Thinking

When was the last time you sat down and thought?

I’m not talking about doing your taxes or planning a vacation. I’m talking about real intellectual pondering. What is love? What differentiates fact from truth? Why—that’s it, just why?

On the other hand, when is the last time you tuned your television or clicked your mouse to see a reality celebrity?

Have you ever thought about or learned how your smartphone works? How about an LED (light emitting diode)? Fuse or circuit breaker? Microwave oven?

In the Monty Python sketch about the Australian Philosophy Department (“Hello Bruce!”), have you ever read the works of any of the philosophers named? (Kant, Heidegger, Descartes, Socrates, Hume, etc.)?

Writers and thinkers used to get together, eat, drink, and have deep philosophical discussions. Think Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Lord Byron, et al. Too old? How about J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and their fellow writer who called themselves the “Inklings.”

Have I got you thinking?

Good.

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3 responses to “Thinking

  1. How about Locke? Reasonable man? Never read Heidegger, Kant and Descartes, Hume yes. I introduce boys to a different philosophy Robert Baden Powell.

    Lastly, when a tree falls in the woods and nobody is there it does make sound, sound by the physics is a variation of air pressure and a falling tree displaces air therefor creating sound. I ended the lecture with that after over an hour of squabbling many years ago.

    • Actually, I was trying to remember which philosophers were listed in the Monty Python “Bruces” skit.

      I love your closure to the tree question. You should give extra credit to anyone who adds that the variation must be between 20 and 20,000 Hertz.

      All the best,
      Steve

  2. Who should be indicted for our lack of DEEP THOUGHT today: Our teachers, or ourselves for our lack of curiosity and interest? Perhaps neither because who knew what our “essential questions” would be at this juncture of our life. When we studied core curricula in high school, our main goal was to get the hell out of there unscathed. In college, our focus was to graduate prepared for eventual employment. Then later in life, we’re so busy earning a living we don’t have time to stop and think.

    Yet one day we sit down to write a letter, and we find ourselves staring at the piece of blank paper wondering how to put down our thoughts. We don’t know it exactly, but inadvertently we learn writing is one’s ability to reason (to think deeply). Writing is applied thinking—which also means learning to organize one’s thoughts coherently. We focus on the building blocks of thought and to foster the use of rhetoric–argumentation if you will. We “mess” with what we are thinking–our emotions, opinions, confusions, and self-discussions–and often arrive at reason and more “essential questions.”

    And that’s the beauty, the magnificence, the significance of thought: We learn it is not in our power to explain either the prosperity of the wicked–or sufferings of the righteous. We find how we master our fate is more important than what our fate is. We come to the conclusion we can’t be happy if we continue to search for what happiness is. We come to rest in the fact that we can’t live– if we’re always looking for the meaning of life.
    And finally and ultimately, for most of us, our DEEP THINK reminds us over and over again–that it takes all our lives to understand it’s not necessary to understand everything. Rather, enjoy life, living, being and doing.

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