I was born to two individuals who had something essential in common. They both believed, and still do, that critical thinking is a vital component of an intelligent, intellectual life and an active mind is imperative for an extraordinary existence. They separated when I was six years old, but as I age and life takes me where it must, I share this opinion fully and unapologetically. I’m always thinking about thinking. I’ve been told in the past that I think too much and that can be a damaging load to carry. I think it comes down to what kind of thinking I’m doing. Thinking obsessively about what vegetables I’m going to buy at Whole Foods or what TV shows I’m going to watch that night is not the same as pondering the deep questions, the questions that have no easy answer or even an answer at all. For most of human existence thinking for oneself was deeply discouraged. Unfortunately, it still is in many walks of life.
Brainwashing is everywhere. From the moment we’re born we are indoctrinated by whoever it is we live with. Then come schools we attend, religious teachings, and the culture we’re inundated with. We’re told what’s right and wrong, what books are worth reading, what an education is, etc. The message is that conformity is desirable…be like everyone else, fit in, don’t make waves. This directive has devastating effects and repercussions on lives. We believe that in order to be accepted and liked we have to go with the program even when time and time again we learn that there’s not a one size fits all approach that works. I question authority, and the people who I truly admire and am inspired by do also. A person who stands up and speaks the truth when it’s called for radiates a beautiful sexy quality. The people who say what so many are thinking and have the courage to express themselves loudly and publicly, whether about a brutal injustice or a simple truth, are the people who make a difference. The world would be nowhere without these brave souls who don’t follow the herd.
Social media is filled with millions of people forging identities and portfolios of their perfect lives for the purpose of gaining followers who will post messages of praise. It becomes one big never ending orgy of self obsession. Everyone has an outlet to write and post whatever they want, whether it’s true or not, but most people post the same politically correct, socially acceptable pablum. So many of these pages are formulaic and interchangeable. It’s to the point where Facebook alone has changed the definition of friendship and the way we socialize with others. For all the individual power it can bring, at the same time it takes away so much. It saddens me when friends don’t want to or are unable to be confronted with an idea that might make them uncomfortable. When the walls go up around a difference of opinion I get turned off and disappointed. So many people tout their values of acceptance, compassion, and morals but when it comes down to it it’s all talk. Authenticity frightens them and thinking from a critical standpoint is too much. They’re in love with the idea of being unique, but when push comes to shove, they have nothing original to say. They just continually quote the same passages from a favorite self help book or poem that once evoked something in them.
I will always choose to challenge myself intellectually. Every book I read expands my world view. I have met and will continue to encounter people who have no understanding of this concept of truly living by one’s experiential truth. I’m too intense and direct for some, but that’s also the quality in me that has drawn in so many incredible people into my life. They get me and I’m enough. I’ve never met a positivity oozer who’s made me laugh or entertained me. It’s the people with moxie that I have the best time with.
I end this blog with a quote from Vaclav Havel: “keep the company of those who seek the truth, and run from those who’ve found it”.