Ah… what it means to “think for yourself.”
Most of us don’t, most of the time.Â
I would include most of PD.com in that, sometimes.*Â Because this gets wrapped up in one of the problems many of us have found to be a core issue of Discordia: the Filters, the Grids, the Prison Bars, the vital and trecherous habit of compartamentalizing.
If you start at the raw state (not the RAW state, mind you), you get an assload of sensory input.Â So, the brain, all by itself, starts putting things in categories.Â “This is like that, so we will associate these with those.”Â Eventually, we work our way up to a rough understanding of the world.
This process tends to work pretty well, so we start using it in other ways.Â But this is where we really start running into trouble.Â Our compartamentalizing turns into generalizing, and slips into “All A is B.Â This looks like an A, so it must be B.”Â We look at new experiences as if they were old ones, so we can put new things in established compartments.
Essentially, without knowing it, we tend to fall into the habit of trusting people, or things, or ideas that are comfortable to our brains.Â They get inside our bullshit detecor perimeter fence.Â So when something happens, or someone says soemthing that falls within our trust zone, we accept it as truth without question.
Mind you, this is a fairly useful habit if you actually want to get things done.Â There is much in this Universe that doesn’t affect you, and that doesn’t need to be parsed in fine detail.Â I would guess that 95% of the shit that gets thrown at you every day isn’t really worth your time to fine tune.
But it’s that 5% that gets you.
So, back to that original point.Â What is “thinking for yourself”?Â I’d say it’s the art of going back to your assumptions, categorizations, habits, and tendencies, and breaking them down.Â Figure out where you got your opinions.Â What influenced you?Â Do you trust them?Â What are the counter arguments?Â Which works best for you right now, not when you were 13?Â Is “just because” a good enough answer?
You break down your opinions, and sniff out where you just went ahead and trusted something without a second thought.Â That doesn’t mean you have to reject it; many times, you end up agreeing with it.Â But now you have a more solid foundation of what you think.
*Do you like how I’m E-Priming the shit out of this?