Avoiding Manipulation in Free Thinking revised
Avoiding Manipulation in Free Thinking
This paper is about avoiding manipulation in free thinking. To tackle this issue, the following will be addressed;
Definition of a free thinker.
A free thinker is a person who has the ability to think in an independent way. A free thinker is able to make their own independent decision. However, there are several factors that hinder many people from thinking independently. These factors will be analyzed in the paper.
Importance of free thinking.
Free thinking is of great importance. It means that a person is able to think independently and make independent decisions. The important part of it is that a free thinker will be able to stand for the decisions that they make.
Hindrances for free thinking.
There are many factors that make free thinking so hard. Most of these factors are outside the control of a person. For example, religion and cultural beliefs are some of the hindrances to free thinking that will be addressed in the paper.
The paper will also discuss the effect of cultural and religious beliefs, Tradition, and political and Socratic ideologies on free thinking.
All these are some of the hindrances of free thinking. There are factors that are in the environment in which a person grows, and they are very strong factors that can affect the way people think, thereby, making free thinking almost impossible.
How to avoid hindrances to free thinking.
The paper will also provide an analysis on how to avoid these hindrances to free thinking. To be a free thinker will mean that the ability of a person in thinking is not influenced by such factors as religion and cultural beliefs, political affiliations, or tradition that a person has grown in.
Avoiding manipulation in free thinking
Being a free thinker is the ability to make independent decisions and to have owned opinions on important issues instead of accepting what other people say (Frede, 2011). The society today is full of different opinions regarding various subjects, from politics religion, atheism and so many more. Every person, institution and different schools of thought around the world in one or the other want to make us believe they are right or what they believe in is the correct one. One, therefore, has to be careful in what they wish to believe by critically thinking through these issues. In this essay, I will discuss the importance of free thinking, the hindrances to freethinking, and how to avoid them.
Religion and Cultural Beliefs
Religion consists of beliefs, cultural systems and views regarding humanity. It is respect for what is sacred in relevance to the gods, a bond between man and the gods (Mawson). Religion has many doctrines that influence the way people perceive various issues the world over. There are the various religions in the world like Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hindu. Christianity, for instance, has a 33% converts all around the world who follow and adhere to the doctrines set by the church. Due to increase in world population, this has had more disadvantages than advantages due to the scarcity and over-exploitation of the available resources. It is advisable that people take control by using family planning methods. And among the family planning methods, is the use of condoms. The use of condoms in family planning is against the doctrines of the Catholic Church, which stands with the opinion that God intended people to multiply freely. Now this has hindered the efforts of population control.
Believe in religious beliefs has caused the world more harm than good if we consider the Islam religion under whose umbrella most terrorists operate. Due to the conflict between religions, part of the Islam groups believes if they kill Christians and die in the process, they will be taken to heaven. This has led to suicide bombers attacking the Christians resulting in chaos in the world. What makes a critical thinker a free thinker is not what he or she holds as belief but how he or she holds them, the endorsement of critical thinking has been challenged by religion across the world and this may call for solution to help people to exercise free thinking like teaching theology freedoms, where Christian believers will know to differentiate between good practices and bad and out of date doctrines. In the midst of an increasingly changing world, critical thinking has become a crucial attribute that is expected of university graduates. However, the application of this freethinking has had challenges in many college students and the people all over the world due to the influence of culture. Individual beliefs and culture can affect the principle and reasoning in areas of thinking. It is a persuasive factor in ways of individual beliefs which mean it plays a role in the society today.
There are various cultures in the world today, and all affect the society in different ways. For example, physical environment, inspirational people, scientific affairs, and cultures have direct effect on the society. Culture can be defined as characteristics of particular people and the knowledge they process, from language, religion, habits, and art (Hogan, 2009). It can be demonstrated on narrow perspective by taking an example of the same group of university students from different universities. The way university students perceive issues is different considering the culture that they are used to, take for instance students in countries with political instability will champion for changes in political structures unlike students from countries with poor economies.
Different aspects of culture affect the reasoning differently depending on the factor that influenced the culture more in development. Culture has many aspects that affect the way decisions are made; they include history, religion, individual beliefs, language, geography, and race. Individual beliefs are convictions and opinions. Beliefs are developed through family, education, peers and location where the individual lives. For instance, a person living in a developing nation where securing employment is hard will believe in saving in case of loss of the job. There are various cultures in the world today and they all play a role in free thinking of individuals, whether in a good or bad way, it is the role of the free thinker to apply the critical thinking tools in order to understand the issues logically. Another important aspect to look into concerning free thought is a tradition. Through history, every group has had traditions that they like to be identified with (Krishna, 2011).
Tradition and Free thinking
Tradition is a way of thinking or doing something used by people in a particular group or society, the most important being the belief. Tradition include practices that people have practiced over the years and has become part of their way of life, from religious traditions like Christmas celebrations, political traditions, scholarly traditions like the Socrates tradition, African traditions like female genital mutilation, family traditions and so on. These traditions affect the way individuals reason concerning various issues, for instance, some Africans believes ancestors can bring good or bad to the society, and in case of bad occurrences, they have to make sacrifices to appease the ancestors in order to bring peace and order. For Christians, they believe that Jesus died to save humanity and in case of bad occurrences, they have to pray to God through Christ to solve the problem. Some practices done today originate from a long time ago, following events that occurred or a practice that was observed because of different reasons. Christians, for instance, observe the day of charismas because they believe Jesus was born that day, although this has not been fully proven.
Socratic ideologies are also significant to this day and are referred to as Socratic traditions still influence the education systems of today. For student willing to exercise freethinking, it is advisable to use critical thinking elements and avoid being sucked into the traditional ways of tackling issues. Political settings also influence the way in which people view and tackle issues. Political organizations are based in various ideologies, for instance, democratic settings, dictatorial setting or communistic setting (Chaffee, 2005). In democratic setting power is exercised by the people for the people, in this way of rule, people believe that people have the ability to determine the way in which they are governed, with freedoms to every individual. On dictatorial governments, the leader has all the power to determine what is best for the citizens.
People in dictatorial regimes believe that the leader can choose what is best for them, thus limiting the possibility of exercising free thought. For instance Adolf Hitler, who was a leader of German, made the citizens believe that the Jews were the cause of German’s loss of world war one, and he convinced the soldiers to fight in his course to wipe all the Jews in German and the neighboring countries like Austria.
Political organizations represent authority. In addition, the assumption here is that any authority figure is correct in whatever they claim. On an individual level, this may include the parents of an individual, the management of the university, or experts in an area like the field of medicine. All this is believed to have credibility in whatever they purport to say. The authority, in many times, may be biased or over rated. For instance, you might be required to undergo painful injections or operations because the doctor prescribed the treatment. Although the authority might be right, the part where the individual has no say in the decisions being made concerning him hinders the ability to think critically. Similarly, in religious context, some ideologies hinder the exercise of free thought, for instance, Christians believe in the bible which has rules and commandments to be followed without question, like in the book of Leviticus, it forbids eating of some food, it also forbids homosexuality and offers relevant moral command for today. The church takes authority to forbid its followers from eating these foods as being unholy while ignoring the expertise of the people who wrote those texts.
It is unfair to give weight to one way of judging while ignoring other ways that may be available. Most people may be having stakes on ideas especially people in authority. Students in universities are expected to exercise freethinking on issues regardless of the authority involved. This will help them have better understanding of the issues and make good conclusions regarding the governments or authority. As the students develop their skills in free thinking, they also have to take into consideration to the trends concerning information. Information today travels fast through media channels around the world. Television shows, discovery channels, radio, newspapers and social media are sources through which information is channeled to the public regardless of its credibility.
Information carries data and amounts of knowledge and once portrayed to the public, it can be either important or negative regarding the content. Critical thinking becomes important when searching for articles and information regarding specific topics. The amount of information regarding the same topic may be a lot but it the responsibility of the student to think clearly on the topic, avoiding propaganda and bias that the writers may have had (Galician, 2007). This is possible if the student starts by questioning the credibility of the information. Social media like Facebook and tweeter have platforms where individuals can share personal information or even information regarding social and political issues. This implies that the information that is shared is raw and has not been edited. Such information might be misleading to the public who are subscribed to that media. Take for instance in a case of terrorism attack, various people at the scene will try to post pictures of scene on their social media accounts and in the process portray a different picture of the events, this can also hinder investigations since the terrorists will be following the events as they unfold online. In the
The Middle East, there happened a revolution that was fueled by the social. The revolutions referred to as the Arab Spring were fueled by people on social media who were calling for changes in the forms of governments. Students who wish to have critical insight into various issues in the modern society will have to evaluate the contents of information that is channeled by the media, to avoid being manipulated by the media houses, they will have to interpret and understand it fully, avoiding the bias, propaganda and false culture that may be portrayed by the media. Take for instance the issue of homosexuality, the media may be portraying the practice as being good and trendy, this is done by revealing the celebrities who are gay. This way, they might be wooing the youth to turn to the practice, as it is cool. For free thinkers, it will be better if they critically weigh the issue before coming to any conclusion. Prejudice is another major issue while practicing freethinking. People perceive issues, making pre-judgment or forming opinions before going through the facts of the case in this way. They are preconceived opinions or ideas on a specific issue. It also includes bias in making conclusions. Bias is when one forms opinions based on few selected facts of an issue to support his view (Pub., 2009).
Prejudice ignores evidence that conflicts with preconceived beliefs. This happens due to habit, familiarity, wishes, desires, interests and values. While bias is due to self-interests and agendas. Taking for example where a student is supposed to give information regarding the lectures mode of teaching in a survey being conducted by the administration. The kind of information the student will give will depend on the student’s relationship with the lecturer. The student might decide to give wrong information that is negative toward the lecturer if he does not like him. This might be biased information. Sometimes if the student is lazy, he might decide to make conclusions regarding the lecturer based on his general view. This would be prejudice towards the instructor and will be wrong. It will take a have to take a very dedicated free thinker to avoid prejudice and bias while forming opinions on important issues. Ethics plays a major role also in the process of freethinking. Ethics is a form moral principles; it has principles recognized and respected by a particular group of humans. Ethical thinking is mostly based on the principles of what is considered wrong or right. Logic mostly is used to find or answer questions of moral importance. However, logic does not always guarantee morally correct outcomes. For instance, same-sex marriages have been legalized in the United States, although some sex logically correct, it does not mean that it is ethically correct. It is the responsibility of the free thinker to consider ethical values to the issue to determine if it is right or wrong. Some states after analyzing the medical importance of marijuana have legalized it. While logic could be correct on the medical importance of the herb, it would be ethically wrong to legalize marijuana.
Freethinking is a viewpoint holding positions regarding logic, truth and reason instead of ideologies and other dogmas. As discussed above, we have seen that there are many issues that can be hindrances to freethinking and as students of the university can be able to overcome the manipulation involved. It takes a serious free thinker to overcome the manipulation that may be posed by religion. It is one of the hardest hindrances to freethinking since most of the people in the world today are attached to a given religion. To overcome the students must exercise a lot of disciples while handling issues. Another major hindrance was authority, every individual is governed by a particular authority, be it authority of the parents, religion or even governments, it becomes hard for one to make clear critical thinking if he believes that the authority is always right. Students exercising freethinking should not defy the authority, but also they must way the issues in a critical way for the good of the community. Tradition as a hindrance can easily be overcome if the student weighs the practices and do what is right; this again brings in the issue of ethics whereby the thinker is the one to make decisions on issues basing on what he perceives to be right or wrong. For students exercising free thought on issues, it is important for them to avoid prejudice and bias, this will hinder their opinions on the conclusions that they will be expected to come up with. In making conclusions that concern them, being lazy and not analyzing the data correctly will be a form of manipulation.
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