same sense, “Tabula rasa” represents a good starting point for any analysis or a reasoning. The Eagles’ history is full of examples where Cartesian rationalization showed its efficiency and effectiveness: we all recall the “BASTA” earthquake which brought the first green winds of change, “Fakher m’a tuer” which went against the positive run of the team’s results and proved our firm position, and “FIASK.O.” which continued the resistance trend.
The potential of our brains is limitless, and science until today has yet to explore the depths and secrets of its functioning. It is a gift that we should make good use of by always asking the right questions and filtering information we are exposed to. This information forms the basis of our living knowledge. This seems simple yet so many people have a hard time being skeptical to information that does not make any sense. We find ourselves stuck in a society with unimpressive people who merely follow orders without questioning it. Our duty as Ultras members is not only being behind our team Raja, but also being an active part of society and participating in the awakening of a dormant young population.