The Ghost Of Marco Polo Haunting The Fictional Realm

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 The Ghost Of Marco Polo Haunting The Fictional Realm

The Ghost Of Marco Polo Haunting The Fictional Realm

In 2016, Ancient Origins published an article entitled Is Marco Polo a Fictional Character? and it led to hate-mail and overall outrage among some readers.  It was blown so out-of-proportion that the author decided to give $2,000 to the first person who could provide historical evidence of Polo’s existence.  Of course, no such evidence exists, so the proverbial threats ceased, but such an adverse reaction causes one to wonder:  why would anyone be so attached to this fictional character whom they believed to be a historical figure, and why would anyone suggest that he was, in fact, a real person, when there is no evidence whatsoever to support such a viewpoint?

Kublai Khan gives financial support to the Polo family, and accepts gifts of the Venetians by Master of Busico (1412). (Public Domain)

A Challenge to Think Critically

This leads to aspects of critical thinking, which is highly praised in educational doctrines but rarely taught or respected in classrooms.  Educational leaders often claim that critical thinking is targeted in schools, but students are not taught how to apply it, nor do some of them grasp exactly what it is.  Some teachers do not know what it actually is, and they do not want to teach it or engage in its classroom practice.  This is because their beliefs and practices determine, to an extent, who they are as individuals, and if such beliefs are questioned, their very existence is threatened.  That is why critical thinking is often not praised in person, though it is a frequent expression in school mission statements and student planners.

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