The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.
Anyone who is looking for quick and easy answers to the paradox of life is in for a shock. Look to a favorite book to tell you what to think and you're looking for trouble. Among the philosophers that I enjoy reading are Nietzsche, Hegel and Heidegger. Those are men with strong opinions strongly and clearly stated. What's difficult is following the thinking processes that brought them to their opinions. Nietzsche stated that the purpose of philosophy is not to tell you what to think but to get youto think for yourself. A good philosophy teacher would point out the observations, logic and finger posts of a philosophers thought and ask if there is a fault line running through it. He would ask if you agree or disagree, and if so, in either case, why?
It isn't necessary for everyone in the world to be a philosopher or even a reader of philosophy as I am (a nutcase if there ever was one). But it is necessary for people to think. I've written about this topic so often that I'm bored with it, as you also probably are. I have a quote here someplace that I might use someday which says that the reason people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory.
The sad thing is that there is no result of honest applied thought available on most of our TV and radio programs, from news reporters, politicians and preachers, tal;k show hosts. No one is entertained by mindfulness.
Great music is a glamorized experience of original deep thinking. Listen carefully and find your way through Debussy's La Mer, You can't do it on one hearing. Only a genius can do that.
Why is thinking like digging in the back yard? Because you might be surprised at what you find there. Carefully study Da Vinci's Last Supper. Forget for a time it's religious significations and look through it with an open mind. Can you find the knife?
Read any Shakespearian play. The story, the characters and Shakespeare's own amazing intellect are so completely bound harmoniously together that it is easy to miss the profound wisdom as it flashes by.
My life changed considerably one day when I discovered that not only was I opinionated but that there was so little thought that supported my opinions. Facts are one thing, ideas are something else. Most people want to just deal in facts and leave the ideas alone. "Just the facts, ma'am." They want to know the what and the how but not the why.
The amazing thing is that there is an infinitetude of ideas, music, poetry, art, inventions, systems, philosophies, programs and solutions still existing in the mind waiting to be discovered. Writers write to lead us, through the inadequacy of words, to the places where those discoveries can be made. A good writer provides the back yard and the shovel.
DB - The Vagabond
(This is not a contest.)
Who are the 2 (two) most important people alive today? Why?
3 responses so far.