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Think for Yourself

Think for Yourself

The Correlation Between Freedom and Education  

By Ben Wexler  

Kids are told to stay in school so that they can one day make lots of money in their career, but an education is about more than just getting a job.    

Knowledge opens the door to the freedom of having individuality of thought. Rather than leaning on education to inform us about what is right, education allows people to utilize thought processes to scrutinize ideas and decide for themselves what is true.   

“We don’t recognize that we’ve already been shaped by all of the influences and all the assumptions that we’ve absorbed over time,” expressed Conna Bond, associate professor of marketing and management at Walla Walla University. [1] Humility is essential for setting aside suppositions and having an open mind to continual learning and receptivity to new perspectives. [2] “I think truth can be examined, but sometimes we’re afraid to do that,” continued Bond. [3]   

Professor Conna Bond.

River Sutton, a junior pre-law and humanities double major, believes that “if you learn how to apply knowledge in fields that might have the biggest impact on you, such as politics or health, you can make better and more informed choices for yourself.” When you make decisions for yourself, you understand your position in the world and control the measure of influence that you allow into your life. [4]  

Pre-law and humanities double major, River Sutton.

We can’t get away from news coming at us from all angles, but those well-informed individuals are able to discern between truth and falsehood by utilizing critical thinking to sort through the noise of information from media outlets. [5]  

Connecting more deeply with people is the result of having a well-rounded knowledge of a wide variety of topics. Sutton agreed that “you could talk to anybody about anything for at least 15 minutes.” Understanding different perspectives and topics allows you to meet people where they are and create long-lasting relationships. [6]  

The ability to attain goals is dependent on self-reflection. Self-reflection allows us to think critically about the past and grow from mistakes. When we self-reflect, we actively participate in the freedom of shaping our own future. [7]  

Similarly, Sutton utilized critical thinking to be self-aware and stay aligned with goals. “I can get short term boost of the feel-good chemicals from playing video games, or I can also suffer a little bit more, but improve,” (by pursuing hobbies, reading or working out) explained Sutton. The small decisions to choose productivity over slothfulness are likely to result in one’s growth. [8]  

Nick Forte, a lifelong high school teacher, stated that “a good education system gives students the freedom to recognize their capabilities and individual potentials.” [9] Education leads to self-exploration that opens one’s mind to new hobbies and interests, passion-filled career choices, and endless endeavors you may never have discovered if you didn’t first learn they existed. [10]  

Educated decisions not only lead to personal freedom but are also necessary to the growth of society and the economy. The skyscrapers looming over metropolitan cities, medicines that heal you when you’re sick, and the computers that you rely upon daily would fail to exist if it wasn’t for the people who formulated and executed their ideas that resulted in development. [11]  

See Also

Using critical thinking to reflect on the past is important to shaping a better future.   

An understanding of history will allow us to guide our future decisions and avoid pitfalls that those before us fell victim to. Dr. Bond, who also holds an undergraduate degree in history, expressed that “if education is doing what it’s supposed to do, it’s helping us better understand how society works and know what we need to do in order to hold ourselves together as a society.” [12]  

Relying on an education to tell you what’s right won’t make you free. Only when you can think for yourself will you be free.    

References   

  1. Interview with Conna Bond, 3/21/22.  
  1. Cherry, K. (2022, February 17). How to become more open-minded. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/be-more-open-minded-4690673   
  1. Interview with Conna Bond, 3/21/22.  
  1. Interview with River Sutton, 3/14/22.  
  1. The importance of critical thinking, and how to improve it. University of the People. (2022, January 3). https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/why-is-critical-thinking-important/   
  1. Interview with River Sutton, 3/14/22.  
  1. The importance of critical thinking, and how to improve it. University of the People. (2022, January 3). https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/why-is-critical-thinking-important/   
  1. Interview with River Sutton, 3/14/22.  
  1. Forte, N. Freedom to Teach, Freedom to Learn. The Canadian Centre for Policies and Alternatives. Our schools –Ourselves (2009) V.18 N.4(#96).  http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Our_Schools_Ourselve/OS_Summer09_5_nick_forte.pdf  
  1. Ibid.  
  1. The importance of critical thinking, and how to improve it. University of the People. (2022, January 3). https://www.uopeople.edu/blog/why-is-critical-thinking-important/   
  1. Interview with Conna Bond, 3/21/22.  

Photos  

  1. https://www.wallawalla.edu/academics/areas-of-study/business/faculty-staff/IMG_3852.jpg. csm_ConnaBond_0ff7935efe.jpg. Professor Conna Bond.   
  1. IMG_3885.heic. Pre-law and humanities double major, River Sutton.   
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