“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking…” – Leo Tolstoy
We are thinkers, and we must treasure our ability to think. Right thinking, in its purest essence, is an exercise in humility. It requires that we step gracefully into the present with not just an open mind, but an untroubled heart.
This blog is designed to provide you with inspiration for free thought. My hope is that it challenges as much as it confirms, while gently yet persistently reminding you of the need to calibrate your inner orientation to true north.
When I first started taking flying lessons in the late 1980s, the airplane I flew had what is referred to as a “six pack” of “steam gauges.” You’ve probably seen them – those round dials positioned in two rows of three – that gave pre-glass panel pilots the information required to fly safely and within the airplanes operating limits. One of the instruments, the heading indicator, had to be manually calibrated to the wet or “whiskey” compass, which by design aligns itself to the earth’s magnetic poles.
With today’s modern glass panels (and in earlier “slaved” gyro installations), the process is automated. This leaves one less thing that a pilot may forget to set or recalibrate in flight, but some argue that such automation dulls piloting skills over time. Some take the argument even further, citing accident data and other indications of a growing problem, by saying that while pilot fatigue decreases significantly by virtue of recent innovations (like computerized flight instruments and sophisticated autopilots), so too does pilot thinking. Pilots these days, they say, are less connected to the airplane and less engaged in the process.
It seems the same process works out with respect to thinking in general. The more something is taught a certain way – regardless of its veracity – the less people question it over time. Ideas gain momentum over time and as a result, incorrect ideas can be hard to displace. This is especially true when there are large organizations like churches or branches of science which are heavily invested in a particular line of thought.
The world we live in is fraught with half-truths, appealing deceptions and all kinds of doctrines that look good on the surface, but are rotten at the core. Our greatest need, therefore, is for freethinkers – men and women who can see and cut through the jumbled mess human beings have created for themselves over the ages.