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The Art of Rational Thinking

K Barua attempts here to motivate the thought processes of today’s youth and bring about an involvement of youth and the Administration for the socio-economic upliftment of the region

The world is changing and changing fast. The emphasis here is not towards economic advancement, industrialization or the trek towards a digital world but on simple practical thinking. In the exemplifications to follow an attempt is being made to show modern youth an aspect of this unique and resolute thought process.

The subjects of Space Exploration and the apprehension of Life existing in outer space have captured the imagination of young and old since times immemorial. Let us analyze these two aspects in a rational manner.

What is the necessity of Space Exploration and the vast amounts of money put into space projects? According to Casey Dreier, Director of Advocacy of the U.S. Planetary Society the U.S. House of Representatives passed an increase to NASA’s budget which included 1.45 billion dollars for planetary science alone. (The Planetary Society is the largest and most influential public space organization group on Earth.)
Is such high funding for space exploration warranted?

If we were to put this question to today’s youth we would get answers as follows:
We need to find alternatives in space or other planets and moons an answer to the dwindling energy reserves on Earth. We need to find alternative worlds to live in.
An understanding of space will help us to save planet earth from over-exploitation.

In order to explain this we have to consider the consequences of our answers. Suppose we do find a planet with water, for example we could think of bringing the water to Earth. If we find a moon with plenty of ore we could bring these valuable elements to Earth. For the purpose of “economic benefit” shall we say? However don’t you think that by carrying out such an activity we will destroy the environment on those planets and moons as well? Do we want the universe to go the way as we have exploited our own home planet? Rational thought would suggest that it is indeed far wiser to harness the abundant energy in space and use the same on Earth. Many would think that this is preposterous and impossible. However, suppose we could convert those energies available in outer space into radio waves and beam back to earth? Plausible, isn’t it? The History of Power Transmission by Radio Waves by William C. Brown appeared in IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques in 1994 provides some of the answers. That is rational thinking.

A modern exponent of this art of rational thinking is Edward De Bono who says that “Lateral Thinking is for changing concepts and perceptions and that Lateral Thinking is a skill that can be learned.”

Life in outer space – an even more awe-inspiring topic for discussion. Most of the people or scientists would say that life isn’t possible without air and water. This is not rational thinking. One would have to evolve beyond the earthian (of the earth) realities and think practically. Is there a need for air and water for an alien extraterrestrial life? Just think about it. A life form which has evolved from methane and nitrogen may not be dependent on air and water, what do you think?

Secondly, extraterrestrial life need not be a replica of earthian life forms. They need not have eyes, ears, arms and legs and even it is not a requisite that an alien life form must have any physical or chemical properties like those on earth. Alien life form may be shapeless, virtual and even be a rock on the surface of a planet, or a gaseous bubble of concentrated energy. Have we looked for or searched for, such local environment-basic life forms? And if as most believe that extraterrestrial life may be far more advanced than us what about communicable energy waves? What is an alien life form hurled what we call a meteor or a comet into space? Are we capable to decipher it?

Hard to believe isn’t it? But the article on the MailOnline dated 12.03.2013, claims that “algae-like structures were found inside fragments of a meteorite which struck Sri Lanka last year proving that life exists elsewhere in the Universe, a new study claims. A paper by an international team of scientists, their second on the subject, makes the extraordinary claim that electron microscope images of the rocks have revealed tiny fossilized life forms from outer space. The authors are convinced that their findings offer firm evidence of panspermia, the hypothesis that life exists throughout the Universe and is spread by meteoroids, asteroids and planetoids.”

And what of plants that are stationary life forms? Well, an alien plant might as well be a piece of living-rock. Like a coral in a sea of nitrogen. These are food for thought. This type of thinking is what we could term as a balanced flow of rational cohesive thought process.
According to Greg R. Haskins, (A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO CRITICAL THINKING) it is a process by which we use our knowledge and intelligence to effectively arrive at the most reasonable and justifiable positions on issues, and which endeavors to identify and overcome the numerous hindrances to rational thinking.

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