Critical and creative thinking are two forms of thinking that characterize creativity, originality, innovation, reflection, and deep comprehension of reality. Creative thinking refers to the process of developing original ideas that require further explication for full comprehension.
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On the other hand, critical thinking refers to the process of reflecting, evaluating, analyzing, and challenging the assumption that forms the foundation of people’s ideas, values, and beliefs. Psychological experts argue that the emergence of technology heralded a period of laxity about reflection and serious thinking.
Technological advancements such as social media, the internet, video games, and television serve as obstacles to serious reflection and thinking. The result of this trend is that many people live lives that are founded on fantasy and superficial values and ideas that are encouraged by technology.
Social media and instant messaging encourage people to live and work every day, bombarded by distractions. This emanates from multitasking, reading, and replying to messages, checking emails, chatting with friends, and participating in other activities that perturb the peace of the mind, which is essential for reflection and serious thinking.
Social media hinders thinking because people are always busy attending to various matters that require minimal thinking. Another negative effect of social media and instant messaging that hinders reflection, and serious thinking is their overwhelming effect that forces people to lose self-control.
Also, the ease with which people can access information discourages reading, which is a common practice that encourages reflection and deep thinking. Instead of reading books to retrieve information, many people turn to the internet for information. The culture of reading has been on the decline among young people since the emergence of technology.
One benefit of reading a book is that it encourages and challenges the reader to reflect on the validity of the author’s ideas to challenge them in case they do not match their ideas, values, and beliefs. For instance, books that challenge common beliefs encourage reflection and deep thinking. Reflection and serious thinking require a relaxed mood and ample peace of mind.
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These aspects of reflection are suppressed by social media and instant messaging because they encourage people to multitask and as such become distracted. The brain is always perturbed in anticipation for the next activity. The situation is worsened by the long hours that people spend online chatting with friends and doing other things.
College students can practice serious reflection in today’s world in several ways. First, they should conduct regular self-assessments to develop ways to improve their lives. Self-assessment involves evaluating one’s life from various perspectives to identify areas and aspects of life that require improvement. This practice is important among college students because they need to keep abreast with their progress and advancement towards their goals.
Successful and fruitful self-assessment requires the application of reflection and serious thinking. By conducting weekly self-assessments, college students can practice serious reflection amidst the distractions of technology. Second, college students can practice serious reflection by joining groups and clubs in college that discuss various matters that affect the youth.
Through participation in such clubs, young people would reflect on various issues covered in discussions as well as their effect on their lives. Third, college students can practice serious reflection by registering for philosophy classes. Learning philosophy is among the most effective ways of challenges one’s thinking habits, beliefs, and ideals because it involves a lot of creative and critical thinking.
Another benefit of studying philosophy is the improvement of one’s thinking patterns into higher levels of personal awareness. Students can practice serious reflection by completing homework, doing assessment tests, and writing term papers. Fourth, they can practice relaxation methods such as exercising, meditation, taking walks, and reading. These methods encourage reflection and serious thinking because they calm the body and mind.
In many instances, an individual is immersed in reflection whenever the brain is calm and free from distraction. Such periods involve many questions that are directed to oneself regarding the quality of life and its purpose. Therefore, taking time off their schedules to relax is an important avenue for college students to practice serious reflection. Finally, they should embrace good practices of using technology especially the internet.
For example, they should try to concentrate on tasks by avoiding multitasking. Multitasking consumes a lot of mental energy, which results in fatigue. It is very difficult to reflect and think when fatigued.
Avoiding distractions, prioritizing, and directing attention to a single task at a time is important. Students should find ways to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in executing their tasks. This would encourage serious thinking in an effort to find the best solutions.
In conclusion, technology has several benefits. However, it has adversely affected certain areas of people’s lives. For instance, it discourages the habit of reflection and serious thinking. In today’s age of instantaneous communication and the prevalence of social networks, it is difficult to cultivate these habits.
Young people can overcome obstacles to reflection and serious thinking by limiting the time they spend online, creating schedules, and thinking and reflecting while using social media and other technologies. Also, they can practice relaxation techniques such as meditation and exercise, and embrace good practices of using technology effectively.