If you are seldom held accountable, and you have nobody to challenge your beliefs, then one may slip into a beguiled state of being. The presence of others can often shepard us into changing our views, or even give us new information that we would otherwise not consider. We may also ignore them altogether and essentially be the same as when we started before the exchange of ideas, but the chance for some modification of our beliefs may also take place in the exchange. The probability of factoring in alternative views will eventually sift into our consciousness over frequency and time and we thus begin a learning process.
But what if we are isolated, and do not have many others to counter our experience with differing methods of behaviors and thoughts? What if we are a product of what is around us, our family, our peers, and our communities? What will then give us alternative ideas? We are not simply mechanical beings programed by specific rules of conduct, we are human. We are essentially gifted with the ability to challenge our own beliefs, thoughts, and direct our behavior as we see fit. We are able to learn. Unfortunately many are unable to find out this truth and eventually become trapped into a world without possibility. They have surroundings and behaviors both physically and cognitively that entrench them into a life of servitude to these conditioning factors that enslave them.
The brave ones may see something not worthy of following, and break away from the rest of their associations that lead them to make changes in the path for themselves. Many examples of this can be found all over the world as the comparative analytic mind works its power over the once enslaved individual. A child can determine by observation both positive and negative reinforcers that will make a connection for them to define who they are by breaking from known tradition. I happen to believe that this can lead people to make astounding leaps and bounds over their environmental influences and fundamentally change them when they connect to the power of a logical, emotional, or spiritual influence.