I am sure you have heard the saying “a great mind is a powerful thing to waste.” We take it for granted but it is true. If you study sociology 101- not the one they study in the university , just life, everyday life. If you stop and consider why society do things and how it accomplishes it , you will see that the machinery is set up on society to control your way of thinking and when that happens it is easy to control. Politics, advertising, education, religion in fact everything society does is about control. As a result a lot of us stop living for ourselves and live for the state, family , church or even a political party. They in fact begin to think they way they want you to think and do what they want you to do. You become a robot mechanized and planned.
Early education to an extent does that. However higher learning opens up your ability for critical thinking. It makes you start to analyze and ask the big WHY, why does this happen, who says that it is so, why did they say that etc. Here is a quote from a learned thinker:
Owning your own mind means making sense of the world based on your own observations and experiences rather than just depending on the word of others. It means trusting your own ability to make judgments, even if they contradict what others say. It means acting in accordance with these judgments, even if you sometimes make mistakes. It means knowing this truth: it’s better to make your own mistakes than someone else’s.
Owning your own mind doesn’t mean simply being contrary or reacting against the wishes of your parents or peers. If we reject what our parents, teachers or church have taught us simply because they say something is right, this doesn’t make us independent thinkers. That’s just what psychologists call “anti-conformity” rather than non-conformity. It’s still letting someone else dictate what you are thinking—by reaction. Making up your own mind is not a reaction, it is an action. ( Read Resources for independent thinking)
I am not advocating you go out and start to criticize everything or going to your boss and ask him why don’t you get an increased salary. I am saying to you to not take everything you hear as gospel, including your pastor. Analyze, question and then see if it makes sense to you based on your own social upbringing. Have a mind of your own. don’t give up the only thing man is always trying to control.
Here are 10 tools you can use to avoid brainwashing and keep your own sanity:
1. Decrypt Media Spin.
The media uses many different tools and angles to sensationalize things that aren’t inherently sensational. “Experts generally agree” can mean a community college professor and “recent surveys find” can mean the polling of 10 people.
2. Break through the hype.
Have you ever noticed that the most genuinely talented people don’t feel the need to convince you of their ability? If something is authentically awesome, it advertises itself.
All hype isn’t necessarily bad, but having some man scream at you about the amazing cleaning power of OxyClean is most likely an attempt to scare you into believing something. Margaret Thacher said it clearly…’IF YOU HAVE TO TELL SOMEONE YOU ARE A LADY ,CHANCES ARE YOU ARE NOT”.
3. Don’t buy into scare tactics.
This approach is most popular among the military. This is for an obvious reason: to make you conform and adhere to the purpose of the larger whole. On one hand, I understand why they have to do what they do. But on the other, I am wary of any group that discourages questioning the command. If you don’t think the purpose of your troop’s mission ethical, sorry, you don’t get an opinion. If you don’t agree with the chain of command, too bad.
Sometimes we think there is no other choice but to follow the leader with our heads down. But if we just look a little further, there’s usually another way we didn’t see before.
4. Survey says.
Surveys and statistics are often skewed to support the agenda of the presenter. Just because a survey says something, doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Even if it’s from a reputable source, keep in mind that everyone has an agenda. Even Green Peace. Even Obama. Even your mom.
5. Be conscious of subliminal messages.
Advertisers have cleverly discovered that they can sell you something much easier if it’s associated with a certain lifestyle. A Mercedes equals luxury and high-class; a Jeep means you’re rugged and adventurous. Cut through the BS. You define the way you live; your lifestyle doesn’t define you.
6. Don’t be a sheep.
The word “authority” derives from the word author, which simply means the one who originated the idea. It doesn’t mean they are right, or that they are the end of the line. Get as many different opinions as possible before making a decision and trust your common sense.
7. Be certain, or circumvent.
Have you ever noticed that extremely enthusiastic people have an uncanny ability to sway others? Their unshakeable certainty lures others into follow them, simply because they don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other. If you don’t know, don’t let someone else’s certainty force you to make a choice. Do your own research and come to your own conclusion.
8. Listen to your gut.
Follow your gut/intuition. If you think something’s shady, chances are it is. Your mind will usually want to prolong making a decision until it gets all the facts straight. You’ll usually find that after you’ve sorted everything out your gut was right all along. Save yourself some time and trust yourself.
9. Avoid groupthink.
Following the crowd is fine if you’re making that choice consciously. We’ve all heard the saying “if so and so told you to jump off a cliff, would you do it?” I always thought that was the most idiotic question. That doesn’t prove anything. That’s just stupid. And it’s not what I’m talking about here. What I mean is following the group because you’re afraid of standing out. You’re afraid of being seen, being heard. Because, geez, if you do that you might actually have to defend your opinion.
Don’t be afraid to be different. Ghandi was different. Einstein was different. People used to think they were crazy, radical and had possible birth defects (just kidding). Now they are considered geniuses.
10. Don’t be a trend-junkie.
“Newly reformulated” shaving cream is often just a newly reformulated packaging design. If you have to buy a new version of your camera, phone, or iPod every 6 months, are you buying it, or is it buying you? Do you really own your things, or do they own you?