Identity, Ideology, and Independent Thinking

Identity is very important to us. This is one of the reasons we can become ideological. A particular religious or political group lays out a set of ideals that seem true and we feel tempted to align ourselves with the group. We have a deep desire to belong to a group of like-minded people.

We tend to consider ourselves independent thinkers, but much of the time this really just means we’ve adopted one set of ideals over another. True independent thinking doesn’t align itself with a particular ideology. Instead, it takes the best ideas from various schools of thought.

True independent thinking requires objectivity. To be willing to change your mind, based on new information. It’s easy to be wrong when you don’t have all the facts, and it’s hard to have all the facts.

There’s value in identifying with a particular group, but we must continue to keep our eyes and ears open to things outside the group. Our search for truth is never complete in this life. No group, no movement, no doctrine, no manifesto, has a complete grasp of the truth. The best any of them can do is provide a glimpse.