People should think for themselves instead of automatically accepting what others say.

One kind of independent thinking is verification of claims, i.e. not accepting any claim at face value, but verifying it yourself. This is because all humans sometimes make mistakes and false or inaccurate claims, so all claims must be checked independently and not automatically believed.

Another kind is testing advice given to you by someone else, no matter how well-intentioned the advisor may be. This is because every person is unique, and only he can ultimately discover what attitudes, thoughts, and actions prove useful to him. Every person needs to decide for themselves, and not blindly follow what someone else says. One should also regularly listen to himself, i.e. make time to carry out an “internal conversation” through which his feelings, desires, goals, attitudes etc. are discovered and developed.

It is sometimes not easy to dissent from social norms and traditions, but being an automatic conformist is betraying who you really are, and the eventual results are restlessness, anger, depression, anxiety, or a feeling of not being fulfilled.

We should not accept any claim, advice, command, rule, or view issued by figures of authority such as parents, teachers, experts, politicians, religious figures, etc. without independently verifying ourselves that they are correct, useful, and not harmful. This is because people in positions of authority have a tendency to abuse their power (sometimes unintentionally or unconsciously) and to impose their opinions or will on others. Therefore, one should carefully examine what they say in light of one’s own well-being as well as that of others.

This is true, in particular, for commands given by authorities such as government officials and military officers. The claim “I was just following orders” was used to justify too many atrocities in the history of the world. We do not want blind obedience. We want people who independently analyze the situation and act in accordance with values of kindness and consideration of others.

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