Tuesday, 31 March 2015

On Bottom Up and Top Down Thinking - Parts 4/5

4. Freethinking and orthodoxy

The bottom up thinker is well aware that other people think differently from him. He may disagree with them. He may find their views disquieting. But, as long as they respect his right to have his own opinions, he will respect their right to the same. As long as they don’t try to dictate to him, he has no desire to dictate how they think, whether in religion or in any other sphere.

On the other hand, the top down thinker often sees faith, or tradition, or orthodoxy as the only correct way to think about an issue. Thus he wants to force his own dogmas on to others. This applies not only in religion, but in politics too. So, many top down thinkers seek to impose their own political beliefs on others’ thinking.

5. Freedom of speech and political correctness

The bottom up thinker wants everyone to have freedom of speech. Even if he disagrees with or even abhors what individuals say, he will usually allow them the benefit of the doubt. He will only object if the speech is maliciously hurtful, or untruthful, or if it descends into actual libel.

In contrast, the top down thinker wants to impose political correctness on others’ speech as well as on their thinking. Cleverly, this enables him to frame any debates so the other side find it hard to put their position. Furthermore, he likes to bombard others with politically correct sound bites, that help his side of any debate. This, I think, is why we hear so much rubbish about things like “democracy day” or “international womens’ day.”

But the bottom up thinker, in time, comes to see through this. He sees political correctness for what it is; an assault on freedom of speech. And he rejects all the politically correct sound bites as the propaganda they are.

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