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Free and Unecessary Thought

August 26, 2006

Recently, I saw a news blurb from one supposedly newly freed country, half way around the world. A well dressed, well educated, well spoken man confirmed, to the astonishment of the interviewer, that he'd been warning his students from having too much "free and unnecessary thought". At first I thought that this man was joking, that this was surely some sort of comedy routine. As I listened, I kept waiting for the punch line, but it never came. I was shocked and dismayed to find that this man is a University Professor! Old idiologies die slowly, it seems, even in "free" societies. Come to think on it, this isn't too far from where we are today in other parts of the so-called 'free' world. Is freedom such a relative thing?

One thing that I value more than just about anything learned growing up, was something my folks and long time mentors to our church youth group had insisted upon our understanding above all else - to think for ourselves That meant not to believe by wrote what someone attempted to pass off to us just because they said it was so (tradition), but to consider a thing well before settling on the matter. This meant that we were to seek wise counsel and weigh things carefully before saying, "This is what I believe to be true, and this is what I'm going to do about it." It meant that we were going to have to develope critical thinking skills. It meant that we were going to have to look at all sides of an issue. It meant that we were going to have to develope courage. It also meant that we were going to have to become responsible; quite a challenge for teenagers growing up in an era of a between-a-rock-and-a-hard- place no-win, war torn society. They taught us not WHAT to think..but, simply, how to........THINK. That's a touch stone (true wisdom) which has gotten me out of a few tight spots over the years, and has kept me from following the lemmings of our time blindly over that proverbial ledge and into the sea. And for this valuable lesson, I am eternally grateful.

It has been my pleasure (and sometimes pain) to discover many good songs here on Folk Alley protesting a variety of unethical and unsavory practices and policies against humanity and of it's stewardship over this earth and it's inhabitants. Many songs encourage calls to action, reinforcing unity of purpose. These songs are not only really good listens, but also challenge me to reconsider some of my former attitudes about things. It's songs like these which cause me to stop and think before I leap, blindly, to support a cause or idiology, or even to settle comfortably into one without a thought.

Instead of imbedding links to the many individual songs here, I will simply provide a link to Ann VerWiebe's recent blog, "Where Have All the Protest Songs Gone?" and encourage you to participate in the conversation. Feel free, as well, to post active links to good protest songs down below in this thread.

We can be grateful (glad) that we have the priviledge to express thoughts...ANY thoughts, even those difficult thoughts which are deemed by some (yes, even right here in the good ol' U.S.of A.) to be 'free and unnecessary'. Thank goodness for those daring teachers and professors and mentors who are willing to encourage free and critical thinking, and for forums, such as Folk Alley where we can have collective class "sit ins" and "stand ups", not "drop outs". I'm hearing things here which would encourage me to consider a matter, thoughtfully, before running my mouth about it, before wearing a really cool looking tee-shirt or button to promote a cause, or even before casting my vote on an issue. I want to be able to really believe in a thing for which I stand or am promoting. In order for me to be able to do that, I must first carefully consider all viewpoints.

One thing's for sure, I'm supporting Folk Alley if for no other reason than to encourage free and open expression in a free-thinking challenged world. Leave it to Folk, yet again, to pave the way for open discussion and dialogue!

What are some of the songs or comments you've heard here on Folk Alley and from around the world which have challenged your sense of what you THOUGHT you knew to be correct thinking, and how have they affected your attitudes toward change?
Share if you dare!

Now, does everyone have his assignment? Good.
Class dismissed!

Posted by JoLynn Braswell at August 26, 2006 5:14 PM

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