David Kimbell
3 min readDec 27, 2022
Photo courtesy of Gary Butterfield on Unsplash

🎯Thinking will be hazardous to your health — Just ask Maajid Nawaz

Maajid Nawaz didn’t get a pleasant introduction to life on Planet Earth.

Born into a family of Muslim immigrants (from Pakistani) in east-end London, he was beset by the racism that many Muslims in the West still today.

It embittered the young Maajid (well, go figure!) and made him an easy target for Muslim fundamentalist radicals.

Within a few years, he found himself in an Eqyptian dungeon.

(And prison in the US or UK is pretty cushy compared to prison in other parts of the world.)

And then … everything changed.

Best bad thing ever to happen to him. He tells the whole story to Joe Rogan here. 3 hours long. I listened to the whole thing, TWICE.

Want the 10-minute condensed version? Go here. I’ve published a thread about it on Twitter. Below is the first juicy snippet. 👇 👇 👇

He was in prison because Eqypt is a dictatorship, and viewed the radical organisation Maajid served as potentially subversive to the government. (Not without reason.)

But narrowly avoiding torture, and then languishing 4 years in prison …

He started reading anything he could get his hands on. And talking with the other prisoners.

And he made a mind-blowing discovery.

His prison mates included Muslim converts to Christianity …

OK, Maajid was sympathetic there, he saw Islam as the ultimate solution to the world’s problems.

But also Christian converts to Islam …

Huh?

And converts from umpteen other religions and idealogies … to different religions and ideologies.

Huh?

Not what Maajid expected.

Suddenly the penny dropped.

If you change your mind … from anything, to anything else … what are you really doing?

Thinking for yourself

Not just accepting. Not just doing as you’re told. Not just taking someone’s word for it, because of who they are.

And the Eqyptian government … didn’t want their people thinking. They wanted people obeying.

The lesson is simple:

Thinking can be hazardous to your health

People only change their minds if they’ve been thinking for themselves.

Rationally, thoughtfully, diligently …

And people who think? … don’t blindly obey. They don’t just do as they’re damn well told.

Dictators, tyrants, oligarchs, oppressors … want obedience.

What kind of government are you living under?

What kind of city do you live in? (Or place of worship, or family, for that matter.)

Don’t let me answer that for you. Answer it for yourself.

Analyse the character, behaviour and consistency of your political leaders. What does it suggest?

Do they show evidence of having your best interests at heart? Do they have at heart the interests of some of the people … but not ALL? ANY of the people?

Or just themselves?

(Reminds me of an ad in Businessweek magazine back in the 70’s, showing three happy conservative suits each carrying the old attaché briefcases: The Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank — We have your best interests at heart. Uh-huh, sure.)

Don’t rush to answer. Take your time. Ask even deeper questions.. Consider other people’s answers, but don’t swallow their opinions blindly.

The questions matter far more than the answers.

If you’ve read this far, it shows … that you’re willing to think for yourself.

Just be aware … that by thinking for yourself … if you have any tyrants or dictators in your neighbourhood …

Or even WANNABE dictators …

You place a giant bullseye 🎯on your back in their minds. (And I’ve placed one on my back by writing this.)

It’s possible nobody will ever aim and shoot.

But believe you me, the Town Tyrants can see it.

If you don’t like having a bullseye on your back, the alternative, of course, is to Not Think

Do as you’re told. Obey blindly. Live in constant fear.

Like that thought?

I don’t either.

So I choose to think for myself, speak my mind, and accept the risk.

Ain’t no middle ground.

David Kimbell

Curiosity. Questions. Simplicity. Principles. Meaning. The Vital Few, not the Trivial Many. Be your own Chief Questions Officer.