Waking up is taking back the reigns of your mind.
“When you control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his “proper place” and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.” Dr. Carter G. Woodson (The Mis-Education of the Negro).
Education should teach us how to think. Instead, it teaches us what to think, and sometimes (arguably) how to not think. I have been involved with youth of many different walks of life for a number of years now. In my involvement, I have noticed a drastic difference in the thinking abilities of the upcoming generation. Having been a substitute teacher, I have even witnessed the simplicity in today’s curriculum and the low expectations of teaching objectives (teaching tests). From what I have observed and experienced, I think I can safely generalize that secondary education has failed to give our students the tools they need to be independent critical thinkers, and thus, productive and contributing citizens to today’s world.
I don’t think it necessary to provide evidence to support the increased number of uncritical and dependent thinkers in society. The proof is in the situation we find ourselves in as a people. We must be thinking something wrong to be in a deeper hole today than we were in 200 years ago! We must not be in our right minds if we are constantly falling prey to the same divide and conquer tactics that have been our downfall in the not-to-far distant. Someone else must be controlling our thinking, as Woodson suggested, if we are experiencing little progress on social, political, economical, medical, and educational fronts. If we controlled our own thinking- or thought for ourselves, we would not have remained connected to so many systems that have proven (by time) to be unfit for us!
This is largely accomplished by exposing one’s self to information and perspectives different from what is generally accepted. We must learn that there are more than two sides to every story. There are as many sides as there are stories! As critical thinkers, we will gather information from each story, discern truth from each story, and finally compose a lesson/ truth that applies to our situation from the truths discerned. When we rely on another man or woman’s interpretation and happily accept the information that is spoon-fed to us, we are asking to not only remain in the coma-like state we’re in- we’re asking to remain in the inferior positions that have been created for those people who are easily fooled and manipulated into staying below the level to where God called them.
The bottom line: The first step to waking up is acquiring the ability to think for one’s self.