‘Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom’– Benjamin Franklin
Exploring and understanding the inner world or the external world requires a clear mind and thought process. Most of us would agree to this one fact.
In our daily lives, we come across situations, where two people having contradicting views quarrel with each other. Interestingly, they both confidently claim to be right. They judge the entire situation based on their pre-existing theories and take less than a second to accuse the other person of being wrong. But is it so simple?
All our lives, our parents, teachers, and friends have been teaching us different things. They have been using a system of positive or negative reinforcement to create the personality that we are today. Eventually, we start thinking on the same lines as them. We may not resemble any one of them in particular, but we surely are an amalgamation of their teachings. These teachings and theories form an invisible box within which our mind is restricted. When we come across some situation that lies beyond this invisible box, we get into a state of denial towards it or consider it as an exceptional case. In the absence of any external influence or a strong inner requirement, we tend to spend our entire life within this invisible box without even realizing it. This is exactly how stereotypes are formed.
For example, Through the ages, womankind has always been treated as secondary citizens. Their abilities and roles have been limited to a great extent. This unequal treatment was considered ideal at one point in time but now the scenario has changed to a great extent. Women are getting out of their predefined roles and are exploring new fields. Though the scenario has changed, some people still find it hard to accept these equal treatments. Not only men but also some women find it hard to break through their pre-existing notion. She also considers it to be wrong. This is mainly because she has been raised in an environment where women were always subdued. These restrictions are nothing but boundaries of the invisible box.
It is not wrong to form theories but when these theories become limitations, they restrict us from growing. When we step out of this invisible box, we experience a whole another world and therefore, form theories based on our experiences. With every new experience, a new theory evolves, and therefore, the process of learning continues. It is only through this process that one can grow. This is the kind of freedom without which no other freedom matters. This is real wisdom.