Tuesday 25 September 2018

A thought experiment about thinking

Suppose, as a thought experiment, that your job/ role/ destiny in this mortal life was to think in a certain way some particular thing/s...

This is what you need to do, I need to do, everyone needs to do - but not to think the same thing, rather some particular thing tailored to personal needs. This makes matters more difficult, because each must discover what is their-own thing. 

Most would say something like: 'What! Is that all?" It seems that to be required to think some-thing-particular in some particular way is very little to ask; a very small achievement. Surely anybody could think any-thing at any time - what would be the point of it?

Yet think again - think about the nature of modern Western life, think about its busyness, distraction, the deluge of stimulus. Think about the deep assumptions held by nearly everybody... including that thinking is a purely subjective, temporary and trivial activity, an epiphenomenon, unreal...

Then reconsider... To be required to think some-thing in some-way is in practice an impossible demand for most people - not least because to think in the desired and necessary way is something actively-resisted.

And to be required to find something personal to think, something that must be discovered each by his own efforts - some-thing the instruction for which is not to be found anywhere in 'culture' or 'communication'.

In this scenario; you need to think something vital to your destiny, but something that nobody is going to tell you to think. Yet you are living in a world where everybody is telling everybody else what to think all the time - everything except what you actually need to know...

It seems that something simple can also be something that is - in practice and in real life - rare and difficult of attainment.

Yet, if we children of God truly are unique individuals, and if our life has meaning and purpose, and if there is such a think as real-true thinking; then something of this sort is surely required of us.   

1 comment:

Chiu ChunLing said...

The key to all effective thinking is that it is about action.

The problem is that doing "the right thing" because you have been told to do it without thinking about why it is right is only useful in the world, it is of no use in eternity. Our life is a period of instruction, a school of discerning divine principles of action. If we only do what we are told, we're like students who get through their exams by memorizing the answer keys...except that we've no confidence that it was the answer key for the test we take.

There is no eternal merit in doing the right thing unless you're able to understand why it is right well enough to discern whether it is still right in a different situation. Bureaucracy illustrates this horribly, thoughtlessly applying the "approved" answer to different situations produces nothing but an endless stream of outrages against common decency. Our aim in life is not to become eternal bureaucrats who mindlessly recite from a sheet of rules adapted to a particular situation we'll never see again.

Nor are bureaucrats honestly doing so, they decide what they want to do like anyone else, then look to see if there is a rule that can be twisted to 'justify' it. That's all we're doing when we avoid thinking deeply and profoundly about what is right.