There is a famous quote by the late Steve Jobs, which I'm sure we have all heard: “Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.”
Read this quote to most people, and they are sure to agree with it – however, do they really follow it? Let's think about it for a second: What is dogma, really? As Jobs states, it is the result of other people's thinking. Their beliefs, their views on the world, their religious, political, moral acceptances that are (supposed to be) individual to them. But, are we truly free from dogma? Let's explore...
Where you happen to be born will play a massive role in your views on the world. Think about it...are you the same religion as your parents? If so, why? If you're like most of us, you were born into religion X, were taught religion X as “truth,” and subsequently believed in religion X without questioning it, probably for the rest of your life.
This begs the question, have you explored all other religious possibilities to determine if religion X, Y, Z (or ANY religion at all) is right for YOU? Do you truly know what religion X teaches, or have you simply accepted it and have just heard the cherry-picked fluffy loving readings of the books they want you to hear? And if you truly don't know the history of your religion and others, then how can you possibly be devoted to it? Isn't this the very definition of being trapped by dogma?
It's not easy to speak out about your true feelings and beliefs. It takes courage and willpower to step outside of the box and do your own reading and research to determine if you even “believe” anything that's asserted to you. This isn't just the case with religion, but with politics, media, news coverage, advertisements, et cetera. For the sake of our future generations, we must teach them to question everything and think for themselves.
I am a Boston native. During the Boston bombing attacks, we all fell victim to overzealous and subsequently shoddy reporting from the media. People (myself included) hung on every real-time tweet from multiple sources, often differing and ultimately incorrect. On a smaller scale, I frequently see people sharing stories, photos, “facts” and tips on social media that are fundamentally incorrect.
A 30-second Google search (and a little common sense) will tell you that Bill Gates is not really going to give you $5,000 just for sharing a photo. Yet, people jump on the bandwagon and endorse something as truth without doing the slightest bit of research into it.
We are living in an impulsive, instant gratification society full of people who click buttons without realizing they are defining their identity and position on the world by doing so. People who spread falsehoods as truth either willingly, or unwillingly, and don't take 30 seconds to think about what they're doing.
We must, as a society, put more thought into our actions, our opinions and our beliefs. The only thing worse than bandwagon fans in sports, are bandwagon thinkers in life. Don't accept a “cable plan” way of thinking where you subscribe to an entire set of beliefs simply because they all seem to come in a package. You're better than that.
Thousands of years of evolution have gifted you with an intelligent, thinking brain which can pick apart each section of life and come up with a specific opinion about them. Use it wisely.
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of logic, reason and empiricism and not authority ,tradition or other dogmas. The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking," and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers."
James Michael Sama Photo Source: The Paper Wall