- Published on Thursday, 23 June 2016 09:36
Critical Thinking started with an evolutionary purpose: to try to understand the world and identify levers for change. There was no defined plan beyond creating a open forum for people to gather to explore the political economy and collaborate to collect and share research and analysis. Our non-hierarchical, co-creative practise evolved and is embedded in what we do. While the website was discussed in the early days of 2012 and various ideas for the "look" were considered, the need for a website resulted in a quick and dirty "solution" in the form of the original logo and banner. We've been planning to revisit these for some months and the images used in the presentation this February, created by Eddie after discussion of the various aspects of our research, form the inspiration for our new look.
What we hope to convey, through the website and other means of communication, is the sense that Critical Thinking is a work in progress and that anyone can participate. We want to get away from the notion that education is a hierarchical process, ie. with "professors" and "students". We're all both and arguably, "experts" have more to learn (or unlearn) than polymaths; we all need to expand our field of vision to make sense of the world.
Our open, collaborative practise has brought us a long way in our understanding and we've identified primary levers for change: sharing the value of the commons and prohibition of interest. We've also identified hierarchy as the primary factor which determines the shape of the political economy but its origins and dissolution, ie. how non-hierarchy could/would work in practice, are our current preoccupations. We've arrived at the inescapable conclusion that wider co-creative, participation is essential to get to the roots of hierarchy and develop ideas for its dissolution, to build alternative, self-managing, non-hierarchical, organising structures to replace the existing corrupt and corrupting hierarchical institutions.
We also recognise that our primary objective is to encourage critical thinking as a process and not "market" Critical Thinking (us) as the best or only way forward. We need to promote the idea of an ecosystem of critical thinking in which all people and groups, thinking about or campaigning for change, put impartial critical thinking at the centre of their activities and process. Critical thinking is not the preserve of "academics" or specialists but is for all of us to apply in our daily lives. Furthermore, it is not difficult but it requires adhering to simple principles, probably best expressed in Bertrand Russell's Liberal Decalogue.
So while we welcome anyone to our weekly discussions in London, new subscribers to Daily Pickings, visitors to the website and Twitter followers, we're much more interested in the information and ideas being explored than where this takes place. The website and all our other activities are dual purpose: to learn and share what we learn. We claim no ownership or proprietary rights to any of the material either originated or reproduced here - these are free for all.
The Free University is a concept rather than an entity and is open to every human being on the planet. However disadvantaged or enslaved to the system we are, we can all think and as long as we can and do, radical change for a free and just political economy is possible.