This I Believe …
Since the beginning, the institution of free thought has led to the most sweeping advances in human society, as well as each and every paradigm shift our planet has seen. It has always been my query, then, as to why so many people choose to be so insular in their thought process.
I remember it well: I was young, naïve, and curious. I had just finished seventh grade and my parents chose to take my friend Brian and I on a camping trip to Mammoth Mountain, in central California. I will always remember the first night of the trip, and the awe that overcame me the first time I peered up at the night sky. It was humbling to gaze into the vastness of the universe, and as I stood there gawking at the millions of stars I’d never seen, I slipped into my own personal paradigm shift. Brian and I began talking about the universe, existence, and all the existential and philosophical questions that arise when one’s presented with the conception of infinity.
As we were talking, it became clear to me how narrow-minded most of humanity is. Most people don’t stop to think about anything other than what they need to accomplish in order to keep up with the standards those around them enforce. I began thinking how different the world would be if everyone thought for themselves. If everyone came up with their own philosophies, their own ideas, and their own ideals, the human race would be in a much more secure and content state than it is now. No one would worry about what others think; they would simply worry about what they need to do to be happy.
Accordingly, the concept I most strongly believe in is free thought. I try to think for myself, and analyze all the different sides of an issue before I develop my own opinion. My parents are Christian; I’m not. Much of my extended family are strong conservatives; I’m a libertarian. I believe that just because someone is raised a certain way, it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t examine the other sides of an issue and reach their own unique conclusion. The most influential individuals in human history did just that. They thought outside the box, and through this simple act of non-conformity, were revolutionary.
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