According to The Foundation for Critical Thinking, a tenet of critical thinking is the “self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way.” In other words, it’s a means of giving yourself a chance to lead yourself first. Sensus Plenior translates in Latin to a ‘fuller sense’, or ‘fuller meaning’. According to Oliver Demille, the man whom inspired me to flesh this out, everyone has genius in them. What good can you aim to find in others, in Sensus Plenior? Here’s a breakdown.
A power question that I believe can allow anyone to apply Sensus Plenior is the following: “What can I aim to learn from this?” A creativity exercise might look like holding a book in your hand and asking that question before reading it. Another exercise is to hold the same book in your hand, after you’ve read it, to observe what comes to mind.
Unlike some approaches, that question in particular is good for anything we can observe as the result of our experience. An example of this is the observation that religion is a microcosm of the idea behind Sensus Plenior, as observed on the breakdown listed earlier. Another observation independent of Oliver can be seen in Mastin Kipp’s self-guided pursuit (4 minutes), which mentions several a-ha moments that contribute to Mastin’s work. They may be useful for those of you in creative endeavors. But don’t jump down that hole unless you want to risk having some suspense in Star Wars ruined.
At any rate, the endeavor of critical thinking is always started and continued by yourself for yourself. Nobody can hold your hand through the process, even if someone really wanted to. Like Neo, no one can walk through the door for you. Through autosuggestion, some are willing to influence behavior without one another’s best interests at heart. A natural consequence of this, and a very clear effect, can be seen here.
Begin or continue your journey of critical thinking with the Foundation for Critical Thinking.
Per Oliver’s advice, consider the following. Write a short list of 3-5 or more questions on what you’d like to learn before reading a book.
Seth Godin’s debunked how writers’ block is a myth. Are you inclined to demonstrate this, sensus plenior?