Tag Archives: lies


Following a discussion of lateral thinking and its importance to education, the question of critical thinking arose. Just what is this thing called critical thinking and how can it be developed?

The word critical has many meanings. It can mean adverse or disapproving
comments; an analysis of the merits or faults of an idea or thing; of something at a point of crisis; or having decisive or crucial importance to an undertaking or idea.

All of these meanings are components of thinking, or processing of information. But crucial to the processing of information is having a fully informed opinion. Critical thinking is to analyze and make judgements on the merits or faults of any idea, problem or venture one is involved in. These judgements can only be made based on the information a person has.

The following thought on intelligence relevant to this discussion was posted recently:

“Central to a general understanding of intelligence (of whatever kind, at whatever stage, in whatever species) is the ability to make connections.
That, in effect, is what intelligence is. It’s a neural network.” Brad Nelson.

True, and neural networks are being built within our brains constantly. That’s how we learn. New neural pathways can be formed even in the brains of the aging. Reading and writing, and many other activities, may also help keep brains youthful.

Based on prior knowledge, need or experience, people make instantaneous decisions every day. Sometimes, however a shoot-from-the-hip stance can be destructive. A more thoughtful or even formal approach may be in order, and this is where critical thinking comes into play.

If a person has a crucial decision ahead, they need to determine if they have enough information to reach a truly informed opinion on the matter. Where might they find the information they need? How critical is their decision to other people? Could their lack of information be harmful to others? Are there other sources or their own experience that might change their first or second opinion? Do they need the advice of an expert?

All options should be considered before a difficult decision is made.

In order for a valid decision to be reached there must also be some principles, standards or truths a person can firmly rely on to test the decision against. It does no good to reach a selfish or pragmatic decision that causes a person to go against those truths he or she may hold dear.
No one wishes to be foolish in their decisions.

The philosopher Soren Kirkegaard gave a standard of truth for all when he said: “THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO BE FOOLED. ONE IS TO BELIEVE WHAT IS NOT TRUE; THE OTHER IS TO REFUSE TO BELIEVE WHAT IS TRUE.”

Read that again, carefully. Can a person be fooled in any other way?

If the truth will make us free, then it is also true that we become slaves to the lies we believe. Believing what is NOT true is easy and lazy, it requires no critical or even lateral thinking at all. A person simply accepts ideas because someone else said or wrote them. If a man or woman believes what is not true, they are implicit in their own slavery.

Note that the second part of Kirkegaard’s proposition REQUIRES ACTIVE PARTICIPATION, a person must REFUSE to believe what IS true. It takes an act of will, a deliberate turning away from the search for truth, perhaps even a hatred of truth. Those who refuse to believe even when shown the truth, or refuse to tell the truth when they know it, are morally complicit in their own destruction.

Only critical and lateral thinking can give all mankind the necessary tools to walk the winding pathways of life with intelligence and joyful hearts. Keep learning, watch everything, look at differences, make connections in your wonderful brain, and always search for Truth.

May a few lines sung by J.R.R. Tolkien’s Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, lead your feet and mine:

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen;
In every wood, in every spring,
There is a different green.



The use of the word “crave” in the Tanakh translation is illuminating. My reaction to “covet” is strong, but to “crave” something hits me in the gut. Covet sounds like it could be a longing from afar, almost like a “wish” for something, but a craving sounds beastly and uncontrollable. That may be because of drug associations with the word. The King James Version is different still and uses the word “desire” in relation to  your neighbor’s wife, and “covet” where the Tanakh uses “crave.” Our grandson and Bear both find covet to be a stronger word.

At any rate, the commandment is very clear that we are not to desire, crave, or covet our neighbor’s family, property or goods of any kind. Bear says that should cover all the bases.

I cannot help but think that of all the commandments that deal with our relationships to our “neighbors” or fellow men, this particular one is presented last in order for a purpose. This one warns us of the beginnings of sin that lead to greater sin: bearing false witness, stealing, adultery and murder, all the ways we can harm one another, and we have already been told not to do those things.

When we wake up and find ourselves taking the path of covetousness, while we still have the capability and strength to see clearly our need to repent, we must do so and stop our downward slide into those greater sins.

In our youth, many of us succumb to jealousy over the beauty, poise or apparent riches of others. Teenagers may feel ugly, unloved and stupid, and so jealousy of others takes over. This is one of the reasons youth require much positive training and reinforcement in proper behavior. At any age, though, we all need to learn to restrain jealousy. Keeping any of The Ten Commandments takes self awareness and self control, virtues disdained in our society today. Many seem to have fallen into a degree of hedonism that can lead to the destruction of civil society if we do not reverse course.

Do not covet anything that is thy neighbor’s also has political repercussions as class warfare is used to divide us as a people. Do you think another’s money should be confiscated by tax policy to be given to others? Do you really believe that redistribution of wealth is a worthy goal? Who gets to decide what you do with what you have earned?

How should charity be handled, by the heavy hand of government, or by individuals acting freely out of love for their fellow men? Where is the most individual growth fostered?

Do not covet that which is not yours, and become adult enough to work for your own daily bread.



My husband had ongoing land use negotiations with the city of Wasilla, Alaska, where he had once lived, and felt that the mayor was never up front on what he said and seldom honored verbal commitments. My husband was often frustrated, so when Sarah Palin was elected he was relieved to find she was a person of honor.

I don’t always agree with some of the things Sarah did as Governor of Alaska, but overall I do like and trust her as a person. When I made the decision to defend her when I was in Chicago I had no idea where that would take me. We stayed at a Ronald McDonald House when our daughter was undergoing treatments for her illness and I chose not to participate in political discussions while we stayed there. I felt that politics should have no place in a house meant as a retreat for people whose children were ill, but there were others who indulged in loud and often insulting political discussions. You know the kind, all white people are racist, etc.

When we got to the house following the elections we were hit right away with sneering references to Sarah. I calmly said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t appreciate my friend being lied about, and she is really a very smart and lovely person.” One of the worst offenders jumped up like a scalded cat and ran from the room. I could hear her almost screaming about how awful Sarah was and how could I possibly be friends with her? The woman was a House volunteer who spoke to me only grudgingly thereafter.

A few days after our arrival, a good friend invited me and my daughter to attend a local Women’s Club meeting. I am not that kind of “joiner” but the speaker sounded interesting so we decided to go. On our early arrival we were introduced to a few women and sat down. One of the women came to sit beside me and told me she had been the first person in Hyde Park to hold a Tea and Fundraiser for Barack Obama and we were so lucky he had won the election, blah, blah. Me, “Ummm.” Suddenly she took my hand and said, “I’ve never met anyone from Alaska before.” “Well,” I said, “Here I am.” The usual questions followed, “How long have you lived there?” “Fifty years.” “Is it really dark six months a year?” “No.” “Do you eat seals?” “Some people do.”

Then she switched gears, “Maybe I shouldn’t ask this but, well I just want to know if the rumors are true and maybe you can tell me.” She sat there looking at me expectantly as if I were a mind reader. Finally I had to ask, “What exactly are the rumors?” Looking slightly embarrassed she said, “They say that Alaska is horribly polluted and that’s why Sarah Palin is so stupid.” By that time she was positively salivating for my answer. I was so stunned I could hardly think, so all I could come up with was, “I’m sorry about such a rumor because Alaska is one of the most pristine places on earth, and my friend Sarah Palin is very intelligent.”

She gave me a sad, pitying smile as the meeting was gaveled to order, and  she went to sit by friends while I thought of all the answers I should have given. How about, “You really think Alaska is more polluted than Chicago?” Or, “Gee, I just told you I’ve lived there for fifty years, shall I drool on you in my abject stupidity?”

One of my sons met this woman later and she told him she has been a long-time Socialist. Big surprise there.

She also has a PhD in psychology, but I won’t hold that against her.

LIARS – Explicit and Implicit

Soren Kirkegaard
. . . . . . . . . .

And so today we act as fools, because of a supposed “law”. The people of the United States can no longer close their eyes, minds and hearts to the explicit lies of our highest ranking leaders. We have also been treated to the explicit and implicit lies of all those who support those “leaders”: those who are true believers in the lies and those who just go along to get along.

What happens to a nation of liars and oath breakers? What happens to those who choose to believe and support and be enslaved by those lies and liars? If the truth will set us free then the opposite must also be true, when we believe a lie we become slaves to that lie.

If we believe what is not true, implicitly we are passive in our own downfall. If we refuse to believe what is true then we are explicitly partners in what our future holds.

Consider what it does to our own souls when we ACCEPT such lies and are either too lazy or too apathetic to confront the lies and demand the truth. Do we then also become implicit liars, no better than those in power who lie to perpetuate their power?

Lies at this point seem to be coin of the realm and are spent by many.

When our three older children were young (and we still had a TV), the kids liked to watch AMERICA’S MOST WANTED. They all had a highly developed sense of the necessity for bad guys to get caught and punished for their crimes and it pained them to see someone “getting away with it.” I tried to explain to them that no one “gets away” with anything, that we are what we are. One day I made it really simple and introduced the idea of a lie that they might have told and thought they “got away with” because no one else “caught” them. Then I asked, “Are you still a liar or not?” As young as they were they could see the point that until they confessed and determined not to ever lie again, they would remain liars. Then we could discuss whether a politician who lies, or a thief or a murderer can really “get away with it.”

Of course we have all told what we consider to be “white” lies, and we do have need of change. One can always find something positive to say without lying, or maybe the truth just needs to be out there. Until we accept our own culpability and make the necessary changes, we remain what we are. If we are liars we remain liars still. Our very souls remain calcified until we break the shells we build to hide from ourselves.

Our leaders seem to have highly calcified and impregnable shells, and they continue in their lies. We need to call their game so we are free from the lies placed upon us.