Think and Grow Wise
President Prof. Cheng-Hua, Edward, Yang
The 21st century is the era of dramatic change. Besides market competition and the progress of technology, politics, the economy, social operation and lifestyle of the world in 2020, it is being paralyzed by Covid-19. Its effect on people and their thoughts about a post-epidemic era continue. Future career developments will encounter threats from new technology and tools. Moreover, people must learn to respect the natural rules of the earth and co-exist with the ecological environment. The future is full of uncertainty. In the post-epidemic world, the key is not just to use past knowledge, but to critically observe the current events.
Spending time at University is an important phase of one’s life. Regardless of one’s department, one should make an effort to acquire competence in defining problems and in problem-solving, which is based on high-level thinking and that relies on systematic learning and training. Thinking facilitates knowledge deconstruction, and its application depends upon its span and depth. With regard to tasks that have no previous examples, you can define unfamiliar problems by using logic and analyses, you can recognize the essence of a problem, diagnose it and find the solution.
What is thinking (Si Kao)? “Si” means speculation and “Kao” means investigation. The thinker of the Northern Song Dynasty, Cheng Yi, said that “learning shall be based on thinking. Thinking leads to acquisition”. He argued that studying relies on thinking and that, without thinking, learning cannot be accomplished. Although we can obtain knowledge by studying, thinking is the only measure of selection. According to Hong Fan, “The virtue of thinking is called perspicacity, and perspicacity makes one a Sage”. Constant thinking leads to wisdom and thus we can observe and master things. When observing and evaluating the same thing, we should learn to think independently and question the problems. We should not be limited by the answers that are given in textbooks. I suggest that you should constantly keep up the habit of logical argumentation and critical thinking. “Learning” and “thinking” should be properly integrated.
The most significant obstacle of the social process is that people only wait for the model answers provided by others, instead of looking for the solution themselves. While studying at university, it is ineffective that students only rely on model answers and blindly follow other peoples’ opinions. It seems that “model answers” cannot tolerate the questions without giving the “correct answers”. This not only restricts the students’ cognition, but it also limits independent thinking and the ability to ask questions about the problems. In reality, model answers do not exist. In addition, when “simplified logic” becomes a collective phenomenon, it will inevitably result in “giant babies”, who are irrational and irresponsible. It hinders social progress. People in the world tend to criticize things instead of “thinking critically”. We should explore the problems, break through the situations, probe into the underlying issues, control the causes and consequences of the problems, recognize the key factors, collect and analyze the figures properly, propose hypotheses, integrate thoughts, develop feasible plans, examine the potential conflicts among the plans and, finally, be led to find the solutions.
Besides the systematic learning of professional courses, common subjects and general courses, I expect that you can cultivate leadership and interpersonal relationship skills in the future, by engaging in peer interaction in class, in the departments, colleges and clubs, by being devoted to multi-dimensional growth and diverse development, by cultivating a business logic and decision-making for a future job in the workplace, in order to become a competent employee in industry.