Most of us like to think that we are freethinkers, but how many of us truly are?
How many people actually think for themselves, without falling victims to beliefs or ideologies? How many are not heavily influenced by the biased information that the media is presenting them with? How many are choosing to have certain opinions just because an authority figure told them to or because tradition holds them to be true?
The reality is that most people don’t know how to think critically, and blindly accept the beliefs that were handed to them by society. But unless one learns to think for oneself, how can one grow into a more conscious, wise person? It’s impossible.
“So how can I learn to think for myself?” I can hear you asking.
Well, here’s a small yet concise practical guide on how to become a freethinker that will help you to break free from the prison of belief and arrive at your own conclusions in your quest for truth.
How to Become a Freethinker
Doubt your beliefs. The first and most important step to become a freethinking individual is to doubt the beliefs that have been forced upon you by others. Whatever your beliefs are — whether religious, political, philosophical and so on — be sure to question them, scrutinize them, and discard any of them when you find no solid evidence supporting them.
Question authority. Most people choose to obey and follow what authority tells them is true and right. They don’t think for themselves — they let others do the thinking for them instead. A freethinker never accepts anything on authority. He/she asks questions and is open to accept any answers that point to the truth, even if they go against the opinions and beliefs of authority.
Observe your behavior. Although we tend to think that we have free will, most of our actions are actually carried out on an unconscious level. In a sense, we are victims to our habits. To become a freethinker, you need to become more aware of your thoughts, actions, and overall behavior. Once you do so, you’ll be able to better understand yourself and make more conscious choices in life, without behaving in certain ways just because you feel compelled to.
Stop conforming. Another important step to become a freethinker is to detach yourself from group thinking. People choose to conform in all sorts of ways just in order to feel accepted and liked by others. To achieve that, many people unquestionably accept what others tell them out of the fear of being left out. By escaping the herd mentality you’ll be able to think more clearly, without feeling the pressure to comply with others.
Use critical thinking. Learning how to use critical thinking is of utmost importance to freethinking. If you can’t analyze and critically assess the information that you come across, you’ll be an easy target for manipulation and thought control. Critical thinking will assist you in your search to discover the truth, by helping you to avoid being influenced by biased opinions and false information.
Voice your mind. A freethinker is a rebel. It’s a person who is not afraid to speak his/her mind, no matter how opposing his/her ideas are to the establishment. Whatever you consider as true, right and of importance to be communicated to others, do openly talk about it, even if you are the only person who has the guts to do so.
Research. A freethinker cares about truth like nothing else. In the journey to finding truth, there are guides that can help one approach it easier and quicker. If you’re searching for truth, it would be beneficial if you gathered knowledge from as many sources as you can, whether that is books, documentaries, podcasts, and so on. Do whatever helps to expand your consciousness.
Keep an open mind. Last but not least, a freethinker is a person with an open mind. That means, a person who is open to learning new things and ready to change his mind when presented with evidence that contradicts his opinions and beliefs. A freethinker doesn’t accept anything blindly but at the same time doesn’t shrink from considering emerging perspectives and ideas that may challenge his/her worldview.