Right Thinking

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.

7 thoughts on “Right Thinking

  • I think that’s the clincher, where the investment is of the kind that looks to assure personal gain, as opposed to one that aims for the welfare of the whole. All kinds of mental shortcuts are made when thinking is less than free; unsupporting evidence is glossed over and an authoritarian bias begins to take hold. Then what you have left over is a regime.

    I see this happen over and over in the healthcare industry I work in, where in oberving the field of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, there exists on one end of the spectrum a type of skepticism that would make even a normal skeptic scratch their head. Instead of embracing a challenge to push the borders of our understanding, there often is vehemence and spite, along with the arrogance that comes when you think you know it all.

    Thank goodness there is the spirit of free thinking still going on. I feel it to be the natural state, the default if you will, of all of us. But riddled with fear and superstition, fed a diet of convention and dogma, and as you point out most importantly – when you add to that a heart that is troubled – the mind becomes but a slave to any ideology, regardless of its content.

    This blog is a breath of fresh air and I enjoy reading it daily. Most people are good folks at heart, and provided some basic foundations of how our bodies, our minds and our hearts work, I think we’d have a heck of a lot more kindness, generosity and free thinking going around, the kind that could really change things for the better.

  • There is nothing more refreshing than thinking with a free thinker – the possibilities are exciting and endless as the typical walls, ruts and restrictions are able to be transcended. You mentioned an untroubled heart, which is certainly the key to an unfettered mind. Peace of heart and mind begets genius, no matter how simple or complex it may be.

  • I love to travel to new places. I find the experience of a new culture and even the landscape to be exhilarating to my senses and especially to my thought process. As I’m not a travel writer or the like, I don’t have the necessity or luxury to be continually on the road to create this atmosphere of abandon for expansive thought. I’ve realized that what I read and who I meet could provide the same catalyst. That’s why the classics, the Bible, ancient literature, an art museum, poetry, a foreign film, or just the next person you meet, can become a window into a different culture. I find your daily posts offer me new subjects, a different view on a subject or introduce me to authors or experiences that are like discovering a new country! Thank you!! Living on automatic pilot is such a waste of our lives. Frankly I think many people bore themselves to death.

  • My first fifteen years in the workforce consisted of working in a bank, which I have since learned was pretty typical of ‘corporate America’ in many ways, especially in the discouragement for their employees to think for themselves. And what a shame for they lost out on many opportunities to become better, dare I say to become great. When I left the bank I went into sales, where the exact opposite takes place; learning to think is one of the requirements for one to become a truly fine salesperson. I guess in hindsight that is one of the main reasons that I so enjoy and admire both the profession and individual salespeople who have learned to think. And it is this thinking that allows them to continually expand and improve who they are,, therefore becoming more valuable in the process.

  • The most common thought processes are based in just a few highly questionable premises – concepts of life’s operation that are fundamentally flawed. As long as these baseline assumptions remain unchallenged, the attempt to think freely is doomed to failure, and it seems that the skeptics have won!

    Freedom of thought is based in a foundation of fundamental truth, not just something recognized in theory, but something that is proven in experience. Realizing this provides a certain humility and reserve, a desire to prove the truth for oneself, and then the possibilities open up magnificently. I do appreciate the many ways you blog points to this foundation and challenges the illusions that bind.

  • There is such a lack of contextual thinking in the world. The system is designed so that you can think inside the tenets of your “organization”, but those organizations teach to eschew anything that is outside of their dogma. The unfortunate eventuality of that system is that the truth can be outside of their dogma, and it doesn’t matter.
    We need to be able to think for ourselves and to be true skeptics. We withhold judgement until the truth is evident.

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