Thinking – about Thinking (part II)

The point of the previous post is not that people do things unthinkingly – although that happens enough. It’s that they aren’t thinking about the process or the content of their thinking while doing something others would consider suspect. Hitler didn’t think about his thoughts on attacking Russia and his ostensible pal Stalin. Rather, the thought about attacking Russia and Stalin and if there were any associated thoughts, they were about the hatred he had toward Slavs. It can’t be said with certainty that, late at night, lying next to Eva or later, in his bunker, that he never stopped to consider his thought patterns. That will certainly remain unknown. An allied question might be, do you, after some large life event, laying in your bed at night, stop to think about your thoughts? Or do you, like most, ponder the outcome of those thoughts and actions?

When people ask “what was he thinking?”, they are asking something they themselves rarely, if ever, do. When have you stopped to think about your thoughts? It’s not a common occurrence.

The population is roughly divided into four parts: those with defects (5%), the ‘masses’ (80%), the upper crust (10%) and the elite (5%). Those with defects could be mind or body. They don’t, for whatever reason, compete in the grand game of life. The masses are those working Joes and Janes who care little about things that go beyond their personal world. Thinking about thinking is something that they would never think about. The upper crust, they make decisions that affect those beneath them and there may be a time or two where they are called upon to reflect on their thoughts. Perhaps in a jail cell or on a witness stand, perhaps in their luxury suite at the Waldorf or on their Gulfstream 550. The elite, they might do it more often. They might not do it EVER. Like Stalin or Churchill or Bush, they may consider themselves above such things.

Thinking about thinking is the realm of the philosopher. Not just the philosopher as educated, but those people who consider that pursuit part of themselves, their makeup. The rest of the populace – and most of the upper 15% is included – rarely stop to think about thinking. The reason is clear and obvious. Most folks don’t actually stop to think about it, but they feel what they feel is right. Hitler didn’t invade Russia thinking it was the wrong thing to do. He may have had doubts militarily but not philosophically. Like Bush sending America to war in Iraq, they both knew they were right. Very few serial murderers feel they are doing the wrong thing. Same for a baker, a barber, a cop or a animal shelter worker tossing the unwanted into the killing machine.

We spend our lives, no matter the point we are in those lives, building up our world view. To think about thinking means to question that viewpoint and few are ready or willing to do that. There also has to be thoughts about questioning the viewpoint and that is above most people’s paygrade. It just doesn’t occur in their brain. Even the serial killer has built layer upon layer of beliefs that support his actions. There’s no need to question them. It’s the rare individual who is able to recognize their own thought pattern and give it some consideration. Very rare.

Even when they do – it will be heavily biased. Has to be. It is said that doctors of the mind are unable to analyze themselves for this very reason. The ability to be unbiased when considering one’s own thought patterns has to be next to impossible. That would cause a break in self. So we, should we ever do so, end up reinforcing our belief system when we consider it.

They guy who puts 300,000 christmas lights on his house, what was he thinking? Maybe he likes christmas lights, maybe it pisses off his wife. Maybe it angers the jew across the street. Maybe he’s in a competition with some guy across town. That’s what he was thinking. He wasn’t thinking – gee, what about putting up 300,000 lights? Or what do the lights mean to me? or any such thing – that thought was un-thought. It was there already. The real thinking was in – how do I wire these up? how do I hang them on that tree? how do I time the whole display and integrate radio sound into it? How do I pay my PGE once it’s over!? That’s the thinking he put in.

Thinking about thinking is rare. Questioning your thinking is even more so. Changing your thinking? Well, perhaps that is the rarest thought of all.

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~ by Mad Prophet on January 25, 2012.

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