Intellectual Independence

“When we participate in social metaphysics, we sacrifice our own intellectual independence. You said that “As a species, our mind is the tool of survival. When we choose to avoid intellectual independence, our policy is one of self-abdication.” That was so poignantly said.

If we don’t think for ourselves, we create a void. We have to be guided by something. If we don’t think for ourselves, basically two options are left. One, we live off the beliefs or thinking of somebody else, and two, we are run by our feelings or emotions. People do a mixture of both, more often than not. This is why it is so important for parents to teach and encourage thinking in young people. One of the great disgraces of our school system is that clear thinking is not taught from an early age. Nobody should graduate from high school without being trained to understand logical fallacies.” The Path of Self-Reliance, An Interview with Nathaniel Branden by Mary Nurrie Stearns


“Social metaphysics” is a great term. It clearly communicates the gist of religion: spirituality requiring other people’s approval.

Parents and teachers need to teach children how to think, not what to think. Being told what to think is “indoctrination,” fine for joining a cult, but not so great for creating a functional adult.

Self-abdication is always a temptation, one I have personally fallen into repeatedly to my great chagrin. My life would be falling apart on some level and, lo and behold, I would find a conservative religion to join. I lean toward the personally conservative because my brothers had drug and alcohol issues. For example, I came extraordinarily close to becoming a Mormon. Instead, I became a conservative Protestant. Then, I became Greek Orthodox.

Part of me has always been desperate for a mentor, some form of guidance. Growing up, I felt my family was out of control. I knew there had to be a better way. People in my family never seemed to connect the dots when it came to their actions and the consequences they experienced. I remember one brother saying, “The boss doesn’t like me.” I was like, “Duh. You think, maybe, just maybe, it could have something to do with the fact that you show up late all the time and sometimes are high when you do?” But speaking out in my family was “inappropriate” somehow. Being stoned? Boys will be boys. Speaking up? I should really know better. Needless to say, there wasn’t ever anyone in my family (then or now) that I look up to and admire. I love my parents. They are good people. Salt of the earth. Just not that bright in some ways. They think I’m a genius. I am not a genius. I just think things through.

To me, the ultimate evangelization is when you look at someone’s life and say to yourself, “Wow. That’s what I want to be like. What do I have to do to be like them? Sign me up!”

My challenge at this stage of my life is that I am beyond most people’s intellectual level. I have an MBA. For someone to be past my level would require a doctorate. School has sharpened my thinking, making mindless obedience a thing of the past. I now know how to think. I am so alone.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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