SOLITARY SOLIDARITY: FIRST STEPS
PLEASE read INTRODUCTION before continuing.
In a world where extremely powerful people are willing to deceive, lie, cheat, coerce, steal, injure, and destroy whatever might be required to reach their goals; personal integrity, critical thinking, and carefully placed trust is absolutely essential in order to protect ourselves and each other from oppression and worse.
REINFORCE YOUR PERSONAL INTEGRITY
Simply stated, make sure that you are unwilling to deceive, lie, cheat, coerce, steal, injure, or destroy to get (and keep) what you want; even if it means that you will never get (or will lose) what you want. Also, make sure that you act in life, liberty, and love nurturing ways. Finally, be as patient and kind with others as you are able to.
REINFORCE YOUR CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS
Personal note: If you are a veteran critical thinker, know that you are acknowledged and appreciated. I have never met a critical thinker that didn't have a difficult time living in this world. Please protect your hope!
Intelligence is the ability to determine and apply what is true. Education, on the other hand, is merely indoctrination; it may or may not be packed full of truth, untruth, or both. If you have been highly educated, this is especially important for you to understand. It doesn't matter how many people preach or believe the same message; it may still be untrue. History supplies endless proof of this truth. Make sure you do your own thinking.
It is also important to understand that even genuine knowledge (truth) is not power, as is often mistakenly suggested. Intelligence is power. Knowledge is leverage, when in service to intelligence.
Obviously, there is a direct relationship between intelligence and critical thinking. Fortunately, intelligence is not a "gift" that some are born with and others can never possess; instead, it is a set of observation and evaluation skills (among other skills) that can be learned, practiced, and improved. Unfortunately, public school systems were not designed to truly empower people; they were primarily designed to indoctrinate them. Therefore, if you want to become ever-more intelligent and an ever-more critical thinker; you must empower yourself!
If you are new to critical thinking, the first step you must take is to actively notice and study the details (as subtly as you are able to) of everything you observe (see, read, hear, smell, taste, touch, intuit, or otherwise sense). In particular, notice what you absolutely know (with 100% certainty) to be true, what you know to be untrue (with 100% certainty), and what you are not sure of (ranging from remotely possible to extremely probable). Naturally, the more you practice this way of learning, the better you will get at it.
As a critical thinker, if you genuinely want to know the whole truth about things, you will have to learn to do your own, potentially extensive, research. You will also have to learn to be ok with uncertainty. Unfortunately, in many cases it will be impossible for you to ever know the truth with 100% certainty. Lean towards available evidence.
Above all, never forget that spoken and written words are especially prone to being untrue. Spoken and written words are merely an attempt to communicate something; something which may or may not be true and something which the speaker or writer may or may not even actually know the actual truth about. (Look for ACTual evidence.) Even when the speaker or writer has the very highest of reputations and the very purest of intentions, it is often a case of the tragically misinformed misinforming others. Hopefully, this is not the case here!
One of the major mistakes that non-critical thinkers make is to believe that major world leaders are as honest and stupid as they sound. Consider that maybe they aren't. Maybe they have an undisclosed agenda or are under the profound control of those that do. How can you know for sure? It's actually quite simple: study what they do, don't do, allow to be done, and don't allow to be done. In the beginning it may be easiest if you completely ignore anything and everything they say. Once you have built a solid foundation of action-based observation, their words will become far more revealing. Generally speaking, do not believe what major world leaders (or any other influencers) say; believe only what they do (unless they have proven their integrity to you).
REVOKE YOUR MISPLACED TRUST
It is critical that you stop believing what you hear or read via major mainstream TV, radio, internet, magazines, newspapers, etc. Unfortunately, mainstream news reporters and journalists with high integrity are increasingly rare and mainstream news outlets with high integrity might well be non-existent. If this is not obvious to you, even a modest amount of "whole truth" fact checking will reveal that you are being constantly deceived*.
Similarly, it is critical that you stop believing what your family and friends tell you about things that are not related to their own personal lives. Most people acquire the "truth" from sources that are simply not trustworthy. Few people have the motivation and resources required to learn the actual truth.
Also, if you belong to a group (especially religious, educational, scientific, political, business, and similar groups); make sure that you don't let the group do your thinking for you. And never trust social media posts! It is critical that you do your own research and draw your own conclusions. And remember, groups don't think; people do!
Who, then, should be trusted? Only those who have sufficiently and consistently demonstrated to you that they are a genuinely critical thinker with high integrity who acts in life, liberty, and love nurturing ways. Hopefully, this includes you. (If not, consider how it would feel to become such a person and do it.)
Finally, realize that your memory includes a vast amount of thoughts, ideas, and conclusions; many of which may be inaccurate or incomplete and may cause you to inadvertently serve destructive agendas. Fortunately, you can resolve this problem and empower yourself by carefully reviewing and correcting (or discarding) beliefs.
It is not always easy to protect your own integrity, think critically, carefully place your trust, and act in life, liberty and love nurturing ways; but the future health and happiness of our world depends upon it. Please join us!
* I urge everyone to stop using intentionally obfuscating terms such as disinformation, misinformation, counter-information, propaganda, dishonest advertisement, and "fake news". Instead, just call it what it actual is: LIES. No matter how you look at it; incomplete truths, out of context truths, twisted truths, and sometimes 100% untruth are all just various forms and examples of LYING. And where there is a lie; there is an enemy of life and liberty.