You may remember the song “What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love.” It’s never been in greater need. Crooked thinking leads to crooked speaking, and hate in the heart will produce crooked thinking any day. Continuing from our previous discussions, in the next few articles, we will dig a little deeper into what causes crooked thinking and how we can personally deal with its root causes. That will open the path to teaching ourselves and others by our words and example the way to a clean mind from which our thinking and feeling can develop.
Have you heard this kind of evidence of crooked thinking?
To demonstrate for our discussion today, have you ever been subjected to this kind of discussion?
Kent: “You know Joe. He’s so pigheaded (substitute religious conservative, anything you choose). He’s one of those despicable bigots.”
Charlie: “ Really? But didn’t he help you the other day with your landscaping? And you said he didn’t mention his beliefs and you were thankful for the help. Remember?”
Kent: “It wasn’t landscaping. He didn’t do much — just a few plants. I just hate bigots anyhow, and all those pigheaded religious nuts are bigots. Everyone knows that!”
Charlie: “Why do you think they are ALL bigots?”
Kent: “Everyone knows they are bigots. Wait a minute. Are you one of those fanatics, too? Don’t tell me you defend them! Do you? I thought you had more sense.”
Kent: mumbles and fumes.
This crooked thinking conversation displays a pile of errors and accusations. They have nothing to do with the subject, be it pigheadedness, religion, or whatever is the target of a person’s hate.
Three common errors that produce crooked thinking
Here is where the air gets thick. There are three common errors Kent falls into.
- He uses an emotionally powerful word, bigot, without defining why this truthfully describes Joe. Bigotry is apparently whatever Kent doesn’t approve of. It is simply a personal opinion and a word he feels will stir feelings of hate in other people.
- Perhaps Kent is tossing around an accusation regardless of whether it is true or not.
- It is a generalization meant to include all those that belong to the despised group Kent hates.
All of this crooked thinking has a single driver: hate.
It is unjust, to say the very least, because Kent is accusing Joe without evidence of any sort. Has your child ever done this to you? (I guess that’s an unnecessary question). In such instances, logic, truth, and reason are being trampled on as though they don’t matter. The bigoted one appears not to be Joe, but Kent.
Do we want to create this kind of reputation for ourselves — hateful people, who show ample evidence they don’t think straight? I hope not. Do we want our children to think like this when they enter the world of adulthood? Parents have an enormous task seeking to change this kind of speech and thinking in their home and outside its walls.
How we think is who we are!
Of course, who we are all starts with how we learn to think. Therefore, doesn’t it behoove all fair, just, and honest people to avoid any hint of this self-condemning talk, if for no other reason than that our world is in more danger of being contaminated and poisoned from this kind of thinking than from global warming or even war? It has started too many wars. I think you would agree. The poison, unfortunately, permeates our society.
If you are a parent, you no doubt have been assaulted with hate and hateful speech, and parents know how it stings and creates discord. A home quickly turns into a war zone. When hate or any negative emotion is given expression, if not arrested, it quickly proliferates and seeks fertile soil to feed its bitterness.
What is the source of this crooked thinking?
So, what do we do about it? The way we think must change. But what drives this crooked and poisonous thinking? It finds its original source in us where all our thinking begins. In the next article, we will discover this source and how to change its nature.