Dear Critical Thinking Colleagues:
We face tremendous barriers to the realization of fairminded critical societies, as is evidenced in the news of the world on a daily basis. Many people now "espouse" the importance of critical thinking, but few can tell us what it is. Our children need a chance at learning how to distinguish real evidence from fabricated information coming from vested interest groups. This they cannot do in a world that tolerates and even applauds the spreading of fake news, while ignoring the basic principles of criticality and the educated mind.
How many of our world leaders and politicians are focusing on the lack of critical thinking that leads to the many pressing problems now facing us as a species, some of which are devastating to people, other species, and our planet? How many of our politicians are arguing for the importance of fairminded critical thinking in our schools, colleagues, universities, businesses, and governmental agencies?
For almost four decades, the Foundation for Critical Thinking has been fighting the good fight to advance the concepts and principles in a robust conception of critical thinking. But we cannot continue without substantial help from our community. This is why you are so essential to the work of critical thinking. Please understand that you are one of the rare few who is actively working to advance critical societies.
As one of the longest-running independent intellectual think tanks advancing freedom of thought and freedom of speech, we are not beholden to any vested-interest group to keep our work going. But we need your help to spread the concepts of critical thinking, and to help those within your circle of influence develop the language of critical thinking, so they begin to command their minds at increasingly higher levels.
If you believe in our work, one way you can help us keep it going is to purchase anything from our bookstore now - and spread the word about our work on your Facebook and other social networking pages. Please include a link to our website!
Another way you can help is to donate now any amount to help us continue our work. (Larger donations will net one or more gifts...) Another way you can advance critical thinking is to place powerful critical thinking concepts before your students and colleagues. To help you in this endeavor, we are pleased to announce that everyone who purchases any three of our critical thinking posters through next Friday, November 3, will receive the complete Set of Five Posters. These posters feature concise diagrams of the most fundamental concepts and tools in a substantive conception of fairminded critical thinking. For this reason, they have long been a favorite among educators, as well as business, government, and the military. And because we want to encourage the use of these posters throughout all of your halls and classroom, there is no limit to this opportunity - paying for two copies each of any three posters will earn you two Sets of Five, three copies will earn three Sets, and so on.
I leave you this week with an excerpt from The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (1967) - a book I highly recommend:
Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. . .
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. . .
With equal passion I have sought knowledge. . . . A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.
Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a hated burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate the evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.
This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.
It is precisely the love and deep concern for our fellow creatures, of which Russell speaks so eloquently, that binds all of us together, linking us with those deep thinkers who have come before, and with those who will come afterwards in this journey towards a more humane and just world.
To live in accordance with these high principles, even in a struggle that perhaps can never be won, is the surest way to ward off the profound regret which envelopes so many in their final days.
For this reason, and many others, we carry on. Thank you, once again, for your essential contributions in this struggle for fairminded critical societies.
Dr. Linda Elder