That’s a fancy term, isn’t it? It’s actually a dangerous trend. Here’s why.
People who self-identify as “Free Thinkers” are growing in numbers at an alarming rate. From the perspective of a casual observer, these individuals parade themselves as an elite collective that have taken the proverbial red pill. To them, we live in a complex machination, a Matrix like world where all of us who possess a conscience- but not an elevated consciousness- are merely drones. We’re tendrils acting with uniform behaviors and our thoughts are not independent, but instead a reflection of some great hive mind that they, themselves, have managed to unshackle themselves from.
Everything is a lie, if you ask a Free thinker. The moon landing never happened, the Earth is flat, global mind control is plaguing society, wealthy lizard people are influencing the political direction of the Nation. To be fair, not every Free Thinker subscribes to all of these campfire conspiracy theories. Some adopt a decidedly different tactic and attempt to legitimize their attempt to swing away from reality using faux science and pack mentality. They find pockets of people who claim the Free-Thinker badge and spoon feed each other misinformation, propaganda and radical hyperbole as they enable each other’s further untethering from logic.
Throughout the decades, Free Thinkers came in various forms; Some were simply anarchists, interested in mostly in rebuking power and authority figures. Some were social rebels fighting against man-made traditions, cultural constructs and heavily embedded world views we accepted without resistance. They regarded themselves as uniquely informed and inarguably correct. With that gift of awareness that eluded most others, they perceive themselves as superior to the rest of us simpletons; Us worker ants trapped in a never-ending mechanism of primal habit and indoctrination, effectively blind to our own slavery of automated responses and thought.
There is something disturbing about today’s emergence of those who dub themselves Free Thinkers and that lies in the fact that they are functioning based on emotion, not thought, not logic, not facts. Science is abandoned, truths are a burden and reality, as it irrefutably exists doesn’t anymore thus is open to debate. This deviation from reason; This departure from the tangible world and its myriad of functions- they shirking of these things they embrace as a form of liberation.
It’s not liberation. It’s a wanton desire so impermeable that they have accepted a grotesque distortion of a fantasy in order to cope with adversity or appear as if they’ve been delivered some vast insight into the secrets of the universe that science has somehow missed altogether. They know things that even the most intelligent of our species clearly missed as we are prisoners of a singular structure. We do what we are allowed. We think within the boundaries of the thought police. We fear being detached from some make-shift mother organism and developing our own self governance or manifesting an unaided perspective or untainted opinion.
Many times we dismiss those who self-identify as “free Thinkers” as wild haired neurotics living in houses of tin foil. Some might say that Einstein was free-thinker, or Benjamin Franklin who went out into a lightening storm with a kite connected to a conductive wire. Bystanders surely though that was indisputably crazy. Maybe you could argue that Da Vinci whose genius allowed him access to experimentation and the development of new concepts. None of them dismissed reality, but by their very acceptance of it, they maneuvered to re-shape it.
These are not the Free-Thinkers of today. Today, free thinkers are, in fact, eager to place themselves in the shackles of control while convincing themselves that they’re actually absolving themselves of them. Kanye West, for example, a black man who has often defined himself as a free-thinker, aligned himself with his own oppressor. He deliberately omitted all cogniscence of social conditions in an effort to appear rebellious and exalted when he was actually handing his own fate to a man who, historically, would have refused him basic human rights. He expressed absolute disinterest in was was unquestionably bad for him- and all black Americans, with the intent of appearing separated from those of us who sat in disbelief.
“You wouldn’t do this, but look at me, everyone is telling me not to, but I am! I don’t do what everyone else does! I’m not a sheep! I’m a free thinker!”
No. You’ve been radicalized enough to declare yourself your own enemy. That’s not being a free thinker or indicative of any heightened awareness; That’s self sabotage. That’s intentionally wounding yourself while the world watches, hoping that we’ll believe your proclaimed divinity will keep you alive as you bleed out in front of a man who would have happily done that on your behalf. Abandoning common sense, refuting what we know to be true or false to aggrandize yourself isn’t free thinking… that’s one letting their own ego obstruct their judgement. It’s not innovating new concepts or ideas. It’s not pioneering new paths or demonstrating things we have never before seen or considered.
Gay or Trans Republicans, black people joining groups of white nationalists, people insisting the Earth is flat just to feel they’ve gone against the grain and that somehow makes them special. Listening to flat-Earthers attempt to provide evidence that the planet is disc-shaped and the shocking confidence they have in their presentation of a shared delusion is not only bizarre, but deeply disturbing.
The fact they have developed their own organization to legitimize their ostentatious ignorance and people have subscribed to it is only evidence of an inherent need some humans have to be, not just informed, but specially informed, like Moses standing atop Mount Sinai receiving a Godly message. They want to be recognized as a people set apart from the rest of us… just because it provides them a message or a purpose. It turns an otherwise ordinary life experience into an extraordinary mission of delivering what we now call alternative facts.
Many who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election viewed themselves as free-thinkers. That superhero-like free thought gave them the courage to rebuff their responsibility to their fellow Americans, to break the establishment, which they accept as bad, and turn it on its head. It was all about the ego of influencing change via the power they recklessly wielded at the polls. Vote for the reality television star, they thought, he’ll destroy the system and set us all free from ruin. Trump brilliantly played to that demographic; Those whose ego inevitably hamstrings their discernment. They operated under the impression that they were Trump’s chosen. The promises he made appealed directly to their prejudices and fears. He represented everything that went against what we know to be good; Equality, due process, freedom of the press and he conjured up a monolithic adult version of a boy’s club in a tree house. The red hat grants you access. It is the equivalent of the white hood, but they don’t see it that way. Falling into ranks behind a chest thumping tribal chieftain of the Republican party wasn’t flipping the middle finger to the system or executing free thought… it was, despite what they’ll tell you, an abandonment of civility and refusal to co-exist peacefully with others as they see themselves as superior. Because Free-Thinkers all see themselves as operating on a different plane of wisdom and expanded knowledge… in this case, we’re all left to pay the consequences for the mass hysteria the ensues.
There is an undeniable confusion that free-thinkers suffer from, and that is their inability to tell the difference between being an individual and being a revolutionary. Revolutionaries were the true free thinkers. Susan B. Anthony, Martin Luther King, the Wright brothers, Rosa Parks, Sylvia Rivera, the people who changed the world by changing minds and expanding our scope of appreciating the experiences of those who are not like us. They weren’t peddling conspiracies or burning down their own houses to demonstrate on behalf of those who would have done it for them. They did express free thought by shedding dismissing knowledge and suppressing their awareness of social evolution to give credibility to those who hoped to thwart it. They fought for a better world and an improved quality of life. They were not these absent-minded, hate motivated rebellious teenagers who balked at things like research, hard-line evidence and preached against a common good, they were indeed revolutionaries who challenged social injustices they knew were corrupt and removed them of their self sovereignty.
Free thinkers want to set themselves on fire to push back against those they deem controllers. Revolutionaries simply want to empower and inspire the rest of the world to make it a better place. They were devoted to a cause, as where free thinkers are mere followers of a mythical design and devoted only to self interest.
In the end, they only hurt themselves. We must rely on the revolutionaries to save us from the self appointed free thinkers.