These are confusing times of deep uncertainty. The future is difficult to perceive, the natural world has long been in peril and the global political scene has grown increasingly divisive.
Many of us are at home all day and seek information and understanding from online sources. Voices which offer forms of certainty, that make claim to a wider view which can encompass the confusing situation within a larger narrative can be comforting. Ambiguity and incertitude are heavy psychological burdens. When we find accounts that identify causes and agents of the current situation or deny the truth of the factors causing uncertainty – the definiteness can be deeply appealing.
In times like these it’s important to maintain our skills in critical thinking. Critical thinking is not just having understandings about the world that run counter to those commonly held, or finding apparent patterns in disparate data, but a process of analyzing information in an effort to make considered judgements on the truth claims in that information.
The process may not offer any new certainty about what is occurring or may occur in the future – but it can provide us with greater confidence in the ways we receive and dispose information and commentary under conditions of uncertainty.
There are many online resources supporting the development of critical thinking skills. The image below offers some questions we might ask and consider of information we receive before altering our thinking or sharing that information with others. I hope that it’s useful.