Monday, October 7, 2013


Few days back I read this quote by Leo Tolstoy on Facebook "Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but is essential for right thinking; where it is absent discussion is apt to become worse than useless" .

I like the quote but then question came to my mind are there any true freethinkers in our world? Most of us get trained in schools, colleges or in society, our parents and mentors groom us, knowingly or unknowingly they train or condition our mind in particular way and then when we think that we are independent we look at the world with that conditioned mind, so how can we claim that we are independent or freethinkers? No doubt there were many philosophers or writers who with their own imagination or thinking process created new ideas and philosophies, they tried to think out of the box and many of them were successful in producing some brilliant work which we still study even after centuries. We all have this capacity to become freethinkers like them, we all are born with it but we rarely use it, because whenever we try to go out of that well defined secure box (which consists of boundaries set by our social and intellectual upbringing) either we feel very uncomfortable, guilty or many times we are scared about people's reaction and most of the time we reject those thoughts before even testing them for their validity.

So question is, do we have any freethinkers? Are they some special people? I think anybody who is not afraid of challenging well established ideas, people who dare to propose something new which was never thought before, who can even challenge their own ideas and are not ashamed if proven wrong are true freethinkers. Even though they are the product of same educational or social system through which we all go they dare to think something totally different, they have courage to face contradiction which exists in our lives and have courage to express those thoughts and pursue new ideas even if its outcome is unknown. It's not necessary that always these type of people will be successful or always they come up with some great ideas, sometimes it can also be a disaster but it's bound to be different, according to me all these people are freethinkers. They are present in every family, every society and neighborhood, we all meet them, see them but just because they are not that famous don't notice them. We all have certain prejudices and biases but few of us can overcome them and think beyond that, when we do that anyone of us can become a freethinker. Not only we restrict our thinking by all our inhibitions but while doing this we also fail to understand others thoughts, we reject new ideas before even evaluating them, we need to overcome these inhibitions not only to think freely but also to appreciate new ideas and philosophies of others. 

Lets try to make ourselves free from many inhibitions which stop us from welcoming well deserving new ideas and concepts, same inhibitions stop us from questioning or criticizing age old beliefs which we accept blindly in name of tradition or culture. I know that it's not easy to get rid of them so easily, they are part of our society for ages, if we can not get rid of those inhibitions altogether then let's at least try to control them no matter from where they originate, doesn't matter whether they come from, our religion, culture, social constrains, education, training or anything else, let's shed them and try to become freethinkers, it's definitely lot of fun than being a blind follower and still it's not illegal in many countries to express your thoughts, so let's give us a chance to become a freethinker.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]


  1. And your Facebook link is?

    1. I don't remember on whose Facebook wall I read this but the quote is attributed to Leo Tolstoy and I think that's more important than where I read it. Let me know if this is wrong, so that I can give credit to real author. Thanks.