Thoughtfulness

Thoughtfulness

Is it truly important to be a thoughtful person? This is a question that I often ask myself. We seemingly live in an era that has witnessed the overwhelming character of electronic media supplanting our necessity to think independently. And, as much as I may criticize this, people seem happy and contented. They chortle to themselves and giggle as they exchange texts and images on their phones. Is this such a bad thing? Perhaps not, but wait! 

The problem begins when you ask many a young person what they will do with their piece of life. Then it begins. You are invariably given one of two answers: either, I want to be rich or I want to be happy. Let us quickly unpack these simplistic answers.  

Firstly, I want to be rich. This, I assume, is meant to suggest material wealth — I want to have a lot of money. I can say with some experience that the acquisition of money requires two elements. The one, of course, is extreme risk. You must acknowledge the possibility of losing everything all the while gaining success. Once this concept is understood, few, in reality, want to play this game. Most opt for the conservative life of the proverbial government worker. (1) The second is time. It takes time to make money. You must devote your whole heart and soul to its attainment. This requires a period of years. It is not just by chance that many marriages and individuals, for that matter, do not survive its pursuit.  

Happiness is the other response. I want to be happy. Of the two, this is the most naive. You cannot be happy if you are not doing what you truly enjoy and this requires many hours of training and effort. So, the necessity of time is called for, once again.  

These two responses are just simpleminded and do not advance the question of why we should think. Thoughtfulness, like any skill set, must be practiced and practiced to acquire some level of proficiency (remember the 10,000 hours of Malcolm Campbell). (2) Herein lies the great problem, as I see it. No one is being encouraged to think. Thinking, metaphorically, is like taking a bath, you must be immersed in reflection and contemplation to find your eureka moment (3) — your mission in life.    

If everything, all the knowledge that exists in the universe, can be accessed at the touch of a keypad, why think at all? Retrieving information is a skill, but it does not lead to wisdom. To truly gain wisdom, we must have the capacity to think imaginatively and creatively with this data. We laud great thinkers like Galileo and Einstein because they took the known universe and translated it into a new and profound understanding of reality.  

Therefore, in a world that is becoming more violent and more dangerous, it is the necessity of examination and deliberation that will ultimately lead to peace. (4) The great Buddhist scholar, Thich Nhat Hanh (5) leaves us with a thought: To think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is. 

A closing thought:   There are many ways that we can learn to think creatively. By far the most immediate is to merely take a walk in the natural world. Here, you are surrounded by such diversity and curiosity that the mind is simply staggered with nature’s range of possibilities. You are exposed to the infinite, whatever that means to you. Your imagination is, thus, shown to be truly endless.  

To sum up: This week, we spoke about the necessity of learning how to think and why.  

To be noted: From Oprah Winfrey (6) — You get in life what you have the courage to ask for. 

Just for fun:  

For reflection: 

This week, on your spirited walk, please reflect why you should think and think deeply about your life. 

Every day look for something magical and beautiful. 

Don’t be a wage slave – critical thinking is great! 

 

Quote: Only thinking will set you free. 

Footnotes: 

1) Young people are not after an easy ride, just job security 

2) The 10 000-hour rule

3) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eureka_effect 

4) Peace is the Result of Diplomacy, Never of War

5) What does it mean to go home to yourself? | Thich Nhat Hanh answers questions

6) Oprah Winfrey । 30 Minutes for the NEXT 30 Years of Your LIFE

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