Free thought is typically defined as a rebellion against religious, spiritual, or other authoritative institutions. But not all who embrace free thought are freethinkers. Being a freethinker is something far more enlightening.
The key difference between a freethinker and a free thought advocate is that an advocate usually takes on a role much like a protestor. They view their responsibility as one who must continue to defiantly challenge institutions of authority. A freethinker, however, isn’t really interested in rebelling against these institutions per se.
The freethinker’s motto:
Their primary focus is on maintaining the freedom to think objectively regarding any subject matter. It’s not about rebelling for the sake of rebelling, or to act like the thought police to silence the opinions of anyone who dares to utter a religious or spiritual viewpoint. To the contrary, being a freethinker is about preserving a fundamental right that should be extended to everyone: namely, the right to think and believe anything about everything, and without the fear of being stereotyped or condemned for their thoughts.
As an art form …
I also view the unique way a freethinker uses their mind as though it were a form of art. The reason for this is due to the fact that a lot people simply choose to believe and act the way they have been taught. Yet, being a freethinker involves using the mind in highly creative ways to arrive at unique observations about life. And as an art form, becoming a freethinker is something that can be learned and cultivated.
Becoming a freethinker is also like having a spiritual awakening, albeit one that’s far more grandeur than any religious experience. A religious spiritual experience typically involves carrying out a ritual and then experiencing an emotion or state of mind as a consequence of that ritual. (Counting rosary beads or praying for example.) Yet, by not following a religious system a freethinker is free to explore the merits of other spiritual avenues, philosophies, ancient practices, or secular methods to enhance mental wellbeing.
But ultimately, what freethinkers are most interested in is discovering the truths about life. Not only the truths found by way of scientific facts, but the kind of wisdom that can only be acquired by delving into deeper concepts about life. And what’s vitally important in achieving higher levels of awareness is a clear and rational mind. Freethinkers, in other words, are thinkers. They value not only the free flow of information into their minds, but also the ability to skillfully “see” their thoughts, to analyze their thoughts, and to qualify the relevance of those thoughts.
Overall, I liken the spiritual experience of a freethinker to a life filled with aesthetic wonder and soulful wellbeing.
The freethinker’s best mental tool
And this is where being a contemplative person, or one who engages in meditation can help. It’s simply a vital tool freethinkers can use to more fully investigate the ideas they are thinking about. You see, freethinkers are natural skeptics. We’ve developed our mental sensibilities to thoroughly examine the information we allow into our heads. Especially information that seeks to control our thoughts, such as religious, philosophical, or political ideologies. Which is why taking the time to contemplate the inner workings of your mind, as well as the ideas you allow into it, is one of the best tools you can use to perfect your freethinking skills.
In a nutshell, this is what being a freethinker means to me, and it explains a bit more about the purpose behind Thinkadelics and the Art of Free Thought.