Opinion: Five Reasons to be a Critical Thinker Not a Freethinker
“Freethinkers” – this trendy slang being slung around on social media outlets by the self-proclaimed politically woke as if they have suddenly reached enlightenment. On a literal note, a freethinker is someone who thinks freely or independently, so long as their basis of reasoning rejects or is skeptical of religion, authority and tradition. Wait a minute – isn’t it a bit of a bait and switch to using the term freethinker, then define it as free thought but with specific exclusions?
Contrary to the attractive term, anytime there are thought limits, there must be thought control.
Although the sentiment may be coming from an adaptive place in modern-day society, where it is very uncool and even mockable to consider religion, authority, or tradition, when forming opinions about the world and especially politics, it is quite impossible to foster true freedom and diversity of thought when there are limits to how thoughts are created. It is also impossible to form a fully comprehensive view of something when it is constructed with intentional ignorance of major areas of society.
Rather, there are much more logical, scientific guidelines to follow when forming thoughts and ideas, ones that are much freer than freethinking. Namely, these guidelines are encompassed in the definition of, “Critical Thinking”, which states:
The intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Note that “critical thinking” simply details a concise method for processing information, it is sort of a “how-to” for thought formation. Unlike freethinking, it does not say process everything, but do not consider “_____”.
Therefore, here are five solid reasons to be a Critical Thinker instead of a Freethinker.
- Critical Thinking -> Rationalized Answers
100% of the world’s population is subject to some form of government, 84% of the world is religious and anyone who is religious or subjected to government is, therefore, following some sort of tradition. Actively analyzing and evaluating all sides of something, including those of religious, authoritative, or traditional background, will lead to a more whole and comprehensive conclusion. In argumentation and persuasion, it is always advantageous to acknowledge counterarguments, as this challenges a person to understand why they believe what they do and strengthens their stance.
- Understanding > Ignorance
Freethinkers will have an Achilles’ heel in understanding as they choose to reject ideals that billions of other people follow. Critical Thinkers will not, as there are no limitations in what they should or shouldn’t take into consideration. No limitations = true freedom.
- Being “Anti” ≠ Free
Blind skepticism is just as bad as blind acceptance. Yes, it’s a good thing to be skeptical and not blindly accept things at face value. However, it is not a good thing to avoid looking for validity or truth to previously held ways of thinking. There may or may not be some. The price of skepticism is thorough investigation.
- Freethinkers Are Basically Anarchists…
…although they don’t realize it. Anarchy in the political sense means the absence of government and absolute freedom of the individual. Sound familiar?
- Critical Thinkers Are Just Based
They come to conclusions rationally and logically by synthesizing all information and experiences, without selectively including or excluding sectors of society.
Why does it matter? Modern issues can only be addressed using critical thinking and true freedom of thought. It is impractical to attempt solving problems pertaining to religion (for example), without an understanding of religion – so on and so forth with tradition and authority. Because the world is rapidly changing and growing, it is essential to kick limited thinking to the curb. Ingenuity, innovation and creativity is needed now more than ever to produce out-of-the-box, forward-thinking ideas and solutions that have been built in light of any long-held social constructs.