Machinery of Freedom - Ask questions like a young child

in freedom •  2 years ago

From wikipedia


I grew up in the several states of the united States of America and spent my foundational years being educated in the public schools.

Since I started my journey down the rabbit hole of freedom (about 22 years ago), I've entered stages of cognitive dissonance, disbelief, outrage, anger, and finally acceptance, adaptation, and awakening.

During this period, which happened over the span of a good decade (and is, in truth, still happening), it occurred to me that the most powerful tool for becoming truly free was to embrace a concept that was mostly beaten out of me before I turned twenty.

That tool, believe it or not, was asking questions about anything that I lacked first hand knowledge of.

How children question

If you spend time around young children, you will inevitably be plagued by questions about almost everything. I have six children (two from my first marriage, four more being from my second wifes first marriage), but spending any time around even one young child will give you more questions to answer than you can shake a stick at.

For each question you answer, at least one more question will pop up to replace it. Often, there will be more than one question in response to your answers.

Eventually, you are tempted to fall back on a non explanation such as that is just how it is to avoid the inevitable follow up questions, whether that is because you are tired of answering questions or you simply don't know the answer.

Confusing First Hand Knowledge with Education

Most of what the average man or woman knows in the united States is not true.

That is not because we are idiots and morons, but because of two prime movers:

  1. We spend almost all of our formative years in institutions called public schools, being told not only what to think, but how to think about it by authority figures (teachers).
  2. Outside of school, we watch way too much television, inevitably learning from the corporate government controlled media, which does an amazing job of framing the discussions that we are allowed to consider and filtering the information we have access to. (not quite as true now that the internet has become pervasive)

Unless we have parents who help break the lies down for what they are, we come to believe things simply because everyone knows them to be true, even though they were just told these things and have never proven them to be true themselves.

Most of us completely confuse knowledge with belief, not even realizing that we are doing so.

Consider the following things that we learn in our schools:

  • The United States of America is the best country in the world
  • We are a free people
  • We split from England because the King was oppressive
  • Our first president was George Washington
  • The civil war was fought to free the slaves
  • The 14th amendment freed the slaves
  • We had a manifest destiny to expand our territory
  • The US Dollar is money
  • Legislation is Law
  • We have a representative democracy as our form of government
  • Our government is good
  • Clouds are formed via water in the atmosphere
  • The moon rotates around the earth
  • The earth rotates around the sun
  • You have to go to college if you want to get a good job
  • Shampoo is good for your hair

Do you know which of these statements are true?

If you believe any of them to be true OR false, do you believe such because:

  • (a) You have proved it true to yourself
  • (b) You read it somewhere, heard it from other people, or were told such by someone you trust

In almost every case, you will find that 90% of what you know is actually what you believe because of (b) above.

Until you can realize what things you have first hand knowledge of and what things you do not, you have no reliable ability to distinguish truth from fiction.

First hand knowledge stems from factual findings YOU have made for yourself.

Everything else is faith based knowledge because you think it true simply because someone else told it to you.

Until you have tested your belief against reality, you need to realize that it is only a belief, whether that belief is related to how gravity works or how free you are.

Breaking the Chains

For me, the first step towards becoming as free as I want to be (I'm still working on it...) was to be able to take the role of an outside observer and consider which facts I had in my mind were not actually facts.

This is the source of cognitive dissonance, the facts you know being in direct opposition to the reality you are experiencing.

So called teenage rebellion is a good example of this. As your mind forms and you start to see the cracks in reality, everyone you know hammers at you to conform.

Most people conform eventually. Those who journey too far down the rabbit hole are marginalized.

Becoming Free requires Seeing Clearly

In order to become truly free, you must take the painful step of learning to see things for what they factually are. Indeed, you need to become the dragon.

The first step on the path of freedom was, for me, becoming able to discern knowledge proven by first hand experience from knowledge received via some other party without any confirmation of truth.

Of course, learning to see what you don't factually know is but one of the first steps towards freedom. Even so, it is (at least in my mind) a very important one.

Question like a young child

Once you know what you don't know, reach down, find your inner four year old, and ask questions mercilessly.

Do not accept answers such as because I said so or because X said so.

Test any and all answers against the lens of your own personal experience then test them against factual reality if necessary.

Even if you are 99% certain that something is true (e.g. the earth is round), unless you have circumnavigated the world yourself (or have some other factual basis for such a belief) you should keep in mind the fact that this knowledge is not first hand knowledge, but rather most likely accurate knowledge that would require strong arguments to potentially overcome.

Don't fall into the trap of false knowledge and your path shall be much easier than it might otherwise be.

Authors get paid when people like you upvote their post.
If you enjoyed what you read here, create your account today and start earning FREE STEEM!
Sort Order:  

It took me a solid decade to unlearn what I learned... and even a decade after that and I am still occasionally surprised by what I still don't have a clue about.


It doesn't help that history is pretty much a lie and the reporting of "current events" isn't much better. I know this from direct experience. The MainStreamNews media is so slanted toward the politically correct that its the next thing to a lie. Oddly enough the absolute best way to lie is to selectively tell the truth in the wrong (or no) context.

A wise man is said to have said

"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."

Whether he said that or not I'm confident that it's a true statement.

Very good post. Excellent even.


ooops hope your not a flat-earther.../

However, I LOVE this post and I also intend to do this subject, because my middle nam,e is 'ask questions'. Not as in because you will get THE answer and that's that. More so the very flow/play/intelligence OF questioning is the verbal living action. It is never-ending because life is mysterious. Authoritarians HATE questioning because they are all about building rigid toxic dead structures means to stifle any creativity

About the round Earth. it helps to be aware of all the available evidence that reveals totally the Earth is round, and the originators of the absurd belief itself which were the Freemasons!

Christians will go on, and on, and...on about 'Jesus'. But question them and ask where is the historical evidence for this character? What they give is not evidence
Same is so for Muhammad, so-called prophet of Islam, and even Gautama Siddharta, the so-called Buddha. Once you question this it doesn't mean you become some hard-nosed deadened materialist, because you question that and its scientism also!

Questioning is living, is liberating, is freedom~~~


no I'm not a flat earther. why would you say such a thing? I was born in Plainview texas. It's flat there, everything is in "Plain View", no trees, no mountain, no hills, no rivers, nothing to hide behind. You can see things a long ways off. All the the way to the horizon actually.. If you are six foot tall that's about see three miles.
For an observer on the ground with eye level at h = 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m), the horizon is at a distance of 2.9 miles (4.7 km). For an observer standing on a hill or tower 100 feet (30 m) in height, the horizon is at a distance of 12.2 miles (19.6 km).
Therefore: When I climbed on top of something tall (a grain elevator), or the top of the tallest building in town. I could see farther, in fact I could see the next town over, quarter way. which is half way to halfway which is half way to Olton which is twenty five miles a way.
I could also see edmonson, Kress and other places near by.

. How else could that happen unless were are living on a sphere?

Flat Earthers are willfully ignorant people.

Well written post Tony that I agree with completely. Glad to see you getting some love for this one. Keep up the good work. I tend to up vote all of your posts (though my vote is not worth much financially) just because they tend to have valuable information. This is the first that I up voted not for new information (because, I'd already come to these conclusions as well), but because it just a good and well written post. Well done.


Thanks dwinblood! I really appreciate the confidence =) I try to keep up with your posts as well as you have lots of good food for thought.

I was shocked waking up this morning to see how well this particular post is doing. Of course, I have to wrap up my next post in the law series (motions) and get that up as well.


Great post! I'm gonna believe it because I know/believe you're a smart guy, based on past experience ;)

But seriously, I seem to have a similar view. I try to pare away unnecessary beliefs, or make them tentative. I try to view the endless stream of information coming in every day as a stockpile of data to be used for coming to conclusions only when necessary.

Why do we feel the need to come to conclusions on issues that we have little control over, and no stake in? For me, it seems sufficient to just take in as many sides of the story as possible and let them stew. In my experience, it's more efficient to let the subconscious process and integrate information, rather than trying to do it consciously. Answers and ideas seem to magically appear when I need them, augmented by conscious reasoning, the voice in my head accessing the invisible information.

How does this work? I don't know. I read some things here and there about neuroscience, and it's all very fascinating, but ultimately I don't need to come to a conclusion about how it works, since I'm not a neuroscientist, or neurosurgeon who needs to come to some conclusions before they cut open someone's head and peek inside.


Thanks @kendewitt ! It's kind of funny. Here we are a good 30 years after our first meeting (er, confrontation), and I can still clearly see you demanding that I leave the stupid rope ladder at Lincoln Elementary. laughs

For some reason, I'm almost always out of my head, analyzing what is going on and trying to objectively look at the facts to form an unbiased opinion, as if that were possible.

I do my best work after sleeping once my subconscious has had a chance to process inputs that I was not aware of. Way too often I awake in the middle of the night with answers to questions that I never thought to ask while I was conscious.

Maybe that is why you have always resonated with me. From fighting imagined ninjas in tabi with bokken in our back yards as kids to considering what lies just beyond our perception and how that has bearing on the stark reality we are faced with each day.


Rope ladder? I have no recollection of that whatsoever. Was that at the reason for our argument on first meeting? Whatever disagreement we had as kids must have been discarded from my long term memory as irrelevant to forming my opinion of you. Or, the number of favorable inputs negated the one isolated negative input lol But I believe you, as I remember being pretty obstinate when we were kids.

This post is doing great man, I'm glad I convinced you to get onboard!