Learn From Everyone But Be Your Own Teacher
Extracted from the pre-released book Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion by John G. Vibes.
We should have the ability to learn from everyone and everything around us, but there is no need to limit ourselves by ignoring information that may be contrary to our viewpoints.
Even my own work is merely one resource of many, and after you finish reading this I urge you to continue your research so you can form your own unique opinions about what’s going on in the world. No one source of information should be the foundation of your world view, when that happens you are giving another person the power of thinking for you.
Throughout most of the world people are taught to look at society in a very polarized way.
When certain issues are presented to us through mainstream circles they are usually
oversimplified to the point where all concepts are either black or white, and all people are either good or bad, with no in between. The reality of the situation is that things are much more complicated than that; there are usually many different ways of looking at things and many different sides to the story. This is especially true in the study of philosophy, because terms are constantly being redefined and ideas constantly reexamined with every new generation of philosophers, in order to accommodate the new insight and information that has become available over time. Things are much more complicated than simply picking a political party or social clique and subscribing yourself to a whole system of beliefs based on other people’s ideas.
Unfortunately, this is the kind of approach that is generally embraced worldwide partly because this is how we have been taught to think and partly because it’s a lot easier than doing all of the rigorous research and contemplation necessary to get to the bottom of important social issues.
Especially today, with the incredible amount of contradictory information that is available on the internet people are becoming increasingly overwhelmed when trying to separate fact from fiction. Sifting through all of this information and comparing it with each other in contemplation isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary part of achieving any kind of certainty in your research.
This is the difference between coming to your own conclusions instead of just adopting the conclusions of others. There are plenty of people out there with great ideas, and there’s nothing wrong with having a few trusted researchers that you regularly look to for reliable information, but don’t take anyone’s word at face value and don’t disregard information purely on the source without confirming its inaccuracy for yourself.
There are plenty of researchers out there who are very knowledgeable and on point in some respects, while still uninformed and off base in many other areas that they comment on.
This is why we should critically assess all of the information we come across, and search for alternative views to get a well-rounded idea of what we are trying to figure out. There are researchers out there who are brilliant in terms of analyzing foreign policy, but who have terribly misguided views on economics. A perfect example of this would be someone like Noam Chomsky who we all can learn a lot from in many different areas of research, especially foreign policy and war, but his views on economics are sadly rooted in statist propaganda. On the other hand someone like Stephan Molyneux I agree with on everything relating to government and economics, yet I totally disagree with him on psychedelics, alternative lifestyles, mainstream science and spirituality. I’m not knocking anyone, I’m just giving examples of how everyone has their strong positions and their weak positions, so it’s best to come to your own conclusions, instead of just taking on someone else’s, even if it’s someone you usually agree with on other issues. I’m sure I have plenty of blind spots of my own just like anyone else, but this is exactly why it is important to look up everything for ourselves, and check the source documentation to confirm that the information we are receiving is accurate.
No one has all the right answers all the time, and if someone pretends to, you might want to proceed with extra caution. For far too long learning has been a top down process in our culture, and someday those who come after us will look back in horror at the methods that were used to stifle one of the most vital resources on the planet, the human imagination.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance at bookpatch.com.
Check out John’s interview on Anarchast.
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