Learn what it means to be a “freethinker.” See why the world needs more people who can do this, and how you can become one.
How to Define a Freethinker
Freethinker is a term first used by Leo Tolstoy. He uses it to describe a person who can think and reason without overt cultural interference, negative bias or any kind of social prejudice.
“Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking.” ― Leo Tolstoy
“A free thinker used to be a man who had been educated on ideas of religion, law, morality, and had arrived at free thought by virtue of his own struggle and toil; but now a new type of born freethinker has been appearing, who’ve never even heard that there have been laws of morality and religion and that there are authorities, but who simply grow up with negative ideas about everything, that is savages.” ― Leo Tolstoy (1)
Here’s another way to define a freethinker. Thinking freely is using the mind to use reason to consider something, without the control or overt influence of others. It’s the freedom to think without boundaries.
Freethinkers are those with the ability to step beyond the programming of cultural folklore. They are adept at identifying bias and prejudice in their thinking and the cultural narrative. They cultivate critical thinking and observational skills.
It is not a belief system, but a lifestyle of investigation. This lifestyle results in a balance of intuitive and analytical reasoning. It’s the best of both worlds, which creates a well-rounded, healthy skeptical mindset.
A Freethinker Friendly Approved Environment
If something is “approved,” you immediately think of things that someone with expert knowledge has investigated. However, this term also applies to certain people, like celebrities and political candidates.
When you turn the focus to people, there are three things you can look for to see if someone can think freely, means some who can consider things without overt negative bias and prejudice. Why do we need this type of person in places of power? When you define a freethinker, here are attributes they display.
1) We need people who can identify and reject the negative bias and prejudice in their thinking and the cultural narrative.
2) The world needs logic and reason to confront the enemies of progress. (2)
3) Make better decisions based on verifiable facts.
Some people think these goals or guidelines are impossible to reach. If this is your conclusion, then you are right. It means you are not in a place where you can move beyond the cultural narrative’s programming boundaries. Many people find themselves in this situation. Self-hypnosis and group hypnosis prevent many from considering anything beyond their closely held bias and prejudice.
However, if you think these guidelines are attainable, you are also correct. It is possible to break the shackles of the cultural narrative. Freethinkers are people who live from this perspective. We need more open-minded leaders and not persuaded by religious bias and prejudice.
Common sense and logic underlie this level of perception. If you ask most people, they would say I use common sense. But is this the case?
Of late, the definition of reason and common has been misappropriated by right-wing groups to identify it with people who hold conservative religious views. This misappropriation is the exact opposite of the meaning behind reason and common sense.
They firmly believe that their interpretation is correct because they are trained to see the world from a prejudiced perspective. As such, they automatically interpret their bias and prejudice as an acceptable position. They can overlook the effects of their prejudice on others. They are value judgments on a sliding scale, which is based on their interpretation of mythology, superstition and misinformation as fact. This perspective is the exact opposite of freethinker friendly approved thought.
Contributions to Society
Another way to define a freethinker is by their positive contributions to society.
1) Do they support fundamental human rights for everyone? Or are they supporting discriminatory policies?
2) Do they produce measurable positive effects on people and the environment?
Here’s a little experiment you can try. If you ask most people, if they are “law-abiding citizens, most people will answer, yes. Then ask them if they ever broke the speed limit by more than one mile-an-hour? If they are honest, they will also say yes. Fact is, we break laws of some kind every day.
Here’s some advice from the Dalai Lama. The fifth of his 18 rules for living is to learn the rules so you know how to break them. If someone is having a heart attack in your car, you better be able to break the speed limit within a margin of risk to get them to the hospital.
If a police officer pulls you over, tell them your passenger is having a life-threatening event and you need them to escort you to the hospital. Thinking more clearly is about moving beyond the boundaries of the cultural narrative and doing the “right thing.”
Find Freethinker Friendly Approved People
We all live under the constant bombardment of propaganda. We are continually being programmed not to think for ourselves. Some of the most influential media outlets are sectarian in their approach to programming.
They downplay us the use of common sense or logic and often contradict qualified health professionals’ advice to make outlandish claims. They do this to be controversial and boost their ratings to sell advertising.
Many of these programs, like Fox News, are not news outlets at all. They are propaganda peddlers catering to a far-right sectarian religious extremist agenda. They are not a freethinker-friendly approved media organization.
If we shift perception, we must first fix the negative programming. It requires diligent and regular inner work. Inner work involves the use of one or more consciousness-expanding techniques. Stepping outside of the programmed messages, suspending our constant internal chatter, is like a reset button for the mind.
Freethinkers Are Problem Solvers
The mind is like a muscle. It needs to be training to be strong. People do resistance training to build strength. So, a Freethinker learns to train their brain like an athlete. They study and practice the use of reason and logic.
You don’t need advanced mathematics to understand when an argument is likely true or false. The world disparately needs more freethinker-friendly approved organizations and people to solve society’s complex problems.
Practicing inductive logic and other analytical methodologies will give you a substantial edge in life. They refer to processes with these qualities as the scientific method.
What is the Scientific Method?
Science doesn’t care what you believe. Instead, it bases conclusions on evidence. The scientific method is a systematic way of exploring and investigating phenomena.
Humankind uses this method to gain new knowledge or correct and integrate previous knowledge. The scientific method has given the world all of its modern conveniences. We can describe this process of inquiry in six steps:
1) Make an observation
2) Record and communicate the observation accurately as possible
3) Form questions concerning what we observe to find out more
4) Form a hypothesis based on the evidence and what it could mean
5) Conduct an experiment
6) Analyze the data and develop conclusions
These Six Steps either confirm the hypothesis or lead us to more questions. The ability to make accurate observations is also essential for personal development. A skeptical mindset provides the foundation to learn other critical skills.
Any person or organization that supports the use of the scientific method is freethinker friendly approved.
Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, they share the same features of the process above. Here’s a suite of three methods to help you discern the facts from the fiction.
The first tool to help sort out the facts is logical reasoning. It is the backbone of critical thinking.
Next are the truth-seekers’ axioms. These are formulas to help you understand logical and illogical arguments. The last toolset will help you spot logical fallacies. It shows us the most common tactics to misuse logic. These are the antidotes for the sickness of negative bias and prejudice within the dominant cultural narrative.
How to Become Freethinker
Learning to be open-minded requires a multidisciplinary approach. But don’t worry. You can use several processes to expand awareness, increase your critical thinking ability, and even investigate other states of consciousness.
The application and practice of reason, common sense, and logic are just one set of necessary tools. Logical is not the only ingredient needed.
Enhancing your observational skills will help you see things more clearly. It will help you see reality without overt prejudice and judgment. You probably won’t eliminate 100%, but you can remove the most obvious negative bias and prejudice. This perspective allows you to investigate ideas outside of your worldview.
You’ll also need to nurture the connection with your intuitive mind. Albert Einstein said his intuition gave him the insight to develop his most profound conclusions. Observation led the way to provide data, and his analytical skills helped him explain it.
Freethinkers hone the ability to control the programming of the mind. The culture programs us to see what it wants us to see. A freethinker does not automatically fear what they don’t understand.
Here’s the real key. People and organizations that are freethinker friendly approved do not support religious agendas.
They can see the mechanisms behind customs, beliefs, and paradigm boundaries of all types that others simply cannot. It is a skill you can cultivate. It’s well worth the time because it will open doors to move beyond the programming you’ve accumulated living in our modern culture.
Spiritual technologies are methods for exploring human consciousness; they comprise a diverse body of practical mental tools. You can use these tools to develop your potential. They will accelerate your progress toward becoming a freethinker.
There are four main groups for these tools:
The Results of Practicing Spiritual Technologies
When you practice these processes, you will discover several things about yourself. For example, the Enneagram Personality Profile will identify the programming that has affected your personality and instincts.
Comparative Analysis is a scientific process of comparative religious study. It will help you investigate your religious beliefs. Here, you will see how bias and prejudice are a part of religious sectarianism.
What do you think? How do you define a freethinker? Do you see them as a positive force? Or, are you scared of people who can think without religious bias and prejudice? We hope you agree the world needs more Freethinkers. Do you want to be one? Are you on the way? We hope you are. The world needs more people who are open-minded thinkers.
(1) Leo Tolstoy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_Tolstoy
(2) Freedom From Religion: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/00377686211012368