What are we doing? For a group of atheists, humanists & freethinkers the forum is rather quiet. Our world leaders are political scientists. Another word for a political scientist is a social engineer. Social engineering is influencing behavior of large groups of people. We have people that are actively trying to make us think in particular consistent complacent ways. We have television dumbing us down. We have schools trying to teach children the anti-science of creationism. Our leaders are the epitome of ignorance. They are pro-war and anti-intellectuals. How are we to break this bondage?

What most people don't see is that freedom of thought means nothing if you have been conditioned to think in a certain way. My dog has freedom of thought, but it will only act and think in ways that I have trained it to.

How deep is our bondage? Are we really freethinkers? All atheism means is to be free from the concept of god. But are we free from the concept of Atheism? Is everyone here to just further their cause? Whether it is political or self (hooking up), is there anyone curios about how deep our Pavlovian conditioning has become? How deep has advertising buried itself in our psyche?

Are we really freethinkers?

kenney

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Interesting post.

However, I would like you to point out exactly what is binding atheists (I am not an atheist myself so I can't say us), humanists and freethinkers?
I think that any concept that forces people to act in a certain way or if people believe in that concept without a shadow of a doubt is binding.

There are many atheists I know that believe that there are no god(s) so thoroughly that they offer no room that they are wrong. I am about 95% certain that no gods exist but i will always keep an open mind and retain the ability to radically change my worldview if the proper evidence has presented itself.

Humanism is beautiful. I agree with its tenets but some people are too zealous about it and carry things too far. Think of the internet based group called Anonymous. They campaign against The Church of Scientology but some of there methods are illegal such as preforming denial of service attacks on COS websites.

I in no way am claiming that any of these things are the norm but I can say I see zealous behavior more then I would like.

kenney
It's going beyond the accepted definition and into another realm completely, but there would technically be no such thing as free thinkers... only those who intend to attempt that which is closer to free thought. Determinism and chaos theory don't really leave any room...
Ahh great thought. everything must follow the laws of cause and effect (science) therefore as long as the laws aren't chosen at random the future is in a sense predetermined. Even our own behavior is molded by the laws of cause and effect therefore all our actions must then follow a certain path. The very definition of a god is a consciousness that is not bound by these laws. Ultimately there is no escape.
You have touched on a very recursive thought. Once you think outside the box...how big is that second box beyond which your thinking breaks down? I face this very often in my discussions against Monogamy. For many people, they have never even thought about having more than one partner in a long term fashion. The idea has never occurred to them.

You bring up the same idea for all of us who consider ourselves "free thinkers." What have we simply never even considered? I'll give an example that should be on the extreme side of the box for most Westerners. Slavery. Imagine what our culture would be if slavery existed, not based on race, but on some other quality. Perhaps income, or intelligence. I am in no way advocating for that, but I present this idea for people to seriously imagine. Think of how life, our views on life, on justice, on relationships, caste systems, politics...think how it would change.

Just an example.
There are many, many areas of which you speak of here. I struggle with one every day too, namely that I don't like to be categorized into either gender because I feel I fit into none. That is very unimaginable for people. Either you are a male or a female, not nothing or both. Then add all stereotypes and expectations on both genders, you have to be this or that, expectations people put on you only by seeing your name or seeing you on the street before even knowing you.

But my question is more specific than "what is it that few people here thought of before but still expect". My question is "what is the norm for free thinkers?" and "how do we break of this norm?"
That is interesting that you say you fit into no particular gender. Virtually every religion has esoteric roots that contain elements of androgyny. The ancients very often confused physical androgyny with spiritual androgyny. The difference is that physical andro deals with the physical manifestations of andro (the social construction of male and female) and spiritual andro deals with being masculine when necessary and feminine when necessary. if you start a new thread we can talk about it more.

Your question: how do we determine and break the norm for freethinkers?

I don't think we should try to break what we view to be the norm for freethinkers. i think we should be trying to break our own norm (as an individual) whatever it is. the only think we can do with other people is ask hard questions and hope they think about the answers.
I can start such a thread if you wish, although I certainly lack historical knowledge in the area to maybe actively discuss in it myself. If you wish to fill in though, you can do that. I have studied some about genders etc for my psychology class, but as you understand, it was on another level. I more or less just debunked the biologist view.

To getting back on topic and to reply your answer to my question, then if we further expand on what you said, how can we broaden that view? I mean, basically we freethinkers are that, people that try to think outside the box. Still we are what you said, limited by culture and hidden norms we might not even be aware of that we follow every day when we sleep, eat, watch TV, have sex, sit and troll on the internet.

I guess the aim should be for self awareness of these norms and how to learn to avoid getting into the mind traps.
I read once that any man that can seriously consider anything, no matter how ridiculous, and its implications ranks among the greatest of philosophers.

If people could accept it and we were to somehow be able to form a stable society based on it I think it would do wonders for our economy. It would would bring every faucet of life up a couple notches, but at the expense of the slaves. maybe you should start a new post...
I've asked myself many of the same questions you have posed. Honestly, its getting difficult for me to tell at times... For example in the U.S. we really only have two choices for a political party - Republican or Democrat; there are others, but these are the only parties that have a snow ball's chance in hell to win any election. Granted the independent party and the libertarian party are growing, but they are still in the minority. To me it seems odd that in the land of opportunity and choice, we have systematically boiled it down to two political choices that are extremely flawed.

The worst case scenario is the US will reach its zenith, and can no longer function as a state. We fall (much like Rome), we go into anarchy for a wee bit, and then we rebuild and maintain order again.

The secular humanist group represents almost 20% (and growing) of Americans today; we out number a lot of religious groups. If the 'out campaign' takes a strong hold in America, and our numbers rise, we'll be able to get our people in governmental offices. We can promote and write new bills and try to get them passed to help improve our school systems, and stop giving tax payers money to religious groups. That would be a set in the right direction to encourage others to think for themselves.

Those who are already freethinkers face the problem you speak of; at least we can talk to others who are on the fence about their beliefs and encourage them to ask themselves the hard questions we have all asked ourselves at one point in our life. My only suggestion is to keep asking questions, and keep searching for answers, but not let that get in the way of living life to the fullest.

I think the secondary box we need to think outside of is politics. The box outside of that is education. The box outside of that is media and entertainment. And so on... I know there are people out there who want to do the right thing politically, and right now we have a lot of sleezy people in office who commit white collar crimes everyday without being caught, and its a damn shame. Our education system is in the shitter, and the only way to fix that is to fix the system (the government) that gives these educational institutions money.

There are so many avenues of free thought anyone could pursue. I wish we were at a point in our civilization where we could focus on science, the universe, and unexplained phenomena. As long as we continue to question I think we'll be okay.
i agree on every point.
No matter what, I think, people will be under one constraint or another. It's life. Like, I doubt many here would be fine with people thinking racist thoughts. We don't agree with it and we try to constrict it and weed it out, it's our current culture. No matter what, there will never be true freedom of thought, but it's still a good thing to fight for. I'd prefer living in a large cage than tied up and gagged my entire life. :P

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