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Critical Thinking

The Stephen Brookfield Critical Thinking video, and This is Water by David Foster Wallace video. Ask
yourself, �Is there a difference between my perception of reality and reality itself?� Respond to this
question while considering the following:
What preconceptions do I have in my life that might distort my vision of reality (i.e., create cognitive
biases)? To help guide your thinking, consider how Dr. Stephen Brookfield�s preconceptions distorted
his vision of reality in theStephen Brookfield Critical Thinking video or think about the situation of the
prisoners in the cave or Wallace�s analysis of the supermarket.
What are steps I can take to overcome my distorted vision so that I might learn to understand more about
the world?
Who has enhanced my knowledge of reality?
Who has manipulated my mind in relation to reality?
How can I break free from the bonds of those who seek to manipulate me?

Critical Thinking

There is no difference between my perception of reality and reality itself. As far as I am
concerned, the reality I experience is the only reality that exists. The argument that the reality
people experience is in itself not real holds no water as it is pegged to the point of view of an
external observer. This is because the external observer who may be viewing ‘the bigger picture’
is experiencing his or her own reality. What I cannot experience but can be observed by an
external party therefor remains their reality since their cognitive element takes into account what
they see. While they can state that they know for a fact that the ‘shadows ’ on my wall are not
really what they appear to be, their point of view is also limited by how much of my experience
they can see and integrate (Litch et al, 2014).
The manifestation of a distorted experience of reality often stems from the fact that an external
observer with a wider point of view or vantage point sees more than me or any other person
under observation for that matter. The distortion of my reality however true it may be is
something that will only be realized and experienced by the external observer. In the case of
something like sleep walking , this opinion of one’s reality means that reality is in itself
potentially very dangerous to us if wrongly perceived since to me I may be fully convinced I
know where I am going yet in reality my body is moving unconsciously. The inward perception
of reality however applies to every-day life as well and this is captured through clichés such as
“beauty lies in the eye of the beholder” or “the grass is greener on the other side.”
The cliché about beauty clearly illustrates a fact of life which is that what really matters is what
the individual experiences and perceives from his or her point of view. The quote acknowledges
that people will have a different opinion on what we appreciate but that is because they see

things differently. We cannot however live to please everybody hence the need to appreciate
intrinsic reality. The grass being greener on the other side also brings out intrinsic reality. A rich
person may seem happy to the public because they have access to virtually everything but in
many cases they have just as many personal challenges as everyone else. They will not become
happy automatically due to the public opinion.
To overcome my distorted vision however I need to expand my perspective and the most
efficient way of doing this is consulting more literature on areas that are relevant to my existence
such as my culture, my religious beliefs, my political perspectives and also my personal
development. My reality has been enhanced by the people who know me well enough to connect
attributes I have to my environment. They have done this through being candid about the
mistakes I make or the opportunities I was failing to take in my immediate environment whether
it was social, academic or otherwise, making me learn to take advantage where I can and shed
the habits I needed to shed.
Politicians, friends, religious leaders and media personalities have manipulated my mind in
relation to reality. They do this by aligning whatever they are saying to things I strongly believe
making their messages easier to accept without scrutiny. I can break free of the bonds of those
who seek to manipulate me by seeking to form independent opinions. This way I will have
rational explanations and a much wider point of view with respect to the various parameters of
my life. In light of the prisoners in the cave, I can state that I will be able to question the
authenticity of the shadows and study them more to find out if they are real or merely reflections
of a much greater reality (Smith, 2012).

The video titled “this is the water” gives valuable advice on how to efficiently manipulate one’s
social environment through the skills attained in higher education. One can ensure he or she gets
the most value out of the relationships he has with other people through an better understanding
of their motives.

Litch, M. M., & Karofsky, A. D. (2014). Philosophy through film. Routledge.
Smith, C. (2012). Like Prisoners in a Cave: A Problematic Search for Identity and Truth in Two
Peninsular Novels. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 89(6), 615-625.

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