Monday, December 1, 2008

To think or not to think.

"Thinking is what sets humankind apart from the rest of the world. It's our main weapon. Use it."

"Don't think so much! You'll only confuse yourself. Impulse is the best guide."

I keep hearing both these kinds of statements. And both are said with equal conviction, by equally intelligent people. Which goes to show, that both are correct. And both are wrong. 

If you've recuperated from the flurry of 'both's, then I'll continue with what I mean to say.


Everybody's got to do what they've got to do. 

I honestly respect soldiers, and wish I had the guts to go to war. 
I can't. I won't. 
I do believe that not being a material person has distinct advantages. (Though I think a phrase like 'material' is childishly simplistic.)
In fact, I'd love to be able to make huge sacrifices, for a simple reason. 
If every single damn thing I own is taken away from me, I want to be able to carry on.
The detachment here has NOTHING to do with the moral science classes they shove down our throats at school. It's NOTHING to do with the principles of preachers who've learnt to quote the sacred texts before they tried to understand it. This kind of detachment is power. The kind of power where nothing controls me.
BUT. I'm not capable of it. The very thought of being computer-less, and ipod-less, and book-less makes me grimace. I know that however much I try, I can't be a Swami Vivekandanda, or a Chittaranjan Das. That doesn't stop me from respecting either of the two. And it doesn't stop me from being prepared for the consequences I might have to face.

So whether you're the sort who needs to think, or the sort who doesn't, DEPENDS ON WHAT SORT OF PERSON YOU ARE. As well as the situation you're in.

"If Macbeth was Hamlet, and Hamlet was Macbeth, two great tragedies could have been averted."

As for me, I think a lot. I agree, sometimes I think excessively. But that doesn't mean ANY sort of thinking is pointless. 
For one, thinking is fun! Not everything CAN think. Thinking is a privilege. And it can lead you to discover a lot of entertaining things. 
For one, most people are so conscious of making impressions and projecting an aura, they keep a lot of things about themselves under wraps. Scratching the surface of their layers can be intriguing.
When you've held a certain opinion for years, and you suddenly realise that there's a hell of a lot more to it than you thought, it's a revelation! And it carries with it all the wonder, the frustrating but strangely thrilling confusion that any revelation does.

So there's a lot to read. I'll never be able to complete my must-read-books list. Same goes for my must-watch-movies list. And my must-hear-songs list. So what?
I won't stop reading. Or watching movies. Or listening to music.
And SO WHAT if I can never think out all my problems? Or think my way to the very core of the truth? Or discover who I really am? If I can get to see beyond what's plain for any idiot to see, then I've achieved something. 

Another thing. 
Acting on impulse ALL the time would be perfect, if I could take the results. But I'm not strong enough for that. There's still a lot of life I want to see, a lot of things I need to do. I need to keep myself intact for all of that.
There are people whose help I'm going to need, and people to whom I owe certain things. I'm not going brush EVERY bit of that away by jumping on every little whim.

There's yet another thing.
Some people HAVE to think, if the world has to go on. Scientists have to think before they're creating something. They have the right to do what their heart is telling them, but if it means there's a chance that I'll be blown off the face of this earth- SORRY. I come first.
Politicians have to do a hell lot of thinking. Freedom isn't anarchy.
Teachers have to think. They have to think, to know how to treat different students differently. How would you like being spoonfed as though you were retarded, or left in the lurch, as though there's nothing you can't manage?

And people are under the impression, that thinking means being worried all the time. Being insecure, not daring to take a risk. I agree, we're only young once, and we have to let go. We have to be prepared to make mistakes. But who says we think only because we're scared to make mistakes?
Sometimes, we want to be sure that we're doing what we really want. Because we're intense. We feel. And we don't want to treat things glibly. We know that we might end up making the wrong choice anyway, but we're lessening the odds. Sparing ourselves the regret. In those cases, we think, just a little bit so that we can listen to what our heart is saying. Oh yes, thoughts aren't all cold intellectualism. They just rummage about in our heads, tweak things a little bit into shape, so we can see what our instinct is trying to tell us. It all comes together.

7 beep/s:

cry freedom said...

you spelled it out. yes.

cry freedom said...

or wait. is it spelt?

i never know.

Prince of Mirkwood said...

Now that's food for thought!

joey said...

i oh yessed my way down.
oh yes.

but if often wondered whether instinct or impulse is a superficial thought and ought to be scooped up and thrown away or is it actually the the deepest and truest course of action.
what do you think?

Death On Two Legs said...

It's debatable, you know. But MY instinct doesn't let me down.

Yamini said...

i'm thinking...

and yes, to think is the conclusion.

thoughts aren't things intellectuals have a copyright on. even if i think that the sunset this evening looked gorgeous, it's a thought.

so, there you go.

i think we should think about EVERYthing... as it comes, naturally... think, feel, all of it, for the truest essence of an experience called life...

reflections said...

YOU have given this a LOT of thought....
really intriguing...
Knowing you, thinking involves a lot of psychoanalysis, which must have inspired you to think more and more and more......
Thinking also involves revelations and disiilusionments... do you think that it is necessary or particularly desirable? Or when thinking by itself conjures up illusory worlds, how do we tackle THAT?
Impulse, as joyeeta says, is often out deepest desire,, but do we want that to surface either?
I wonder.... what do YOU think?