Just because a system may produce results for you in this moment, doesn’t mean that it is a beneficial system or behavior — this just isn’t a reasonable conclusion. The question to ask is, who does it work for, for you, or for everyone involved? Many people act and behave in certain ways since it is easier for them, but they are not looking at the logical conclusions and end results of those actions and behaviors, and how they may effect the people and environment in which they are a part of. They reason that action, any action, is better than doing nothing, because at the very least, there are some results — but is this reasonable, or might it be selfish?
For example, typical monoculture farming produces results that we see in our grocery stores, but at what cost to the environment, and at what cost to those who are eating the harvest? Done in small numbers, it may be difficult to see the negative effects, but when that system of farming is employed all over the planet, the results of soil depletion and vitamin deficient produce will take its toll on the world and its inhabitants. Food production that utilizes sustainable permaculture techniques, causes much higher crop yield, adds soil quality and depth, gives nutrient dense crops, decreases labor costs, decreases land space usage, and is highly self-sustaining and self-replicating. While both forms of food production work, only one version actually is beneficial in the long term.
The same can be said when we consider the example of parenting, where we take the route that may work for us, and yet may slowly erode our children’s self-worth and confidence. Many parents of the past claimed that spanking, which is a system of rewards and punishment, was good at keeping their children obedient and easier to handle. However, just because spanking may have worked in the short term, doesn’t meant that the system produced capable children who knew how to think and relate for themselves; it just meant that there were parents who knew how to enforce their own expectations, and were able to cause their children to comply with those expectations. While his way may have been easier on parents, what about the possible long term effects on their children’s self-worth and self-esteem?
When we utilize rewards and punishment to raise our children, we condition them to be susceptible to future manipulation, peer pressure, and control through their need for approval, and their fear of being rejected. In this, we do not raise children who become capable adults, but we instead turn them into approval addicts and slaves. It is imperative that we consider the consequences and logical ends of our parenting choices, rather than catering to what seems to work in the moment, what is convenient, or what makes us feel the most comfortable.
If we take the time to explore the consequences and logic of our parenting choices, our children will be raised with the same capability to think critically and make sound choices. However, if we fail to do so, we perpetuate the self-destructive slavery systems, while wreaking havoc on our children’s self-worth and self-esteem; where we make them dependent on external sources of approval, and provide them with an innate fear of punishment.
This form of faulty reasoning is called the “Pragmatic Fallacy”,
which “is committed when one argues that something is true because it works and where ‘works’ means something like “I’m satisfied with it,” “I feel better,” “I find it beneficial, meaningful, or significant,” or “It explains things for me.” ~The Skeptics Dictionary
It is also the “Appeal to Convenience logical fallacy”,
where a person accepts “an argument because its conclusion is convenient [for them], not necessarily true.” ~logicalfallacious.com, B List Fallacies
If you cannot tell already, this form of reasoning is extremely self-centered and selfish, even though it may hide behind such fallacious statements as “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”, or “I’m doing this for your own good, because I love you”.
Just because something works, doesn’t necessarily make it true, but critical thinking can liberate us, as well as our environment, from the disastrous consequences of our failure to think about why we behave as we do. We can utilize critical thinking in any course of action or behavior that we may take, for if we do not take the time to examine the overall effects to our environment and those around us, we are prone to harming the very beings we supposedly care for and love. Before acting, we must ask all of the questions necessary to find out what the actual problem is, what we want, why we want it, and what the possible long term outcomes might be. This is not merely about survival, as utilizing critical thinking skills in our decision making process is the path of thriving — for us, those around us, and for the environment in which we are living.
To learn more about critical thinking, we highly suggest that you learn the Trivium method of critical thinking, and learn how to utilize it in your every day life. Our Unity Process is a practical way of incorporating the Trivium into your daily interactions with people and your environment.