Critical Thinking


Controlling the "Bipolar Beast"

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Please Note:

All Critical Thinking work is done within the FyrenIyce-Think list forum. At one time during the early years of this website, I would work in dialogue one-on-one with whomever was interested in improving their critical skills, but the correspondence level inundated me and I decided to make the list itself our critical skills laboratory. FyrenIyce-Think has functioned beautifully in this capacity for over 2 years now and continues to grow and become ever more prominent within the FyrenIyce organization.

 

The following pages may be printed out as handouts that will provide a quick introduction to some basic concepts in critical thinking. You will notice that each section is distinct, thus making it easy to download or come back to as you wish. I have tailored the handouts specifically for those dealing with being bipolar. Hence, each offers examples and ideas, along with direct instructions and explanations addressing the way bad thinking makes for greater illness and poorer life quality. Shoddy, sloppy, confused thinking can spell hospitalisation and even death.

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The handouts constitute a fairly standard and straightforward introduction to the basics of critical thinking . Once you've read through the definitions and other materials, you then will be ready to discuss and debate controversial topics with the list group. ALL of your feedback and learning comes from and through both myself and your peers on the list so you'll have to join the Fyreniyce-THINK list in order to participate.

 

In other words, I think progress in thinking occurs only when one or more persons engage in a dialogue, in a philosophical discussion, if you will. In this manner, we can get to know each other individually. Part of the value of this course (for those of you who cringe a bit at new or unsettling experiences) is to help you overcome that nagging fear or apprehension. It's a struggle, I can promise you that, because I've watched my college students fight to overcome the same kind of apprehension, but the sense of accomplishment they felt having achieved their goal seemed well worth it to them as I hope it will to you too.

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Want an example? Ok, suppose you've an ex-spouse who is giving you a hard time over your children by being vindictive and nasty, even taunting you to anger. What would you do? Honestly, would you try getting even? Cry? Call an attorney? What if you've no money to call an attorney? Would you argue, taunt and fight back with the ex? Would you try to turn your children against him or her? Would you leave the state or country? How you assess and think about your options here could very well mean the difference between losing your children and/or visitation rights or not.

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It's so important to think critically before acting. There are too many situations that you'll face which are similar to this that it simply is foolhardy not to prepare yourself to think in a disciplined, analytic, non-emotional manner. You can learn how to think that way by reading the information here and then signing up to engage in spirited debate onlist. If you will trust me, I think we can learn from one another AND have a some fun while we do it :)

Brief synopses of each of the handouts follow. Just follow the link for each to begin the section.

Handout 1 This section covers some basic skills for accessing your personal thinking style.
Handout 2 A section exploring specific blocking mechanisms that make for poor thinking ability.
Handout 3
Handout 3a
Discussion of language, especially how it is often used to confuse and persuade via a powerful rhetoric.
Handout 4 This module delves deeply into the distinction to be made between "believing" and "knowing" whether something is true or false.
Handout 5 An in depth discussion of morality, ethics and moral judgements in terms of their origin and impact on how the bipolar person often harshly judges him/herself.
Handout 6 This bit will surprise and shock you, but it gives you a sure method (based upon careful consideration and analysis of what it means to be "responsible") for making really tough choices.
Handout 7
Handout 7a
Handout 7b
This is a wrap-up with an emphasis on real life examples and applications of the aforementioned skills.