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Do people think for themselves?

LeegOfChldrnLeegOfChldrn Jcakson, MSPosts: 364Member

One of Human's greatest achievements is our mind, our soul, our brain, our thoughts-- the ability to think in abstract terms, use our imagination to create hypothetical situations in our mind, and think for ourselves.

 

Yet...do people ACTUALLY think for themselves?

 

Even the swarms of angsty pre-teens (so-called "Free Thinkers" found online) don't seem to think for themselves, and instead regurgitate what they hear others say. It is not uncommon to hear pre-teens of any topic or stance simply repeat what they hear others say, contrary to their adult counterparts (the adults who actually probably DO think for themselves). In fact, most regurgitation doesn't even seem to be the best of the best, and instead just seem to be from someone who often has many things incorrect or has a different perspective than most other adults or professionals.

 

Ex, A teen in defense of their faith quoting a teacher whose research or thought processes aren't as well versed or popularly accepted like a "better" teacher or speaker. Ex2. A teen in defense of their non-faith whose arguments are riddled with ignorance of the faith they're trying to attack, when another adult has better arguments that are more educated in the opposition's beliefs. Yet the teen doesnt use this "another adult" with better arguments, and regurgitates the weaker arguments because they're spoken most often.

 

Ex. A college yuppy know-it-all freshman who regurgitates what they read in a [Class] 101 textbook. Or perhaps later spouting off how they hate [popular historical figure] and instead appreciate the art of [unpopular historical figure] and [rarely heard of historical figure]. When in reality, [popular] actually  IS really good at art, and [unpopular] and [rarely heard] actually suck, which is mostly why they're unheard of. Trendy trends to be trendy.

 

Do YOU believe that MOST people think for themselves? Do YOU believe that very FEW do? Do YOU believe that EVERYONE does? If so, how do you explain ignorance, regurgitation, mindless mob behavior? Does it exist? Perhaps mob mentality is actually a false perception, or more correctly a confusion of stereotypes from a vocal minority? Explain yourself!

 

Comments

  • Man1acMan1ac EnglandPosts: 1,428Member

    We will always be influenced the way we think by our surroundings, the environment, society, and over the last 40 years, the media. However, we all have our opinions, and I believe the more intelligent and academic one is, the better the person can think for himself rather than become a sheep and not think for him/herself.

    We're all Geniuses. Most of us just don't know it.

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,668Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Man1ac

    We will always be influenced the way we think by our surroundings, the environment, society, and over the last 40 years, the media. However, we all have our opinions, and I believe the more intelligent and academic one is, the better the person can think for himself rather than become a sheep and not think for him/herself.

    I like the way you think! image

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • daarcodaarco GavlePosts: 4,497Member

    Not all people use the same way of thinking.

    Some happily let other think for ,them, and others want to do it themselves.

    I wonder how much education matters here. Is is that the more education you have, the more you want to think for yourself? Except some people are educated to not think for themself! (north korea?)

  • ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 7,906Member Uncommon

    Haha. No. Not really.

    I won't say people are dumb or sheep. But most people are fundamentally very unsure of their own judgement and most afraid not to be with the masses. Being the outsider is a deep fear for many people, so they tend to follow the trend and not trust what they may be able to see, but ignore and go with the flow. It is also very strenous to question your own believes and habits of thinking. Too many prefer just to "fit in".

    To quote our most famous German Chancellor: "How fortunate for leaders that people don't think." and "People will more fall to a big lie than a small one."

    People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert

  • delete5230delete5230 Posts: 2,963Member Uncommon

    Well it's a two way street. Depends on what, some things require education.

    I had a  friend that just retired and rolled his pension.  With the market at max a few weeks ago, pulling out was great timing. He is not too smart.  I was so happy for him, and it all came at perfect timing.  He insisted on rolling it over.  That was OK but I told him to not invest YET as the market will soon crash.  His broker talked him into investing and he lost tons of money is the last two weeks.

    So I guess he can't think on his own. I showed him a chart of the history of the Dow and showed him how it works. I showed how it was too high with all kinds of Prof that It's about to drop, yet he took the word of a broker that will always talk you into investing NOW, no matter what the market is doing, at least from my past experiences. They always do.

    Whats the brokers answer ?.....I told you their were risks involved !.....Hang in their, history proves that the market always comes back, after all you in it for the long haul !........Standard answers. This is very 1980's thinking when the market went up steady.  Since the 80's it fluctuates up and down.  You will never make money letting it ride for the long haul.

     

    people that think on their own :

    MOST everyone thanks that using your credit card as a source of a loan is OK.

    Most everyone don't understand that the minimum payment of a credit card will only pay off interest, and you still owe the same amount. The next month, the minimum payment will still only pay interest, you still owe the same amount.

    MOST everyone don't understand the bottom line of what you will be paying back at the end of the loan life. They even ignore the loan agreement that tells you......Give me money, I don't care !

  • NaqajNaqaj Frankfurt am MainPosts: 1,673Member

    I don't know. What answer would you recommend?

  • DarkmothDarkmoth Pittsburgh, PAPosts: 174Member

    I think it depends on what you mean by "think for yourself".

    If you mean in literally, then no, no one does - certainly not me. I don't know things from first principles. I haven't personally verified that the sun is 93 million miles from the earth, or that time slows down near a large gravitational source. Everything I know about history is literally hearsay - I didn't watch the pyramids being built, or see evolution happen. Someone else told me about these things, and I made a decision to believe them.

    So, I guess it's really hard for me to define what someone who thinks for themselves looks like. Obviously even a free thinker believes someone (and I mean believes them without proof) - if not, they'd be a crazy person.

    The poster above me thinks his friend is not a free thinker because the friend followed the stock broker's advice. But if the friend had listened to the poster and stayed out of the market he still would not be a free thinker - he'd just be following different advice (the poster's).

    Frankly, I think the idea that other people are "sheep" is rooted in a disagreement with other people's opinions, a lack of empathy for their desires, and a bit of blindness to our own "sheep-ness". At the end of the day, every rational actor is trying  to improve their lives, and they all make constant decisions given the best information available.

    I might agree that some people are better at making decisions given that information, but I do believe everyone tries to make the best decisions.

  • LeegOfChldrnLeegOfChldrn Jcakson, MSPosts: 364Member
    Originally posted by Elikal

    Haha. No. Not really.

    I won't say people are dumb or sheep. But most people are fundamentally very unsure of their own judgement and most afraid not to be with the masses. Being the outsider is a deep fear for many people, so they tend to follow the trend and not trust what they may be able to see, but ignore and go with the flow. It is also very strenous to question your own believes and habits of thinking. Too many prefer just to "fit in".

    To quote our most famous German Chancellor: "How fortunate for leaders that people don't think." and "People will more fall to a big lie than a small one."

    This.

  • dave6660dave6660 New York, NYPosts: 2,543Member Uncommon

    I started working at 17 in lousy retail jobs to pay help for my tuition.  On the up side, I finished grad school debt free.  On the down side it gave me a very very low opinion of people in general.  It was shocking to see how many people could not do basic arithmetic or who were functionally illiterate.

    I believe very few people have the ability to think for themselves.  The rest of the herd just regurgitates what they hear on the news or from their circle of friends / family.

    “There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but dimly discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at nobody's expense but his own.”
    -- Herman Melville

  • ElikalElikal ValhallaPosts: 7,906Member Uncommon

    As individuals, yes. Dependent on our education level and intelligence. But all people are also part of a crowd psychology. A very interesting read IMVPO is Gustave Le Bon's "The Crowd - study of the popular mind".

    See: http://www.amazon.com/The-Crowd-Study-popular-mind/dp/1450532594/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349974273&sr=8-1&keywords=le+bon

    Worth the read.

    People don't ask questions to get answers - they ask questions to show how smart they are. - Dogbert

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