On Friday a friend pointed out the graduation speech that Tim Minchin delivered in 2013 at the University of Western Australia (9 Life Lessons – Tim Minchin UWA Address). I’d not heard of Tim Minchin before this.
Thanks to Youtube’s cunning algorithms I found and watched several other Tim Minchin video’s. Ok, I might have watched more than “several”.
Over the course of the weekend I have tried to figure out what it is about the video’s that appeals to me. It would be easy to say that it is just a simple crush, because I like people who are smart and witty and people who like musical theater and can sing, but it’s not that vulgar.
What appeals to me most is the fact that Tim is a critical thinker, who takes empathy to the next level. He is eloquent, funny and critical about ideas, but he doesn’t “target” specific people.
It’s nice to see someone with an audience who is smart and can express his ideas and who doesn’t appear to take himself too seriously. It’s a nice break from the negativity that you see on TV, in the news and on social media these days.
It also feels very good to be intellectually challenged, on a subject that is not work related, to take my current thinking one step or on some topics several steps further. I like a challenge, and this is an interesting one I feel is worth exploring. I like the idea of strengthening my critical thinking skills.
Based on some of the conversations I’ve tried to have about this topic I think this is probably a good moment to share a definition of critical thinking. There are several definitions on Wikipedia, but this one appeals to me the most:
“Critical thinking is disciplined thinking that is clear, rational, open-minded, and informed by evidence”.
It’s lovely to hear someone argue a point based on logic and reason, rather than operate based on the principle of “he who shouts the loudest is the most right”, which is what I see a lot, both in the media and in work environments.
I have scratched the surface of critical thinking, but I’m excited to practice it more and see where it will take me.
There is one thing that I’m a bit worried about.
For the last few days I have been looking for someone to discuss the idea of critical thinking with and it has been quite hard to find someone who was aware of the concept and interested in it. I was actively looking for a conversation about the topic itself. If I really get into this, I would as a result be more inclined to challenge ideas, whether out loud or to myself. Here’s my concern:
If you are a critical thinker, will you be able to ever have a friendly and fulfilling conversation at a birthday party, or an office get together?
I’m afraid that Tim’s nine-minute beat poem “Storm” contains the answer, but I guess time will tell…