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November 24, 2011


As I've said, "critical thinking" is not the same thing as "being critical" or even "thinking critically"... The latter two actions the result of a "reaction" or "fore-thought".
"Critical Thinking 101" is/has been about thinking before you act. To think before acting, and often to think more often than we do act. To be a successful, "critical thinker" tools are required. Tools we gain growing up; or at least hope we do, that give us an advantage as adults, as well as while growing into adults.
That is generally the job of our parents and our educational system. Both are pretty much required by law - "parents that provide..." and a system of education we accept in writing that we will subject our children to; unless the parents chose to home-school their children. Religious studies are also often provided, as with most, graduation of some kind follows.
From around age 5 to age 18 we are called kids or teenagers. We are not adults. We are not told many truths, but rather are told what we're expected to be told. We are taught the 3 R's, civility, right and wrong within our society. We are told we are kids and tempted with being adults. Mostly, narrow guidelines separate us from disaster, but that is not always followed, and the result of deviation are often severe. Often result in death.
One would think growing up would contain more common sense experience and truthfulness; but such is not the case. This would be a crucial tool, growing up, knowing the difference at any age. My first experience:
In 1963, November 23 at around 10:30 AM I was home sick from school, age 9, and watching TV. I was alone in the house. The scheduled program was interrupted with a news flash... President John F. Kennedy had been shot!
To know then what I know now would be a significant advantage. To know anything while growing up would have been an advantage. But I think "facts" were rather ignored, replaced by tradition, textbooks and propaganda. Think I'm cynical? I am.
To know I was a nine year old kid would have made a big difference while watching a news flash as big as an atom bomb going off.
It was a nexus in time... and so many things changed.
I believe it was the summer of 1970 when the Woodstock movie was shown in movie theaters. I would have been around 16yo then. We were in LI, NY for a family gathering - us with my father's side of the family. They were a rare welcome event as I have many cousins on that side of my family. My aunt, Katherine, often sided with me during family arguments. This was a much larger family, and time spent with my father's family was worlds apart from my mothers side of the family. It was like leaving a compound where strict rules and regulation applied, to a week of rational freedom. My cousins and I did it all, or most all...
We smoked and drank beer, liquor... all hidden from the parents of course. There wasn't any sex I recall, nor "drugs". yet, I felt free, and have no doubt it led to a more open mind when my time came for the initiation to adulthood, which in our case was, the ability to go into a bar and order a beer or a drink. That was it.
But I get ahead of myself. I was at a park with my cousins, in Syosset LI, and they all decided to go to town to see the movie, WoodStock. I was third oldest among the 8 of us, the oldest on my mother's side. In an ensuing argument, my mother won out against my aunt and my oldest cousin that I wasn't allowed to see the movie. My cousins went, and for the first time I felt something new, like a spark of individuality.
My mother's argument was one of tradition, and protectionist child-rearing. My aunts argument was that I was old enough. I was 16.
Being old enough? Wow, what a question. And what a question it's not. I searched Google and didn't find one post-a-ble link. But a new tool was added to my toolbox.
It was soon after my sister and I and our family were vacationing in Sarasota FL. I think I was 17. She was 16. Beginning when darkness fell, the beaches would liven up with campfires. My sister and I wandered the beach and found what were now bon-fires. This was a week where several other tools were added to my toolbox.
I smoked pot for the first time, and nothing happened. There's more, but that's it until I'm about 19. See, for the most part what I remember from age 5 to age 18 is not much, once I box up years of loneliness, years being picked on and bullied, years being told what to do, and yes, I suppose it's fairly typical. Anyways, I boxed it up as such.
I graduated HS at age 18. I had a job at a Dept. Store. I got laid-off one X-Mas eve... and hired back in the Spring, largely due to my father, who had a way of doing things. I didn't attend my graduation. I did attend the rehearsal, and that was enough. The rehearsal was one final afternoon at the HS in the auditorium. The skits were rehearsed, and two of them were etched on my brain.
#1 was a NYC junkie, reformed, who on stage described the night he was arrested, after swallowing several needles he used to inject heroin.
#2 was Elmo. He was the school custodian and the administration thought he should appear onstage. I wanted to cheer, but my classmates booed him offstage. The school custodian, disgusting!
I found an excuse not to attend graduation, and also one to move out on my own as soon as I could. Around age 19 I did that. Moved to an old converted horse-barn, made into upper and lower apartments, at the edge of the community college campus. I moved upstairs into a one room apt. sharing kitchen and bathroom with 4 other rooms. I worked still at the dept store, took classes by day at the college, and sought to attain my independence.
My motivation? Like why did I move out on my own? Might seem obvious, in that in 1973 isn't that was 19 yo men did? Well, not in my case. It's quite ironic what happened in my case. Nothing one would expect anyways.
No mater how hard you try you couldn't guess my motivation. Books that I'd read growing up were a huge motivation. Making my own decisions was another.
In one of my recent posts:, my friend and fellow blogger Slam Dunks, comments:
"I think it is healthy for folks to reflect on turning points in there life--how they became what they are today. Though I can't relate to your choice, I respect the right for people to make their own decisions."
October 18, 2011 9:44 PM
Making my own decisions Key to that comment, if I may, is his admission that he "can't relate to ... (the) choice," yet he respects the right of people to make their own decisions.
After HS graduation which I didn't attend, and working at that dept store and classes at college made no sense to me... I really didn't know what to do. There was a side of me that was social, but another side of me that was quite a-social. I considered suicide, as I was not happy. I had a girlfriend, but it was more frustrating than fun. My studies were very difficult, having barely been a C avg. student during HS. Originally I did not see myself moving away from home. Literally, I had no future. Just dreams, and they were worthless I thought at the time.
No, what changed ultimately was me. An old story by now, but one I repeat, one I understand not everyone can relate to. One not everyone can believe, nor accept.
Fact is, around age 19 I smoked cannabis for the second time, and something wonderful happened. Something extraordinary and completely unexpected. My brain snapped into focus. I discovered myself. My dreams held meaning, and my future promise.
God, to live with that awakening in complete opposition to current and past prohibition of just that activity. And no end in sight as the federal government gears up to spend everything it can to continue to wage war on cannabis, in the name of "Battling Drugs"!
Critical Thinking 101 required of me my ability to think for myself, to take possession of of my spirit and my survival. To look out for #1.
Things didn't work out exactly as I'd planned after that... but I sure did make ground... progress.
So tell me again why cannabis is illegal? Why I should feel shame for my past, and why my future is filled with more of the same hypocrisy and oppression? Tell me again why the federal gov't has a patent relating to the medical benefits of cannabis, and yet refuses to remove it from it's Schedule One classification that emphasizes ZERO medical value?
Why are people allowed to get drunk after work, but not allowed to relax with cannabis?
It takes critical thinking to figure the answers out. You decide.... regardless of polls, recent legal battles to legalize pot, what benefit to society is there to ban a plant that is non-toxic, 100%natural, and safer than legally available alternatives? What spend billions of dollars a year, destroy countless individuals and families to support a law with no bearing in reality? Seriously, cannabis prohibition is without merit. Without justification. It needs to end.
That is critical thinking. To see the obvious.

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