If you are reading this, as opposed to merely perceiving refracted light, then what you see conveys meaning. This is an astonishing fact, since what you see looks almost nothing like what it represents.
Communication presupposes and produces understanding. Interpersonal understanding requires the ability to perceive other meaning-making beings and to make sense of what is encountered. Critical thinking is careful thinking; it is thinking about what we are thinking. Careful thinking is a check on the understanding we hope to communicate.
Approximately 9% of all homo sapiens who have ever lived are alive today. Many of us are consciously using careful thinking skills to attempt to engender increased cooperation with the realizable goal of making life incrementally better for all. The success of the scientific enterprise, as well as social activism, testify to this possibility. The number of those joining the conversation must steadily increase, for we confront obstacles that otherwise threaten our continuation.
Critical thinking, or careful thinking, is then no trivial matter, and if you are reading this, you possess the capacity. The key is recognizing and then consciously using the intellectual tools you already possess. (They always benefit from sharpening.) I hope, then, that you will recognize and use yourself in tandem with other minded beings.
SO MANY QUESTIONS
What is the point of thinking carefully?
Is thinking carefully always beneficial?
What is a mind?
What is the difference between a resembling representation, and a non-resembling representation?
How is fallacious reasoning recognized, and is it always a negative thing?
What is a fact?
Are values, facts?
Must my reasoning always be "absolute" if I am reasoning well?
Who has authority, or expertise, and why is it so highly regarded anyway?
What is knowledge, and when are we justified in claiming to possess it?