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Ayn Rand wrote that the process of thinking "is the process of defining identity and discovering causal connections." She claimed that thinking is a choice - not an automatic function - and she admonished "the act of blanking out, the willful suspension of one's consciousness, the refusal to think - not blindness, but the refusal to see; not ignorance, but the refusal to know." How often in our lives do we think critically? Research indicates that higher education is not teaching us how to think critically. So from where are we to learn and develop these skills? How often do we actively and objectively discuss the pros and cons of important issues? How often do we look deeper into facts than someone's personal opinion on a subject? How often do you diversify the sources you read? How well do you know your own biases?


If you don't own your own mind, who does? Sounds like a simple enough question, right? Each of us owns our own minds, right? Not necessarily. Many individuals do in fact operate as if their minds belong to someone else. Whether out of a desire for social approval, fear of being different, or just plain mental laziness, many individuals let other people decide what their opinions are, how to act, what values to hold - all by default. They uncritically accept the values taught by their parents, teachers, churches, or peers, rarely questioning or asking whether these ideas make sense. They don't in fact own their own minds - their minds are owned by others.

Owning your own mind means making sense of the world based on your own observations and experiences rather than just depending on the word of others. It means trusting your own ability to make judgments, even if they contradict what others say. It means acting in accordance with these judgments, even if you sometimes make mistakes. It means knowing this truth: it's better to make your own mistakes than someone else's.

Owning your own mind doesn't mean simply being contrary or reacting against the wishes of your parents or peers. If we reject what our parents, teachers or church have taught us simply because they say something is right, this doesn't make us independent thinkers. That's just what psychologists call "anti-conformity" rather than non-conformity. It's still letting someone else dictate what you are thinking - by reaction. Making up your own mind is not a reaction, it is an action...

[Some questions to ask yourself]

  • Do you have the same political views as your parents or your spouse or mate because you've never really examined or questioned these ideas or just out of mental laziness? Do you know what your political beliefs are?

  • ...Have you carefully examined or read a variety of different points of view or philosophies and then decided which one makes the most sense to you or did you just stumble haphazardly into the one that other people with your life style advocate?

  • ...Do you act in certain ways that you think you "should" because "what would the neighbors think?"

  • ...Do you fear speaking up and expressing your own view because you don't want to be embarrassed or you're afraid of social disapproval?

  • ...When you read or listen to the news, do you just accept the media's interpretations (except maybe on a few issues you feel particularly strongly about)? Do you accept the opinion of those you agree with politically or ideologically without looking at the issue or evidence for yourself?

Own Your Own Mind


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Jan 16, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=435

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We all admire beauty, but the mind ultimately must be stimulated for maximum arousal. Longevity in relationships cannot occur without a meeting of the minds. And that is what Braincrave is: a dating venue where minds meet. Learn about the thoughts of your potential match on deeper topics... topics that spawn your own insights around what you think, the choices you make, and the actions you take.

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Sep, 2017 update: Although Braincrave resulted in two confirmed marriages, the venture didn't meet financial targets. Rather than updating our outdated code base, we've removed all previous dating profiles and retained the articles that continue to generate interest. Moving to valME.io's platform supports dating profiles (which you are welcome to post) but won't allow typical date-matching functionality (e.g., location proximity, attribute similarity).

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