This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
There’s a difference between thinking, and having thoughts. And I’d posit that most of what we call thinking – such as “Here’s what I think” or “I think we should” – is actually closer to thoughting: a thought, from somewhere, pulled out of the thinking box spitter outer, pops up in our mind. And we go with it. “A thought occurred to me,” is much closer to what’s actually going on.
Thoughts lie in that realm of what we know, what we’ve heard, our opinion, our view, the conventional or unconventional wisdom, what we believe, our identity, and/or our stake in the world. They arise, fully formed, to tell us how it is, and how it’s not. It’s automatic. They’re just there, ready. Sometimes we get to pick one. Often there’s only “The One.”
“I find for myself that my first thought is never my best thought.”
– William Deresiewicz
Thinking, conversely, is an active phenomenon, requiring us to engage intellectually with and grapple with things. We go back to first principals, go back to the primordial, and work forward. We take it all in and let all of our faculties (from tangible to ethereal) work on it, make connections, discard things, draw associations, play with it, put it back, turn it around, and see what comes out of it.
Thoughting is useful, and quick, yet it has some pitfalls. In the realm of thoughting, we can be dismissive really fast if something challenges our thoughts. We can also be accepting really fast if something reinforces our thoughts. We can fight and kill off (sometimes metaphorically, sometimes literally) for something that contradicts our thoughts. We can be taken in and led astray, get caught in feedback loops* and cognitive dissonance, and miss many opportunities and freedoms.
When we want to grow, expand, nourish, and transform ourselves, it requires effortful and intentful thinking.
Thinking caps, anyone?
* – Which is why it is useful to have an other there to guide us away and keep our thinking in the realm of thinking and not drift into thoughting…