One way to talk about the point I’m trying to make here is that the great majority of Americans have never learned how to think. I stress the word “learned” here; thinking is a learned skill, not an innate ability. The sort of mental activity that’s natural to human beings is exactly the sort of linkage of verbal noises to emotional states and vague abstractions I’ve outlined above. To get beyond that—to figure out whether the verbal noises mean anything, to recognize that an emotional state is not an objective description of the thing that triggers it, and to replace the vague abstractions with clearly defined concepts that illuminate more than they obscure—takes education.
Dec 30 2012