Much of what makes up a healthy mindset is grounding in an understanding of oneself, society, and nature. Understanding oneself starts by knowing the meaning of life which in my opinion is to enjoy life and continually grow as a person while making sure the world is a better place with you than it would be without you. Understanding oneself also means recognizing that our life as well as the lives of those around us will eventually come to an end and that this end can literally come at any moment. So when life does get tough it’s important to remember that things could always be worse and to remind ourselves that life’s too short for a bad day.
Understanding society starts by learning about how the world works and figuring out what we can do to make it work better. As global citizens it’s our civic duty to be informed and involved especially pertaining to matters that we are directly or indirectly responsible for via the purchases we make or the taxes we pay. We should be ready to peacefully stand up and speak out in support or opposition of ideas and actions that directly conflict with our independently, objectively, and rationally thought out ideas pertaining to how society should be organized and function, and how the environment should be protected and restored. In this time of unprecedented social, technological, and environmental change the need for our participation in managing human affairs has never been greater.
Understanding nature starts by recognizing where our lives and everyone and everything in them comes from and realizing that we’re all living on a little rock that’s floating through space and the only thing keeping us alive is an extremely fragile film on the surface of Planet Earth. Unlike Planet Earth itself which doesn’t notice what we humans do on it’s surface this fragile film, aka biosphere, that miraculously managed to envelop this planet and over billions of years develop its surface into the biologically diverse and hospitable place we know it as today is extremely fragile and is very susceptible to our collective everyday actions. Therefore as the most intelligent and technologically advanced species on this planet protecting and managing the biosphere is our most sacred and fundamental duty.
Another aspect of a healthy mindset is the ability to think freely. Freethinking is independent, objective, and rational thinking that is unfettered by ones wishes, expectations, and previous conditioning via oneself, ones peers, and figures of authority that relies on facts and reasoning to determine the acceptance, modification, or rejection of new ideas and information and spur on evolution in existing understandings and beliefs. Freethought is a magnet for information that calls our assumptions into question whereas unfree-thought (which is thought confined to self-imposed boundaries which are dogmatically defended via rationalization and/or stubborn denial) acts as a force field which shelters a person from having to deal with such information.
What most hinders the social evolution towards a global society rooted in freethought in which decision making is free from the irrational influence of tradition, patriotism, and faith is dogma. Dogma leads to collective thinking and the rationalization of falsehoods and the most pervasive and pernicious forms of dogma are cultural, nationalist, and religious. Sure there are other forms of dogma such as dietary dogma, however dietary dogma has never caused nor does it continue to threaten civilization with genocides, holy wars, or nuclear conflicts. Besides acting as brakes on social progress all forms of dogma, including those that are relatively benign, act as brakes on human potential. By better understanding the three most ubiquitous and dangerous forms of dogmatic thinking we’ll be better able to remove many of the mental barriers that stand between us and a better world.