Home > Liberty Under Attack > [Tru Blu Tuesday] Just Be You: The Fight for Your Mind and Heart

[Tru Blu Tuesday] Just Be You: The Fight for Your Mind and Heart

     I’d like to detour from the usual politics and write about something that has bothered me for some time now. To be honest, I apply it more towards politics than most anything else, but it can be applied towards almost any aspect of life. Whether it be art, health, employment, religion or any avenue in which you find your passion invested. It is the concept of individualism. We, as fellow humans on this big blue ball we call Earth, have both the innate desire to be our own master, and the debilitating crutch of needing safety and approval from others. It is only a small part of the conundrum that is humanity. But that part of us that wants to be ourselves is too often dominated by others who would prefer that we remain corralled into the ways of the rest of the herd. And that is what I would like to address today.

To be sure, we are a social race not designed to be isolated from the rest. We form families and communities quite well and operate as a functioning team, almost instinctively. Together we keep each other safe, care for each other, and benefit each other in any way we can.

However, with that said, there is a disturbing trend in our society today, and it bothers me greatly. People today have taken this group mentality to an unhealthy level. Everyone wants you to agree with them – to think and act like everybody else. They have erected specific paradigms of thought on how to view the world. Whether it is how a painting should make a person feel, or the best way to perform a task, or what religion you choose to follow, the way you live must be like everyone else. Granted, there are a lot of instances where society, through time, has figured out the best way to live for the good of one and all. Yet, even these, if challenged by an independent mind, could be made so much better, and, in turn, benefit society as a whole.

Take the wonderful example of Galileo Galilei, the famous Italian astronomer. In his day, as we know, our solar system was believed to revolve around the earth. From the casual observer this would make sense since we cannot feel the earth spin, which would make it seem logical for the sun rise and set to be cause by it orbiting us. Still, despite the political and religious institutions pressure upon him, Galileo challenged this thought. Having been influenced by Nicolaus Copernicus’ teachings, Galileo pursued his research and studies to find the truth. Once he knew he had the truth, he stuck with it even as outside forces attempted to stop him. He indeed suffered for his beliefs, but in the long run his efforts benefited mankind to a great degree. How different might our world be if the powers that were, had been victorious in stopping him? Fortunately that is only a hypothetical question, because Galileo kept his mind and heart independent of any thought he found to be untrue.

thinkingman     Unfortunately, I have personally discovered this to be true: people do not want you to be you. They hate it when you think outside the prescribed box of what is labeled “normal” or “acceptable”. They hate it when you challenge the standard, established way of thinking. They hate it when you entertain or (gasp!) act on opinions that do not line up with the accepted rational of the masses. They hate it when you realize your thoughts are your own. They hate it when you act as an individual and refuse to wear a label from the choices provided. Despite all the grandiose cheers to “be yourself” or “be independent” what they really want is for you to fall in line, submit to the current most popular train of thought. Whether that train is right or wrong doesn’t matter. I am talking about standing on principle and sticking to your guns because you value what you know and believe in too much for it to be taken away by every overconfident lamb with a mouth.

What are the consequences of this societal trend? Fewer Galileos for one. Less and less people are willing to stand up when they know something is wrong. Fewer brave souls are willing to put up a fight for what is right, because they do not want to face the pain that would likely come as a result. They do not want to take the criticism of being different. This has the effect of permitting more wrongs in the world. As more individuals succumb to the limited modes of thought provided, the right way is pushed farther away everyday.

     I’ll use my favorite political dead horse as an example to beat on. Our Republican vs. Democrat paradigm in America. Both stand for good things, such as civil liberties on the left and fiscal responsibility on the right. Yet the politicians, under their respective flags, still do so much harm in the name of their parties. “Pick a side” we’re told. Are you red or blue? Liberal or Conservative? It must be one or the other! Meanwhile, as these two raging beasts drag us down into oblivion, the Constitution is trampled on and our future grows more dim. If we were able to think independently of the two teams, we could see their shortcomings. We could chasten the politicians who betrayed us, by removing them from office and install more worthy representatives of We the People. Alas, we are blinded by the false us vs. them mentality and fall ever so quickly towards collapse.

     And this is why I write this today: to encourage anyone who reads this to think freely. Think critically. Think independently. Do not allow numbers to intimidate you or convince you that “if so many people believe this way it must be true”. Far too often the majority is wrong. Find the truth for yourself, and once you have it, never give it up. Quite honestly, if you search for the truth yourself you may very well discover that it is already approved and agreed upon by many others. But you will be stronger and better able to defend it as a result.

     It will not be easy. I can promise you that. It will be tough, sometimes heartbreaking and even despairing at times. What I can promise you though, is that you will be a better person for it. You will have more to offer the world. You will be equipped to make a difference. You will be you.

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