January 1st, 2002 (On Too Much Thinking.txt)

by phil on Thursday Jun 12, 2003 7:37 PM
rational thinking


I read somewhere that the ability to reason and deliberate was a more recent development of the human species. Somewhere in the history, around when we picked up language and henceforth sophistication, we came up with this idea of rational thinking.

While I admire rational thinking, I must always return back to its limits. There is so much detail and complexity that is involved in the process of doing. Look at simple things we "do." A very attractive women comes up to me. First, the image is processed in my mind that this women is indeed attractive. The shape of her figure, the color of her hair, the structure of her face all register and are compared, unquestioningly, with my notions of "beauty" and produce what is the usual response to a beautiful figure entering my vicinity. Naturally, my pace and breath quickens, and consciously, I perk up my stance and strike a smile, both activities which require a million synapses firing between my head and my spinal chord. And then I make a conversation with a subconscious intent to make this person also find me attractive and want to sleep with me. All of this, all of these processes come naturally on their own, without question. Now if I were to sit there and deliberate on what would be the proper response to this girl, I would fail. In fact, I would get lost into infinite regress whereby I would have to, at some point, have a complete knowledge of the decision making systems of humans, and thus depending on the fact that I should have read Sartre's "Being and Nothingness" a task which I have yet to do, and therefore, impossible for 99.99% of mere mortals.

And look at the structure of thought. Usually it's limited to what our senses can deal with: words, visualizations, sounds, and so forth. Every so often we are graced with an abstract thought, a thought that's usually reserved for the mathematicians, artists, and philosophers, but such are far and few between. Thought is indeed limited to simple, concrete, managable pieces. Thus, if you could summarize an activity into a few tidbits of rational thinking, then it speaks wonders to the ambitiousness of the individual or the raw simplicity of the subject to be thought out.

Deliberate not.

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