I have of late been thinking about thinking and the loss of this most basic of functions. From before our birth (mostly in reference to our minds while in utero.
Pre-life, pre-existence thought may be a topic for another time) we have definitive brain activity, activity that supposes thought of some kind. But like the age old question of a falling tree making sounds when no one is around, can there be thought without context?
An example might be an old Next Generation Star Trek episode that pits the Captain (Picard for those not so inclined) against another captain who is determined to reach a communicative consensus by forcing a showdown on a planet inhabited by a gruesome and dangerous foe.
The problem was not the language, they could understand the words but it was the context of the words that mattered and the meaning of those words in relation to that unknown framework. Not to be a spoiler for those who are rushing toward Netflix to see this episode but the captains do find that consensus and Picard does start to understand the framework that allows for understandable communication.
It was like telling a joke with the punch line referencing the use of a Disneyland “E” ticket when no prior understanding of what an “E” ticket was. The joke would be ineffective and certainly not funny. By the way the “E” ticket was from a pre-packaged group of tickets ranging from A- E with the E allowing access to the best rides at the park, you were only allowed 2 E tickets within the pack.
In the book “men are from Venus and Women are from Alpha Centauri, or was it Pluto, wait that’s not even a planet anymore, ooh ya, Mars, the differences in our communication techniques presupposes a similar context of understanding. Newsflash, men and women are different and those differences create a contextual misunderstanding even when the same language and words are used. So it is with thought.
“I think, therefor I am” does help us to understand but it does not go far enough in explaining what happens to original thoughts, inceptive sparks of intuition that mark our very first notion of being. Do we know were alive when that flicker of light crosses our eyes through the uterine wall and do we have any context to create a cogent thought surrounding that initial experience?
Some will say that context is universal and that all humans begin life with a similar contextual foundation. Others may say that conscious thought is a series of unconnected events that eventually find meaning when external forces assist in those connections, suggesting that thought without context is not only meaningless but impossible.
All purely theoretical, especially sense we all have some level of thought processes that enable us to function but therein lays the question, are we losing our ability to think, not only objectively but critically as well, leaving us all with the idea that consensus is the ultimate criteria for thought, whatever the masses believe is the truth and whatever is advertised the most effectively is the way it should be.
In the past plutonian methods it was the process of thought that all truths were found and for generations that method endured leaving objective and scientific methods, not only unavailable but forbidden. The thought process was held supreme but now it seems that even the archaic idea of using the mind has been forsaken for a more simple process of external infusion and regurgitation.
We are a society of soggy, mem-brains (yes I know it’s misspelled) using our minds for nothing more than information dissemination. Original thought, inspirational endeavors and any attempt to move beyond the preset, sterilized, packaged programs of political correctness and hyperbolistic smut is a thing of the past, at least for the majority of humanity. Most lean heavenly on the opinions of a few without taking time to consider the context of the spewed rhetoric, accepting without cause the words of the famous over any attempt to discover the reasons why, the purpose or the effects of blind acceptance.
Information without context is nothing more than trivia. Knowledge without an established framework is like a loaded gun in the hands of an unsuspecting child, ever ready to pull the trigger, never knowing the danger behind the barrel nor the enormous consequences of such a simple act.
Our thinking needs to be re-tuned and reestablished within a logical and workable context, a structure like the classical thinkers that helped to create the beauties and freedoms we enjoy today. It’s ok not to agree but not agreeing just because of race, religion, superstition or political motivation creates a system of power over substance, greed over compassion and thought without reason.
It’s time to start thinking, start pondering and considering the alternatives based on realities of history and the obvious outcomes of specific choices, choices that if made or ignored will inevitably result in similar if not exact duplication of past mistakes.
It’s all about the context of whom and what we are in relation to what we think we can become, but that takes some serious thought, maybe we’re not ready for that level of commitment.