Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thinking For Dummies

mental vitalityleThe more you have thought, and the more you have done, the longer you have lived.

Immanuel Kant
"All that thinkin' ain't good for the mind."

Friday night I had a long conversation with my friend Charles. We do that about once every 6 weeks. Charles is an actor who lives in New York. He's about my age, a gentleman and a good liberal thinker. Our conversations are always vital, energetic and filled with humor.

What perplexed us both during the call was why some people have given up the right to think for themselves. Why do some people lapse into a pool of attitudes instead of the sea of ideas? Why are people so willing to adopt any theory that floats through the atmosphere no matter how inane it is? Why are they mentally inactive but emotionally reactive, and why do those two qualities seem to go together? There is a definite mental entropy at work in the human race.

A woman I used to know once flattered me by asking "Why do you insist on believing that everyone is as intelligent as you are?" My answer at the time was "Because I want them to be." But now, after some years of flapping my wings and flying over landscapes of experience, my answer would be "Because they potentially are."

I think we have been fooled, allowed ourselves to be tricked, into believing in intellectual self satisfaction. "What I know is enough. I don't need to know anything more" we say. Or, "Some things are beyond my comprehension." Or, "I know what I think and I don't want anything changing my mind." That's the worst.

All human activity begins in the mind. Thoughts, ideas and imaginations bring about the results of human behavior and accomplishments. Why do people seem to be so timid at exercising their right to such things? A candle contains all the heat and light within itself in a potential but dormant state. It only releases its strength and purpose when a flame is applied to the wick. Examples abound of thinkers who offer the flame, but there is that reluctance to accept it.

The essential truth of anything is not complicated. Once all the dots have been connected and the pieces joined together its truth can be stated very simply. But there is mental work to be done. It is easier to be lazy, easier not to do the work even though it costs very little to do.

I don't blame people for being ignorant. We are all ignorant about most things. The fault does not rest with the ignorant man. The fault, which probably cannot be defined, described or understood, is more like a world wide virus of ignorance, a parasite feeding on the innate mental might and leaving the vitals of emotion and undirected energy, an illness of spirit that we must challenge at every sign post.

Mental laziness also produces a life of unimportance. But here again we are fooled. We can be very active doing a lot of things and feel a sense of accomplishment. And one day, maybe, we look back and realize how little we actually did compared to what our potential was. The candle was never lit. We can blame our unsatisfactory lives on destiny, circumstances, environment, childhood and justify it with some religious reason.

"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings" Shakespeare wrote. I want the whole world of humans to wake up and start thinking better. I want to think better than I do. Can you imagine what life would be like for all of us if the human race was thinking better, clearer and with the mental vitality it is capable of?
DB - The Vagabond
Never give up.

It's a long, hot, sticky summer, so here's a hot, sticky question for you. Don't let the recent New York State decision rob you of your thunder.

Same sex marriage. Should it be legal or not? If so, why? If not, why not?

13 answers so far.

You have until the last day of summer, but don't dally.
I eagerly await your answer.



pacifica62 said...

I don't think people give up the right to think for themselves as much as they do not know how to think for themselves. People get their ideas and "facts" from television and perhaps even on the internet. They do not know how to do research and check out information for themselves. Much easier to pick some celebrity and believe what they are saying and take it for gospel truth. Young people are not taught how to think anymore. Their parents were not taught how to think either and the cycle continues. I doubt anything is going to change that. There is a saying "ignorance is bliss". Believe it or not some people get through life perfectly fine knowing not much about anything.

Beth said...

I've always said that willful ignorance is the worst...when people think that they don't need to know anymore about anything, and refuse to find out more about things.

Geo. said...

It's harder now for people to accept their own individuality than it used to be. That's an impediment to thinking. There are powerful collectives now and when people are seperated from them they feel small and alone. People find thinking scary.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

And along he same paths, I would like to see true debate and discussions instead of people talking at or past each other.

Big Mark 243 said...

Beth took my position! I feel that there isn't an entropy of the human mind as it is actually an unnatural manipulation of thought that is taking place. People have been fooled into believing that 'thinking' is for others and not for them.

Big Mark 243 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Arlene (AJ) said...

nother fab read DB, thanks dear. Oh I wish you could get your words out to everyone in the world to read.....what a grat change you could make in everyone mind on thinking. Gee, maybe it would even help those in our govt. that would sure be a miracle.