In today’s world, it often seems that we are ceaselessly subjected to critiques and commentary on what we can and cannot think or say. This is especially true in politics. Phrases like “You can’t say that!” or “That’s not very politically correct!” are preceded by a gasp, and followed by head shaking and sour looks. No longer are you able to think for yourself, speak for yourself, or decide what you believe. Freedom of Speech, or even Freedom of Thought is being sacrificed on the altar of “socially acceptable commentary.”
Or are they?
Though sometimes credited to Socrates, the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus (c. 624-546 BC) is widely viewed as the orginal author of the phrase “Know Thyself”. This phrase, so simple and short, has significant implications. One of the most profound interpretations of the phrase presents it as a warning meaning “pay no attention to the opinions of the multitude, decide your own thoughts.”
This idea hardly fits into the plans of today’s political parties, where “towing the party line” and “political talking points” are the norm, but what a concept to consider, especially when elections are a few short weeks away!
What are your truly honest thoughts about the issues, and where do those thoughts put you on the political board?
To put those two questions to the test, I decided to take a political quiz, selecting the answers that best represented my own thoughts on issues. I admit that I was mildly surprised when my votes were tallied: Here are my results. I should also specify that these were just my own results, not the results for the various writers here at The Daily Broward. They can make up their own minds as to whether or not they want to share their results.
I do not know the authors of this particular test, and while I am sure there are probably some “trick questions” included, I wasn’t concentrating on a political agenda, only on what I truly think. It wasn’t an epiphany, and wasn’t meant to change my mind, it was just a good old fashioned gut check.
Frankly, I think Thales would be nodding in approval. Just in case you were wondering, besides being a philosopher, Thales is also credited being the first to apply deductive reasoning to the use of geometry, and has often been dubbed as the “Father of Science.”
The test I took is at ISideWith.com, and I did enjoy taking it, especially since it allowed me to “choose another stance” rather than answer just “yes” or “no”, as well as giving me the option to rank an issue’s importance. Frankly, there are a lot of these kinds of political quizzes, but the important thing ( if you decide to take one) is to be genuinely honest with your thoughts.
Although it might not be popular, there is nothing wrong with thinking for yourself, deciding for yourself, and speaking your mind on the things you’ve thought about. In this era of “political correctness” and “acceptable social commentary,” it is especially important to “Know Thyself,” so that when you make decisions they are truly yours.
At least, that’s the way I see it, hopefully you do too (but if you don’t, that’s okay too! At least you’re thinking for yourself!)