Finding a new critical thinking?
A though popped into my empty head whilst reading “Action Research and the Politics of Reflection” (Kermmis in Keog and Walker). My gaze was inspired by the totally technologist view that for some reason – “despite our technological control of disease, hunger and hostile environments, our technologies threaten species, habitats, cultures and through nuclear weapons the entire world. Our social gains have been equivocal: enlightenment and egalitarianism have failed, thus far, to achieve a rational, just and fulfilled world order. The most insidious danger, is has been argued, is in the conventional modes of contemporary thought itself, especially those modes of thought characteristic of advances Western society.”
The paper goes further about the issues of “mass culture” and “As Jurgen Habermas expressed it, the new situation raises the issue of the competence to effectively communicate Ideational content. The issue is the capacity for theoretical or conceptual thought itself. When people lack such competence, social action that transcends the struggle for justice within the empirically given rules of social organisation and discourse is impossible …”
Is this not also expressed itself in “The Age of American Unreason” where the “public” is accused of being dumbed down of lacking the facility to engage with scientific explanation and falling back on some idea of faith given knowledge. These two critical positions and its praise of science and damnation of technology perhaps needs a new ides of critical thinking, moving away from their positions of enlightenment. In both cases do they not demand an engagement with scientific knowledge, yet without the engagement with technology , which gives them access to the media driven world and in their view “dumbs down”.
The new critical thinking perhaps has to engage with the Post-modern condition of disappointment, that there will be no enlightenment or egalitarianism, but that does not mean that we should not strive for this. If we accept that we will never be satisfied, that there is always be a position of disappointment, then as a society the failure can be seen as a success, that the drive for a grand condition of an ideal outcome is impossible. If we accept the idea of the “eternal return” that we are always and will always strive for a positive condition, but we will never attain this, then we can move away from the meta-wailing and think now and local, present and individual?