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Critical Thinking

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Essay title: Critical Thinking

Manipulation is a form of influencing. What makes it different from others is that it uses dishonest means. The most common of those means are biased reporting, dishonest appeals to emotion, stacking the deck, suppressing dissent, and repetition.

Biased reporting is when a book, magazine, newspaper, etc. try to make you feel a certain way about something or influence your reaction on the topic. For example I was reading a newspaper last Sunday; the very first line read "A plan of action that will sure create disagreement." This article was trying to attempt to change my reaction to the news instead of just reporting it. A way I can resist this is to understand that there are a lot of misinformation and lies that can be spread and not to "believe everything I read" so that I can just get the news instead of reacting.

A dishonest appeal to emotion is when people use emotional issues to touch the audience so that they will side with them. Emotional language is great it's used to reinforce important issues, but a lot of people use it to manipulate. For example I was in class where people were giving speeches to try and persuade the audience to side with them. One student used emotional language in his speech but was very dishonest using it. The way I figured that out and made sure I wasn't manipulated was that I asked questions to deter them of emotions and realize they are being dishonest.

Stacking the deck is when a person tries to cheat people when there is an opposing view. For example also during a class debate, I was debating one of my classmates on the death penalty. My teacher who should have been neutral on the issue ended up siding with my classmate and would throw in information for that side making it a two-on-one debate. But luckily for me I came prepared and that's always what you need to do to overcome this kind of manipulation. I knew way more on my side of the issue then they thought and I beat them even if it was an "unfair battle." Knowing what you will talk about before hand and being prepared will resist this kind of manipulation.

Suppressing dissent is when there is no impression of an opposing view. For example, in high school I volunteered to help with the schools newspaper. I would put together collages of people and things going on in school, they were always published in the magazine. Although one week when I submitted my piece to the teacher he looked at it said it was good but never published it. I was never aware that he didn't like my work or that it wasn't what he was looking for. Instead of him just telling me when I handed it in I had to find out when it wasn't published. I did nothing about it and felt very manipulated but something that I could have done about this would have been to ask him questions, like what was wrong with my work, and maybe next time you should let me know before it was published.

Repetition is when you repeat a familiar idea so that people will believe it. People may do this technique of manipulation on accident, they may think what they are saying and continue to repeat it but there facts are wrong, and they tend to give out wrong information. For example I would always talk to my mom about specific things, like informing her on topics. Except one time I kept telling her one fact over and over again so that she would know it just like I did. But in fact I was wrong about this information and gave the wrong info to my mom thinking I was right. Something I could have done to prevent accidentally manipulating my mom was to check my sources before informing her on something I apparently didn't know about.

People are not born with individuality but the potential to develop it. There are many ways to develop your individuality. For example: be wary of first impressions, be honest to yourself, fight confusion, produce many ideas, acknowledge complexity, look for connections among subjects, consider other viewpoints, and base your judgment on evidence.

Be wary of first impressions, this is when you meet someone for the first time and the impression you get from that person, like the example in the book of meeting someone you have met before but you called them something totally different from what there real name is. This is not a lack of intelligence but just having a bad habit of relying on first impressions. This same exact example happened to me at a party, I felt humiliated that I have been calling this person the wrong name this whole time. I kind of ignored him after that because I felt horrible. What I should have done was remain open and not have ignored him and try to notice if he remembered my mistake and see is he accepts me.

Be honest with yourself, this is a lot easier then it sounds. It means facing a number of unpleasant truths. For example "much of what we blame on others is really our own fault."

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