Thinking for Yourself

“The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.”

Albert Einstein

Toothpaste — as we know it today — is a relatively modern invention. Marketed toothpaste products only became popular around WWI. Before that, you had tooth powder, usually homemade chalk, salt, charcoal or baking-soda mix. And before that Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Iraqi’s and the Japanese all had their own variations of powders. I’m sure if you knew your way around the forests or had your own garden you likely chewed on some mint leaves or neem-tree twigs now and then. But for the most part, I’m guessing beyond the lucky knowledgable few, bad teeth were a part of life. (Depending on where you lived and what your diet consisted of.)

First off: Gross.

Second: Interesting.

Of course, people weren’t exactly chugging soda and pounding processed sweets. (Sugar was only introduced to western Europeans in the 11th century.) So I imagine cavities weren’t as easy to come by as it is today, but still.

What’s interesting to me is it’s never something I really thought about, but now that I know it’s hard not to think about it. Was Alexander the Great toothless? Did Leonardo da Vinci have bad teeth? Did Amerigo Vespucci travel to the New World with a set of chompers that looked like a craggy coast?

Did anyone care? There were no cameras. Glass mirrors weren’t invented until 1835. I suppose people did what they could, dealt with a bad tooth when they had too, and considered it a fact of life.

What’s really eye-opening is when you think about what we for granted or consider normal today.

What are things we assume are facts of life, but only our current reality?

What do we consider normal that could be improved? What are problems so normal everyone assumes they also have and also will be there?

Ideas build on top of ideas that have come before.

But ideas also come from thinking outside of what’s normal.

I think it’s safe to say to never assume anything.

Thinking for yourself requires you to test all assumptions. Is up really up? Is down below us or above? What if up is both down and up at the same time?

By the time we come into our own, we are taught a lot of facts about the world we live in. Our family, friends, culture, and environment all have an influence on us. This influence is not inherently good nor bad. In some ways, it’s both. We take on the ideas of others. We take on the beliefs of others. We are shaped by what happens to us. Again, none of this is necessarily bad.

But if we want to be our own person. We need to start thinking and feeling our way through life for ourselves. Thinking for yourself is choosing to believe what you believe because you decide to believe it. It’s choosing to intention to think things through. It’s working out conclusions, It’s deriving equations and looking at the source material for yourself, instead of just memorizing the facts. It’s a curiosity for the world and for who you are.

This is the path of great thinkers.

Learning to think for ourselves is the beginning of exceptional work.

Bad teeth or clean.

STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #867

Join the Renaissance:

NewslettersConsiderations | Bookaholics

SubscribeRenaissance Life on Apple Podcast | Renaissance Life on Spotify

Leave a Reply