The Nature of Thoughts
Let me propose a thought experiment.
We can be sure that we do not have full control over our thoughts. This can be exemplified by an exercise: try to completely stop thinking. What you’ll instantly notice is that you can’t. You obviously can’t control that absence of thoughts even if you choose to. ‘The voice’ is always there.
If you pay more attention to your inability to stop thinking, you will notice that you also have little control over what you think about. The voice randomly switches from topic to topic without your choosing. Go for a walk. And try to let the mind wander. You’ll notice that things come to mind that you have, once again, no control over.
If you can’t control 1 & 2, then why be troubled by the voice in your head? If, for example, you are nervous about your performance for an upcoming presentation, you should question that self-doubt. Especially if it’s unhealthy. There is healthy self-concern, of course. But perhaps even that should be reevaluated.
All thought — including love & sadness — should be open to scrutiny by the reflective state of mind (‘slow’ thinking). If you happen to think you like someone because of a pleasant exchange between the two of you, you should be wary of your persuasion & certainty. What are ‘you’ really certain of? You remember a pleasant experience (see my last post on ‘Our Perception of Others’). In the end, you have not carefully guided your thoughts. You are Voyager with a broken compass all the while assuring yourself that you are not.
This should open us to empathy & intense appreciation of exchanges between human beings. We don’t know what is happening to us. We don’t know what the human condition is. We just have thoughts about it.
So, be open.
Before you go…
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I write to keep you thinking and to keep me thankful and reflective. Cheers and until next time,