Social Question

philosopher's avatar

Can you think for yourself?

Asked by philosopher (9160points) February 6th, 2012

Is our modern day Society losing the ability to think about tomorrow? Are to many people demanding instant gratification?
If you had a month to run your company and prove you could. Could you? What would change?
People need motivation, reason and foresight. Not to be bullied and treated like sheep.
People need to learn how to think for themselves.
Do you agree, disagree or are you unsure. Why?

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29 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I think for myself. i have always marched to the sound of my own drummer and never cared what other people thought,

philosopher's avatar

Good for you. I am the same.
I think the ability to think for yourself is an important skill. Too many young people do not seem to have it.
How can we teach those that can not?

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Yes, and for a lot of other people, apparently ~

Coloma's avatar

I’ve always been an independent thinker, hence my non-conformist lifestyle and entrepreneurish spirit. I think that being “driven” from within, in an innovative and creative manner far outweighs following the pack. I too have never cared what others think, I am my own person and I live in congruence to self. I long ago stopped trying to fit the square peg in the round hole.

Diversity is good and it’s a shame more people are too fearful to approach their lives and work in ways that align more with their true selves.
Clearly, most of the our greatest contributors to humanity have come from divergent thinkers that were not afraid to go way out on a limb, even at risk of ostricism and death in honor of their convictions.
This holds true in the realm or the arts, politics, literature, medicine, science, on & on.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I just had this discussion with a couple of friends, relating to how much the internet has impacted the mind-set of younger than myself persons. I’m not sure where the age cut-off is, but I have noticed a trend of younger ones assuming that if you can’t find it on the internet it simply doesn’t exist (despite the evidence of their own experience, perhaps), and that a few links on the internet can negate all arguments to the contrary by people who either cannot locate appropriate links to refute cue Deliverance theme their links, or are educated enough away from the internet to refute their links.
The concept of “thinking for oneself” has changed. My deductive reasoning skills are excellent, and I’m old enough that all of my conclusions do not need to be validated by. the internet.
All that said, I would love to know if studies have been done, vis a vis critical thinking skills developed with and/or without full internet access. And, yes, I do appreciate the irony of that.

ragingloli's avatar

Yes. Which is the reason why I am hated on Sodahead.

wundayatta's avatar

I do not think for myself. I think for you!

Is that not why you ask me questions?

philosopher's avatar

You made my point.
I agree.
I wish more people undertood what you do.
It seems too many people today copy and emulate everything. They can not think outside the box or be themselves.

Jude's avatar

I have to chuckle at my own response (after Marinelife’s).

TexasDude's avatar

Is our modern day Society losing the ability to think about tomorrow?

People have always been like that. If anything, we are more aware of the consequences of our actions now.

Are too many people demanding instant gratification?

Part of human nature.

If you had a month to run your company and prove you could. Could you? What would change?

Like a business? I think so.

People need motivation, reason and foresight. Not to be bullied and treated like sheep.

Agreed. I think that a large portion, if not most people, psychologically need to be treated like “sheep” because they are too lazy to form their own direction or to motivate themselves. I’m not excluding myself from this, at times.

People need to learn how to think for themselves.

Good luck with that.

Coloma's avatar

@philosopher has it’s price, I have joked for years about always inhabiting a gray area. lol But, I’m a happy little camper, and I have no regrets. :-)

wundayatta's avatar

@Jude Oh, I thought you did that on purpose. I was amused.

No longer.


marinelife's avatar

@philosopher I think education programs that teach critical thinking skills are very valuable.

thorninmud's avatar

Thinking for oneself is only a part of the picture. One needs to take into account the phenomenon of the wisdom of the crowd. My thinking is subject to all kinds of biases; some I know I’m susceptible to, so I watch out for them, others will blindside me.

I try to approach my thinking with humility. If I find that my thinking departs radically from the “wisdom of the crowd”, well, maybe I have had some insight that others have overlooked. Or maybe I’ve been waylaid once again by my biases and fallacies. Either way, I take this as a signal that I need to take a longer, closer look at my conclusion.

Thinking for yourself is great. But being skeptical of one’s own thinking is equally important. As Feynman once said, “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool.”

janbb's avatar

Who else is going to think for me if I do not think for myself?

JilltheTooth's avatar

That’s OK, Little Penguin, I’ve gotcha covered… that should keep you up nights! ;-)

MilkyWay's avatar

Can I think for myself? Of course I can.
Everyone needs to be able to think for themselves, otherwise they won’t get anywhere in life. Independant thinking is not only important for success in any area in your life, but is also important in developing your ownself as a person. You will never get to know yourself if you don’t know what you think, let alone other people. And that is essential for any human being.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

I’m having a problem with this very topic.
I tend to rely on others’ opinions and thoughts to guide my decisions. I think that’s why I don’t know myself to know what I like, dislike, think. I do know my principles, but when it comes to everything else, I try to please other people, and rely on their opinions to make my decisions to make them happy.

Coloma's avatar


Now you just STOP that! lol
Drop the people pleasing, it’s liberating as hell and in the end, no matter what advice you get, you still have to make your own choice. I rarely seek advice, one must be captain of their own ship, and most people pilot a ship of fools. lol

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@Coloma I don’t know how! Lol.
I’ve always cared about what other people think, if I’m disappointing them, if they think I’m doing something that would turn out to be a big mistake.

Coloma's avatar

You just learn to care-less. lol
If you let others approval/disapproval control your actions you are living by their mandates not your own. I’m not saying harm anyone by not taking their feelings into consideration, but…don;t allow others to control you via their opinions of what THEY think you shuld do. Don’t should on yourself! :-)

Turn it around, if THEY really care about you they will allow you freedom to do and be what works for you.

philosopher's avatar

You can listen to what your family and friends think and say. Find out what the facts are and what is best for you.
There is a song from when I was young about a Garden party where a popular singer couldn’t please everyone. He learned to please himself first.
You know what works best for you and we must all do what is best for us. No one else will. Expect for maybe our husband, wife or a very close friend.
I raised this question because I see people listening to Political rhetoric. I believe non of them.
None of the Politicians base their views on documentation. You have to search for the truth because all the Media slants it too. I am so tried of listening to them lie. They assume we are all dumb enough to believe their party line.
I also have a sister in law who is a manipulative control freak. I say No and what part of No don’t you understand?
My husband can’t do enough for her.
If we call her she says, I have to go. She calls weekly for help and favors and; often too late.
I have a stressful life. I am the parent and the Guardian of my autistic son. I am done being too nice.

Aesthetic_Mess's avatar

@philosopher Good advice….
It will definitely be new for me. I have always been listening and doing what others want….so much so that I don’t even know myself!

HungryGuy's avatar

No. I depend on the computer interfaced to my brain to do my thinking for me.

Berserker's avatar

I can think for myself, although I don’t really have a choice to conform to social standards. That doesn’t mean I believe everything I’m fed, or that I praise the government or march in the armies of trends and expectations. I do what I want and how I want it, if I can.

YARNLADY's avatar

I’ve never felt I had much of a choice, since my way of thinking seems to be at odds with most other people.

Paradox25's avatar

Yes, which is why I tend to get into arguments with both many atheists and religionists since I support the secular argument for a god (yes there is a secular case for god that has nothing to do with religion). I also tend to get into arguments with both many progressives and self described conservatives politically. I also have changed some of my stances and beliefs over the years so I would definitely consider myself to be an independent thinker. I don’t oppose just for the sake of being different though some people have accused me of doing this.

philosopher's avatar

I am more comfortable with people who can do the work and figure things out. I disrespect people who behave like sheep and always go with the flow. These type of people are why America has a lousy Economy.
We have bright people here who could find solutions but both parties seem to be against real solutions.
They all work for their own best interest, They placate China, Terrorist and the one percent. They Scape Goat the Middle Class and everyone for their own greed.
People are often angry with me because; I will make waves if, anyone dear think they can abuse me or; any decent human while I am watching.
I support my family and friends. I get strange looks and comments. I tell them No many times and insist they do things properly. In the end I win 99% of the time. Simply because I do not accept incompetent abusive people.
I never back down when I know I am right. Tom Petty wrote down the words I live by in a song.
They make dislike me but they learn to respect me.
LOL I No longer care if most people like me. My friends and family love me. They respect me and support me.
I No longer need the approval of the Majority.

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