Sometimes, I conclude what is arguably a depressing thought – “can anyone really think for themselves anymore?” If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking, “I can totally think for myself, what is this writer rambling on about?”. But if you really think about it, in this day and age, people are fed so much subtly tainted data and information. Everyone wants to follow the trends and fads. The truth is, society makes a huge impact on our thoughts and opinions whether we realize it or not.
The youth is especially impressionable, and it has been ingrained in our heads from a very young age that everything in the world is either black or white. Remember as a little kid when adults would tell you about something that you barely knew about and was not even relevant to your age group? They would tell you whether it was a good thing or a bad thing and whether to avoid it or not. Take the controversial topic of marijuana, for example. I know back when I was little, I thought marijuana was up there with the most evil things in the world and made you a terrible person. Looking back, I realize how close-minded my views were, and though I don’t advocate marijuana, I know that there are much worse things out there for you. I honestly don’t think most little kids even know exactly why drugs are bad, just that they are all bad and that is the end of it.
I also think a huge reason for why most people can’t think for themselves anymore is due to mob mentality. It’s a fact that the easiest way out is to go along with the majority and your peers because it’s the safest way. You won’t have to face criticism alone because you are part of a group and it becomes an ‘us vs. them’ type of attitude.
In fact, it can be tiring and sometimes even downright scary if you have to question or doubt your own beliefs and principles, essentially what defines you as a person. The truth of the matter is being a true individual is not an easy thing to do. A perfect example lies in America’s present political scene, or, the never-ending bickering between the Democrats and Republicans. People align themselves with one party, usually the one that encompasses most of their beliefs, and stick with that one party. In other words, my party is right, therefore, the other party is dead wrong.
This is also another case where we think of things as black and white and don’t consider a middle ground. Even when the party or group a person supports may be wrong, the person will most likely ignore the issue rather than bring it into question. It’s simply because no one wants to be wrong, and that no one wants to deal with the inner conflict the issue causes.
Being a conformist is easy. It’s safe, gains acceptance from our peers, and is simpler. However, it leaves little room to think and grow. When you think for yourself, you expand your mind and develop more as a person. Doubting yourself is part of the learning process, and I think keeping an open-mind is the key to learning more about yourself and the world around you. Frankly, I believe thinking and analyzing is one of the more interesting aspects about being human, and I don’t think it’s worth giving away for the comfort of acceptance from others.