Saturday, August 13, 2005

Freedom OF Thought, or Freedom FROM Thought?

A comment on a previous entry led me to think a bit about how we let what we read, hear, and see affect our opinions and thoughts. Freedom of thought (not freedom from it) is vitally important to our survival in the future as people who love Life, Liberty & Property. As the old saying goes, those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and there are many things going on in the world today that bear some careful thought and consideration.

In our day to day world, there are many occasions when we make judgement calls about things in which we have valid, useful, first-hand information. These are situations where we can be relatively certain that our judgement is accurate. We’ve looked at all the angles, and using the knowledge we’ve gained, we’ve determined the correct way to proceed.

How many times, though, do we see, hear, or read about situations in which we make a snap judgement based only on what we’ve watched on TV, heard on the radio, or read in the newspapers or online? Have you ever changed your mind after that snap judgement? Do you ever go seeking to find out if what you saw/heard/read was accurate? You see, it a world filled with so much media, we must really be sure that we’re exercising our freedom OF thought - not our freedom FROM thought. Freedom of thought allows us to step back and say, “Wow, that really sounds interesting - I wonder if it’s accurate?” Freedom from thought says “well, it must be so or they couldn’t produce/publish it.”

Freedom of thought will lead us to search every avenue available on a subject of interest rather than jumping on the nearest bandwagon. And, if you exercise your freedom of thought, you might just come to some really interesting conclusions - conclusions that may turn your original thoughts or established beliefs completely upside down. This kind of thinking, be forewarned, is not popular - and may cause you a great deal of grief, because bucking the establishment in any form will cause you to be ridiculed or held up as an imbecile to others. Yet it can be richly rewarding to self - if you can get past the need for accolades from others - to know, within your own heart and mind, that you’re not just blindly following the crowd.

My dad, whom I mentioned in a previous post, is a Minister. He always taught us at home, and his church flocks as well, that they should never take his word for anything - but should always study their bibles to be sure that “these things are so”. Dad taught us well - by example - that we should never pass anything along to others without doing our homework to try to insure that we were not passing along gossip or garbage. Incidentally, LOL, friends can tell you that I have never passed along chain emails and spam - and that more than one of them has received a link back to Snopes!

Recently, dad and I were talking about the word “Knowledge”. Dad laid it out to me in a way that I’d never thought about. Breaking the word into its separate syllables, it becomes “Know Ledge”. When we think about acquiring knowledge, we think of it as a climb up a ladder. When we’ve learned something concrete, we’ve reached a “know ledge”. We can stand on it. It’s firm. It’s a ledge on which we can place our trust, and from it we can rest and “chew the fat” about what we’ve learned until we’re ready to climb to the next level of “know ledge”.

Now, getting back to the ideas of freedom of thought and freedom from thought, whenever we gain knowledge from our research, we must sometimes use all our senses to discern truth. As the saying goes “the truth is out there”. While there are things that we can’t ever know for certain, if we at least take the time to search, using the knowledge that we can stand on (be it understanding of human nature, concrete science, or first hand information) we can at least be sure of using our freedom of thought to do the best humanly possible to grasp the realities of any situation. And wouldn’t that be better, always, than letting our brains atrophy in the mire of freedom FROM thought?

5 Comments:

At 8/14/2005 1:27 AM, Blogger Obi-Wan said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, LBF! Always glad to meet an individual who is both rational and libertarian!

 
At 8/14/2005 1:09 PM, Blogger Robert said...

…and welcome to the LLP!

I’m from the southeast as well (Atlanta), in addition to being a single dad of three sharp kids (9, 10, 13).

So tell me, how’s the home-schooling working out for you? I ask because just after my divorce two years ago, I was able to teach my eldest (6th grade), as I work from home. But sadly, with all of the responsibilities attendant to my ‘position’ in the household, I decided that my son would fare better in a more conventional school, with me providing supplementary instruction at home.

Well, enough about me…judging by your thoughts, I’d say that your kid(s) are lucky to have you.

 
At 8/14/2005 1:48 PM, Blogger LBF (Left-Brain Female) said...

Thank you, Robert! I can't imagine trying to homeschool as a single parent, but I'm sure that with your supplementary instruction, your kiddos will do fine! I do know that homeschooling isn't for everyone for a myriad of reasons, but for us, I can't imagine anything else.

We've schooled our daughters (almost 9 and 11) from the get-go and while it has its moments of frustration, all in all, it's very rewarding. Particularly after we have a positive and uplifting evaluation at the end of the school year, LOL! Right now, and for the foreseeable future, we're using the "Robinson Curriculum". It was actually developed by a single dad, Art Robinson, who schooled his 6 children at home. I'm just really striving to give them a great foundation in math, reading and writing so that they're quickly getting to the point that they're self teaching.

 
At 8/14/2005 3:28 PM, Blogger Robert said...

That sounds great LBF!

 
At 8/15/2005 3:16 PM, Blogger Stephen Littau said...

Great post LGF. I would also like to welcome you to LLP and thank you for plugging my site. I think you will make a great addition to group. Eric should have the next carnival schedule up soon if you are interested in hosting. It is a lot of work but it is also a lot of fun and I can't believe how much the traffic to my site has increased!

Now onto the comments of this post...

I do the same thing whenever someone sends me an email about some little known 'facts'. Snopes is a good site; I also look at truthorfiction.com and for my political fact checking, I look at factcheck.org . I have found factcheck.org to be fair to both the Left and the Right. Is it perfectly unbiased? Probably not. As with most things, the truth can be a judgement call. Most things are not black and white; life would be so much eaisier if they were.

 

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