Home Pharos Fiction Site Map Updates Search


                                                                                                                        Back Next

Halexandria Foundation
Sacred Mathematics
Connective Physics
Chronicles of Earth
Justice, Order, and Law
Extraterrestrial Life
Creating Reality
Tree of Life


New -- 22 August 2004

Most thinker would agree that thinking is an uncommon feature -- or at least deep, serious thinking about subjects which actually required exerted mental effort. It's as if the Law of the Conservation of Energy has been misinterpreted to suggest that energy must be conserved even if this means not expending energy to think.

For Updates, see also the Halexandria Forum

Serious, critical thinking has become so rare, in fact, that the topic tends to generate humor whenever it is broached. Consider, for example, this e-mail (unfortunately anonymous):

I was just thinking...

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then to loosen up. Inevitably though, one thought would lead to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone --"to relax," I told myself -- but I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.  I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka.  I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, "What is it exactly we are doing here?"

Things weren't going so great at home either. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Skippy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, you'll have to find another one."  This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. "Honey," I confessed, "I've been thinking..."  

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"  

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious."  

"It is serious," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry.

I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, with NPR on the radio. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors... they didn't open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked.  You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker.

I never miss a TA meeting.  At each meeting we watch a non-educational video; last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.

Life just seemed ... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.  Soon, I'll be able to vote.

As funny as the above is, this act of thinking is really something of a serious subject. The process whereby our brains develop thinking skills is a source of extraordinary research. Claudia Wallis [1] has written an insightful article concerning the development of the teenage brain. During adolescence, she notes, "The brain becomes a more efficient machine." The problem is that this efficiency may be coming at the expense of the raw potential for learning and the brain's ability to recover from trauma.

The process is the patterning of the most used synapses in the brain. It implies that how one spends their time is critical -- for example, practicing piano quickly thickens neurons in the brain regions that control the fingers. This effect is visually illustrated in the extraordinary movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? The emphasis is clearly on how we think, what we think about, and where we concentrate our mental processes. In this process, we quite literally create our own reality. Thinking is thus the most significant activity we're likely to engage in at any given time.

Given this, it is perhaps fitting to end this brief treatise -- there will be future updates obviously -- with this small test. Call it "Things to think about (some questions posed by Bob Kalk@complementaryservices.net)."

Is courage —strength of character—desirable? Then must man be reared in an environment which necessitates grappling with hardships and reacting to disappointments.

Is altruism —service of one's fellows—desirable? Then must life experience provide for encountering situations of social inequality.

Is hope —the grandeur of trust—desirable? Then human existence must constantly be confronted with insecurities and recurrent uncertainties.

Is faith —the supreme assertion of human thought—desirable? Then must the mind of man find itself in that troublesome predicament where it ever knows less than it can believe.

Is the love of truth and the willingness to go wherever it leads, desirable? Then must man grow up in a world where error is present and falsehood always possible.

Is idealism —the approaching concept of the divine—desirable? Then must man struggle in an environment of relative goodness and beauty, surroundings that stimulate the irrepressible reach for better things.

Is loyalty —devotion to highest duty—desirable? Then must man carry on amid the possibilities of bet rayal and desertion. The valor of devotion to duty consists in the implied danger of default.

Is unselfishness —the spirit of self-forgetfulness—desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.

Is pleasure —the satisfaction of happiness—desirable? Then must man live in a world where the alternative of pain and the likelihood of suffering are ever-present experiential possibilities.

Think about it. Just keep in mind the question posed by the movie, What the Bleep:

How Far Down the Rabbit Hole of Mysteriousness Do You Want to Go?

For Updates, see also the Halexandria Forum



[1] Claudia Wallis, "What Makes Teens Tick," Time Magazine, May 10, 2004.

Synthesis         Communications, Education, Health         Inter Net

Emergence of a Species Mind

Or forward to:

Education         Language         Groupies



                                                                                      The Library of ialexandriah       

2003© Copyright Dan Sewell Ward, All Rights Reserved                     [Feedback]    

                                                                                                            Back Next