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Critical Thinking is Still Valued

Critical thinking is the foster child of the American Dream. I say this because most of the critical thinkers who came our way during the latter 20th Century were considered pariahs or mavericks. Maybe they were just Aspies like us?

The establishment ridiculed Bill Gates when he started to envision a personal computer on everyone's desktop back in the early 80's. I recall one CEO of a mainframe computer company laughing Gates out of his office when this idea was presented. The aspersion went something like this: "Who in the world would want to have a computer on his desk at home and what in the world would he do with it?' Gates was not the only Critical Thinker to be ridiculed this way.

By the late 70s, technology had evolved to the point that hobbyists and electronics buffs (undiagnosed Aspies?) could purchase unassembled PCs or “microcomputers” and program them for fun. Still that CEO was correct. The early PCs may have clicked with hobbyists, but they served no useful purpose for the average American. They could do mathematical calculations and play simple games, but those tasks would not pay the rent nor could a talented programmer make enough money to purchase one.

If those early pioneers of the Personal Computer evolution had listened to the Business Establishment, Americans would likely be purchasing their personal computers, software, and useful applications from China or Japan. Thanks to the outside-the-box thinking of Gates, Jobs, and a host of game-ware developers, hundreds of American-spawned companies sell personal computers, accessories and sophisticated software and games. It is nearly impossible to imagine modern life without them. And that could have been said even before the Internet came along.

Nowadays however, we seem to have grown a new crop of stay-in-the-box thinkers. Not only is critical thinking being devalued. Most of our youthful thinkers seem content to outsource it. Ask a Millennial to provide answers to intriguing economic or social questions these days and the common response is to refer to Siri or manually text the question to Google. Whatever answer comes back is taken at face value without fact checking or respectfully disputing the answer. The very thought of marching to a different drummer is met with fear and consternation.

Could this be the reason we Aspies are being pushed out of the mainstream by an army of Label planters; NTs intent on placing us in a box of their own design?


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