I posted a few days ago on “muddy thinking” and how it bothers me. Here are a few more thoughts.
The more experienced I get in whatever I do, the more I seem to see so many either unable or unwilling to hold in mind pensieri limpidi which translated means clear thinking.
How often do we really take into account centuries of human effort to understand the world? How well do we know the history of philosophy, sociology, biology, psychology, ethics and religion? (I am referring to people who claim to be experts in their fields.) How well do we give due credit to the wide expanse of disciplines that can inform us as to who we are, where we are going and from whence we have come?
We worship too frequently at the altar of “specialization” to the detriment of knowledge of the truth. A microscope is very helpful, but never explains the entire organism under examination. Specialists in their field are needed, but good ones know what they don’t know and rely on colleagues in other disciplines to inform them.
The ability to think critically lies in each of us. This ability needs to be developed by means of a disciplined effort to obtain a truly human education in which mind, body and spirit are all approached with respect. The priest has as much to say about the human person as does the biologist. The philosopher’s insight is just as informative as is the physician’s.
You might think that with specialization comes clarity. Perhaps in a very narrow sense. But I submit that in the long run an overemphasis on narrowness of observation or overreliance on one source of knowledge leads to “muddy thinking.”
Would you drink a glass of muddy water? Should we drink in, then, the muddy arguments and rationalizations who see things only from one point of view and reject out of hand what is not within their subjective focus?