November 12, 2004

Well read Vs. Well Thought

Is being well read more important than being a person who thinks a lot? There are some people who are veracious readers and spend most of their time reading the thoughts and thinking of others. However, every moment spent reading the thoughts of others is a moment taking away from forming ones own thoughts through philosophical examination of life and existence.

Reading is a necessity. Reading is the primary conduit to knowledge about things that we cannot observe or bare witness to directly. However, there is a difference from reading objective facts and data, as opposed to reading subjective analysis, opinions and conclusion. Hence, there is a difference between reading data, mathematical laws and theories, facts, events, and the like…versus reading another persons synthesis of these things presented as information.

I do think that reading and learning objective truths is very crucial to the success of modern thinking and philosophy. Thus, what I am juxtaposing is being well read in the non-objective truth categories and being a person who through their own pensive pondering, formulate their independent conclusions based upon and analysis of objective truths and facts and deductive reasoning.

I can recall something that a college professor told the class directly before passing out exams. He would always say “Remember…if all else fails….THINK”. In truth, thinking is like exercising and many people are simply mental couch potatoes. They do not want to do it unless they have to or can find profit in doing so. The path the least resistance does not traverse through thinking and pondering, because thinking can be frustrating and draining.

In light of this, many people seek the path of co-opting others thoughts and conclusions. It is akin to cheating or copying off another persons work, because they did not take the time to do their own work. This is what most people do in America in regards to social issues and world events. They do not take time out to think things through, but rather, simply co-opt the position of others who opinion maps to their preexisting emotional predisposition to the subject. In that way, they do not have to think but simply read or listen to the argument of someone who has thought and analyzed (correctly or incorrectly) it, and then co-opt that opinion and propagate it as their own.

This is the danger of reading and or listening to the synthesis of others as opposed to thinking on ones own. It’s a double edged sword because people and societies can control what you believe by controlling the information that you receive. It can be and is used as a form of brain washing. One can think that they have freedom of choice on what to input into their minds, but what one chooses is nearly always based upon some bias….and what formed the bias? One cannot have freedom without the absence of bias because bias prevents the exploration of other points of view and hence people become prisoners to their bias. For a good example of this one has to just examine the phenomenon of conservative isolation. They want to have their “own” space to share ideas because they are not open to the ideas of other that are counter to their own and they do not want to be forced to maintain the tenability of their beliefs against non-believers.

What we believe and how we see the world is mostly product of what this society has given us to read and this society has a vested interest in perpetuating itself via having its citizens conform to its ideologies. This is popularly referred to a propaganda and societies propaganda is designed for the entities self preservation of the status quo. By being a “thinker” one is therefore less subject to bad or good propaganda and is hence actually more free than those whose lives are shaped by what others input into their minds.

I can always tell a “reader” from a “thinker” on blogs and forums. The readers or co-opters of others thinking rely mostly on providing quotes and links to what someone else has said. The funny thing is, it is hard to trace back to the original source because so many people are in on the co-opt that it creates great savings from having to not think and use up ones own energy and time. They all simply just past the thoughts around to be shared by all and sometimes co-opters add something of their own too.

I think that humanity will be well served to start stressing the need for “thinkers” and philosophizers as opposed to those people who simply regurgitate the thoughts and conclusions of others. I do believe that reading the thought of others, to a degree, is healthy. However, I do think that there is a pandemic of lazy minds that would rather co-opt the thoughts of others as opposed to thinking on their own.


At 12:25 PM, Blogger Scott said...

What even worse it when people waste time thinking up ideas they think are unique that have already been discussed and evaluated.

I would much rather have you point me to a good article from the author of powernomics. Than have you blather on about something that says the same thing but with less facts to back it up and with less editing.

Maybe that is why you don't think you are a communist or socialist because you have never read the basic texts.

And you are blind to how capitalism can increase people freedom was well as wealth.

But I guess the world does circle around you and your world view, and your limited experiences.

At 1:04 PM, Blogger Noah TA said...

I think that it is true that people should not waste time pondering that only amounts to reinventing the wheel. However, that is not what I am talking about. Things that are objectively true should be READ and accepted as the bases for ones deductive and inductive reasoning about the unproven. One must always start from a base of objective facts and truths. That point was clearly stated in the essay, but was lost in your biased comprehension.

There is certainly much more that humans do not know and have not proved than there is that we know, infinitely more so. Thus, one does not have to worry too much about reinventing wheels.

In regards to communism or socialism you can put my thinking in that box if you like, but I have never come out as a proponent of any system as it exist today. I believe that every action creates and equal and opposite reaction. I believe that every gain is offset by a loss, for to get something, something must always be given up. It is nature balancing of accounts that says for every credit in nature, there must be an offsetting debit.

The fact that every action produces a reaction does not therefore mean that all reaction occur real-time, or is visible. Often time reactions and offsets are conserved into the future or manifest in a way not visible. For example, the growth of modernity has had an effect on the ecological system, air quality, and ozone layer….things that may be detrimental to human existence in the near future, which is the offsetting reaction to our gains in the present.

Communism or Socialism likely produces more immediate offsets, relative to capitalism, so that when the two are juxtaposed in points in time near their starts, capitalism looks far superior. However, when the offset of capitalism start to manifest from their conservation, future generations will look back and curse their ancestors for the greed and gluttony and lack of foresight or care for their descendents future.

At 4:40 PM, Blogger Len said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 8:27 PM, Blogger Len said...

“Thinking things through.”

Firstly, in regards to exchange on Blogs and Forums I’m a skeptic in that I don’t believe what I read is always an accurate representation of the writer. Because the Internet allows anonymity people role-play. Sometimes purposely taking on an image to create a different perspective. Hence, they may be role-playing to free their mind to think differently, or to provoke dialogue. This happens a lot in Forums.

Nonetheless, our mind-sets can prevent us from thinking things through. We see and respond to the world based on our experience, education, beliefs, culture values, religion etc. Sometimes our perceptions are limited by our pattern of thinking. For example, I have a fixed mind-set on religion particularly Christianity. My perspective and conviction is unwavering. Therefore, I am resistant to change in that area of thought.

The challenge is freeing oneself from mental constraints. From experience when you get into a mental rut you will discount, ignore, misinterpret, and overlook information. The problem is sometimes people are in a mental rut and don’t know it.


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