Posted on 18 June 2020
An inherent characteristic of a freethinker is the practice of reflecting on thinking freely.
“A believer is a bird in a cage, a freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wing.”
Robert Green Ingersoll
Here are seven areas of thinking freely for you to reflect on:
1. Skepticism of Authority and Asking Questions
Freethinking is very closely related to the questioning philosophy of Scepticism. As a reflecting freethinker you’re a skeptical person who doesn’t follow any specific dogma, ideology or creed. You’re naturally skeptical of those who hold power.
Being a freethinker you know that more power or knowledge does not mean you have a superior belief system. As a freethinker you often question your own belief system.
You’re interested in the answers themselves. Freethinkers use their imaginations, as well as critical thinking skills to understand and learn about various topics.
You don’t accept someone else’s opinion without giving it thought and doing your own research. Ask yourself questions and do the research. Freethinkers have no boundaries. Rarely, there are questions that are off-limits.
Remember, assumptions are pillars to be torn down.
2. Knowledge is Provisional
Conservative, authoritarian, religious or institutional structures resist change forcefully because their worldview rests on the premise that their knowledge or beliefs are absolute.
Even Science can and does fall in this trap at times. Yet as a reflecting freethinker you’re sure of only one thing – that knowledge is provisional.
What we think we know today will be debunked or dramatically changed by what we know tomorrow. The radical thinking of today is often the common sense of tomorrow.
3. An Open Mind Learns for Life
As a reflecting freethinker you have an open mind that always seeks to learn. This means you a person who is open to learning new things and ready to change your mind when presented with evidence that contradicts your opinions and beliefs.
You’re always looking for both opportunities to improve and new things to learn. Not just about yourself, but also the world you. Instead of succumbing to the fear of looking stupid, you just ask the questions on your mind. This is because you would rather learn something new than appear cleverer than you are.
In the Internet age we, as a society, are information rich and knowledge poor. Just typing a question into a search engine and finding an answer isn’t enough. As a freethinker you gain knowledge from a variety, of sometimes competing, sources that you can cross-reference and verify.
You read as much as you can and with variety. Books are recommended to you and you recommend books back. For you, lending a book to someone is a pleasure in itself.
4. Perception is to be altered not accepted
Being a reflective freethinker you don’t accept anything blindly but at the same time you don’t shrink from considering emerging perspectives and ideas that may challenge your worldview.
Freethinkers come from all walks of life, yet they all have one thing in common: where others see impenetrable barriers, freethinkers see challenges to embrace and obstacles to overcome.
You don’t see obstacles as blocking your path, rather they are challenges to be overcome. This perspective helps them to think differently to everyone else, which is important because if you think like everyone else, no matter how smart or experienced you are, you’ll hit the same ceiling.
5. Friends with Whom You Disagree
Reflecting freethinkers understand that friends who agree with them on everything add no value to their growth. They also feel conformable disagreeing with others.
The truth is there’s nothing wrong with having and sharing your own opinions. Find friends that you can discuss your thoughts with and not feel judged or belittled. If you have one group of two or three friends, you can keep it and concentrate on meeting new people and building other social circles.
6. Going Against the Grain
One of the greatest hurdles in freethinking is the intrinsic latent human desire for public approval and conformity. It is always there, whispering in your ears that you need more people to agree with you and if that is not the case, you are somehow wrong.
It requires a very conscious effort to do away with that since we inherit a bunch of those genes from our ancestors that helped them survive in the wild because of their conformity in the human tribe.
By thinking freely and going against the grain, you can rise above your limitations.
7. Take A Mental Break Each Day
If you don’t permit yourself time to make connections with all the thoughts, conversations, and ideas you have throughout the day, you may experience a creativity drought prohibiting you from creating new solutions or ideas in work and life.
Take a mental break each day and reflect.