Abraham Lincoln tells somewhere that as a boy when he met an obscure or ambiguous sentence in his reading it threw him into a sort of rage. The fact is that this was simply a form of instinct for clear thinking which is found in every child and manifests itself abundantly to the perception of the good teacher. Far more important than any particular piece of knowledge, than geography or arithmetic or spelling, is this love of clearness in our mental life and instinctive hatred of confusion and obscurity. Let us learn to know what we know clearly and definitely, and also how we know it. The great intellectual need of men and women in the outer world is not so much more knowledge as it is better knowledge and better thinking. There is much philosophy in the humorist's remark, "It was never my ignorance that done me up, but the things I know'd that wasn't so." The great enemies of intellectual life are superstition, gullibility, and fallacious reasoning. A mere knowledge of facts, important as that is, is no safeguard against these. A conscious desire and resolve to think clearly is the true remedy. Our national success will depend largely upon the development of a generation of men and women who have formed a love and habit of clear thinking and who can do their part in solving the problems that confront civilized man today.
Source: The Essentials of Character, The Macmillan Company, 1915
Contributed by: Zaady