• Xtrix
    4.1k
    A casual glance at this forum reveals numerous questions people ask themselves and others. It’s a sprawling array of topics, and it’s great to see. All of these questions are predicated on thinking — I take this as truism.

    Given this fact, I can’t help but wonder if what is needed for greater clarity and progress is to occasionally recognize thought as thought, and to basically put the questions aside for a while. In other words, to quit thinking pro tem.

    It’s a paradoxical suggestion. It says that in order to achieve better thinking and inquiring, one should back away from thought and questions. Seems strange. But as soon as we imagine “thinking” as an activity — as a kind of “doing” — then we can also treat it as habit and, perhaps, not a good one. Suddenly the suggestion doesn’t seem as strange.

    We often call bad habits “addictions.” It’s an activity done in excess. Substance abuse comes to mind. Where does thinking stand on this spectrum for those who frequently engage in online discussions (myself included)?

    Are we addicted to thought? Are we amateur “philosophers” steeping ourselves in excess?

    Therefore, is what is needed for better philosophy actually a fasting and detoxification of thought?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    I recall dividing up the human race into

    1. Thinkers (mind)
    2. Feelers (heart)
    3. Workers (body)

    Collectively, we're balanced; individually, we're unbalanced. Team work? :chin:

    A bit like the Hindu caste system, but minus all the superiority/inferiority crap, complementarity instead of hierarchy.
  • Bret Bernhoft
    115


    These are interesting points.

    I'd like to think that the answer here is a balance (as @Agent Smith has illustrated in a previous comment) between thinking, feeling and doing. Thereby encouraging regular fasting, even if for only a short period of time, for/from each of these modes.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    :up:

    God never gives everything to one person. — Numerius Negedius

    That is to say ...

    We must all hang together or, assuredly, we shall all hang separately. — Benjamin Franklin

    Makes sense, oui?
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    Are we addicted to thought?Xtrix

    Yes, we are and this addiction is what you expect from people who don't want to be basic. Whenever you try knowledge for the first you would not stop using it because you feel you are growing as a person. There is a huge difference between the ones who are addicted to thought and the ones who do not think at all.

    Are we amateur “philosophers” steeping ourselves in excess?Xtrix

    Speaking about myself, yes.

    , is what is needed for better philosophy actually a fasting and detoxification of thought?Xtrix


    I would not put "better" with "fast" in the same phrase. Quality needs their own time and progress. If we really want a more qualitative philosophy we have to start to thinking a lot then. But if we think fast we have the risk of not thinking so deeply.
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    God never gives everything to one person. — Numerius Negedius

    What about Jesus Christ or Muhammad or Abraham?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    What about Jesus Christ or Muhammad or Abraham?javi2541997

    I would give each one of 'em a C+ and, together a B+. The second coming?
  • universeness
    2.9k
    Not all addictions are bad, such as addiction to life, truth seeking, fighting injustice, altruism.
  • jgill
    2.4k
    Therefore, is what is needed for better philosophy actually a fasting and detoxification of thought?Xtrix

    I like this. In order to improve philosophy, don't do philosophy.

    Non-thinking is relevant to mathematics as well. Long retired, I still conjure up math notes and post them as a hobby. But in doing so I may be harming the subject. arXiv.org receives hundreds of papers a day, every day of the year. Much of this activity is polluting thought and contaminates what is pure, creating a swamp of diversity that drags the discipline into incomprehensible sludge.
  • Art48
    150
    Are we addicted to thought? Are we amateur “philosophers” steeping ourselves in excess?
    Therefore, is what is needed for better philosophy actually a fasting and detoxification of thought?
    Xtrix
    This brings to my mind Sherlock Holmes who would sometimes turn to playing the violin. For what purpose? To put thinking aside, to still the mind? To allow the subconscious to process the question? Of course, Holmes is fictional but temporarily abstaining from discursive thought may have concrete benefits.
  • introbert
    80
    Suggestion reminds me of ironic process theory that to try to suppress thoughts makes them more likely to occur. If you're trying not to think its best to get busy with something else.
  • Fooloso4
    3.7k


    In my opinion, the problem is not too much thought but too many opinions lacking careful, insightful, imaginative, informed thought.

    In order to achieve better thinking, there should be less internal monologue and more internal dialogue.

    But sometimes we would do well to quiet the mind.
  • praxis
    5.4k
    A hyperactive DMN (default mode network) is not conducive to well-being, I think, and the simple solution is to engage in activities that deactivate the DMN, such as meditation, long walks on the beach, dropping acid, or whatever. It helps to relax.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    Not all addictions are bad, such as addiction to life, truth seeking, fighting injustice, altruism.universeness

    I think the question here is what is an addiction? As someone who works in the area, one of the views of addiction generally holds that an addiction is when your behaviour interferes with your ability to live a smooth, integrated life and causes harmful distortions (health, family disfunction, relationships, etc). Is truth seeking or altruism ever an addiction? Perhaps when in pursuing these you come unstuck in other ways. I certainly know of social justice advocates who neglect their own families to the point where a child has suicided from lack of attention and care from a parent who was always too busy 'helping others'. I also know of people who are obsessed with 'fighting injustice' but are utter bastards to other people.

    The chaotic home life of some professional activists I have met are as dysfunctional as that of anyone with a substance addiction. I sometimes wonder if people throw themselves into causes because they struggle to make sense of relationships at a personal or intimate level. I also wonder if some people pursue philosophy and speculative work because they find it difficult to manage their personal life with actual human beings. For some perhaps taking refuge behind ideas and abstractions may be not much different than taking refuge in the bottle.
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    We often call bad habits “addictions.” It’s an activity done in excess. Substance abuse comes to mind. Where does thinking stand on this spectrum for those who frequently engage in online discussions (myself included)?

    Are we addicted to thought? Are we amateur “philosophers” steeping ourselves in excess?

    Therefore, is what is needed for better philosophy actually a fasting and detoxification of thought?
    Xtrix

    If we consider ‘thinking’ to be a kind of ‘doing’, then we’re only looking at the allocation of attention and effort towards thought over time. In relation to addiction, this can be considered ‘excessive’ when the allocation of these resources impairs our ability to function in a healthy way - whether ‘healthy’ is determined by ourselves or by those who rely on our interaction with the world.

    I think we can become addicted to thought in the sense that we avoid the application of thought to our own physical lives, preferring instead to focus our attention and effort on unproven theoretical discussions for their own sake. It’s safer to live in a virtual reality, where pain, loss and humiliation are thoughts that cannot really harm us - we could justify, ignore or argue them away at will.

    A similar addiction would be gaming - the abuse seems to be not on the body as much as it is on the mind and its relationship with the world.

    Meditative practices can be seen as a fasting or detoxification of thought. I think the important aspect of it is recognising that the connection between thinking, doing and feeling is in relation to our personal and ongoing allocation of time, effort and attention - our intentionality. Thinking is not just a kind of doing, any more than feeling is a kind of doing. Thinking, feeling and doing are all temporal reductions of a five-dimensional existence, inclusive of not-doing (wu-wei).
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    Not all addictions are bad, such as addiction to life, truth seeking, fighting injustice, altruism.universeness

    Positivism/optimism! :yawn:
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Not all addictions are bad, such as addiction to life, truth seeking, fighting injustice, altruism.universeness

    Like a moth to a flame. It's true, moths are attracted to light and, just as biologists say, they do spiral to their doom towards the flame and ... burn to death!

    Solutions?
  • universeness
    2.9k

    All the scenario's you exemplify are valid Tom. An addiction to a worthwhile cause such as altruism, life or truth seeking also requires wisdom and balance. Not easy to achieve perfect balance but its good to be addicted to trying to achieve such balance and 'prevent' any of the scenarios you caution.
  • universeness
    2.9k
    Positivism/optimism! :yawn:javi2541997

    Was that the yawn of a young man who sometimes needs to be a pessimist as that is an addiction he has developed based on his own 'thoughts and musings regarding the human experience?
    On another thread, you were expressing your recent positivity/optimism. Are you often 'up the hill and down again?'
  • universeness
    2.9k
    Solutions?Agent Smith

    Don't act like a moth to a flame! Humans are not moths nor do they have to act like them.
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Don't act like a moth to a flame! Humans are not moths nor do they have to act like them.universeness

    Most perceptive. Did you hear the story of Zhuangzi who was confused about whether he was a man or a butterfly? You must have.
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    On another thread, you were expressing your recent positivity/optimism. Are you often 'up the hill and down again?'universeness

    Yes. Well, I think when I wrote those lines I was medicated. I am even surprised how positive it was. Like it is weird that state of mind in my life.
  • universeness
    2.9k
    Did you hear the story of Zhuangzi who was confused about whether he was a man or a butterfly?Agent Smith

    No, I had to rely on google again. My knowledge of China is based on its political, natural and social history rather than its mythical history. From google I got "The Zhuangzi consists of a large collection of anecdotes, allegories, parables, and fables, which are often humorous or irreverent. Its main themes are of spontaneity in action and of freedom from the human world and its conventions."
    For me, this strains any personal interest I have and reduces it to whatever interest I can muster for any fairy tale. Hans Christian Anderson, Walt Disney and Chinese Taoism. I find it hard to see anything in such apart from entertainment and possibly some life lessons based on scenarios exemplified in storytelling. Like the wisdom of Solomon examples or any other cautionary tale, wrapped up in a fable.
    If any of my friends informed me of their concern that the issue of gender identity was never a problem for them, but they were unable to confirm what species they were, between hominid and invertebrate insect, then I would probably suggest they consult a psychiatrist rather than marvel at their dalliance with Chinese Taoism. I have two questions about Zhuangzi.
    1. Did he have memories of time spent as a caterpillar?
    2. Did he ever question why they were called butterflies? What have they to do with butter? Why are they not called flutterby's? As that is what they do! They flutterby!
    Edit: I looked up the etymology of butterfly and it said the insect often consumed butter or milk left open. So, it could have been named milkfly or buttermilkfly. I think my 'flutterby' is better.
  • universeness
    2.9k
    Yes. Well, I think when I wrote those lines I was medicated. I am even surprised how positive it was. Like it is weird that state of mind in my life.javi2541997

    Perhaps you need some 'thought detox,' as the title of the thread suggests. Perhaps you would benefit from retraining yourself out of your possible addiction to pessimism and despair.
    You don't of course need to answer this, but are you bipolar?
    Please forgive my impudence but I think in today's world, it's very very important that we all try to remove any stigma attached to talking about dealing with depression, despair etc. It needs to be an everyday, expected, normal subject to discuss, as the vast majority (if not all) of people experience such, regularly and for many, excessively.
    Feel free to tell me to f*** off and mind my own business!
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k


    Indeed, that far back in history the boundary between truth and myth is blurred to the point of being of no real value.

    As for Zhuangzhi needing a shrink, it was only a dream and nobody is considered mentally sick for having surreal experiences in dreamscape although a case can be made that one's dreams are a rough indicator of one's character and mental health. Was Zhuanghzi mad? Possible, an indictment in my book of reality - some of us havta lose our minds just not to die. Imagine!
  • universeness
    2.9k

    So, what is the life lesson or point behind Zhuangzhi's dream that you were trying to use in response to what I have typed so far in this thread?
    Was it your words:
    some of us havta lose our minds just not to die.Agent Smith
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    :blush:

    I don't think I need to explain that to someone of your caliber. Absit iniuria of course.
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    but are you bipolar?universeness

    I don't know... that's a good question. I never went to a psychologist or psychiatric because I always thought they will never understood me.
    Nevertheless... I am remembering now that one day of April the public workers of the hospital call me to just ask what is going on in my life. I answered with all my problems and insecurities.
    They just answered "You have crippling depression" and they prescribed me some pills that I am currently taking every morning
  • unenlightened
    7k
    A casual glance at this forum reveals numerous questions people ask themselves and others.Xtrix

    [snip]

    Therefore, is what is needed for better philosophy actually a fasting and detoxification of thought?Xtrix

    Observation, [consideration], question. Such is the structure of a thought, that invites further thought, even as it questions the value of thought. So let's think about it.

    It's kind of odd, in a away, to be looking a a site like this, obscure minority place, and of course made of nothing but verbal constructions of thought, and finding significance there. One cannot know how many folk read the op and have no thought to answer the question or consider the matter; one only sees the thoughts of those others provoked to more thought.

    I look through the fridge and the food cupboards, have a think and make a list of groceries, gather the necessaries money, bags, coat, and not forgetting the list, and head for the shops. Thought ends with action. That is simple, and sometimes it may end with inaction because the purse is empty, or the car won't start. and then there is the further question of how to fill the purse, or how to fix the car.

    The op ends with a question, but does that question need an answer? If it needs an answer, then the answer is "No, fasting is not required, but more thought, and here is some more thought that answers the question.

    If the answer were yes, there would be no replies. If the answer is yes, then our replies are foolish refusal. Is there more to said?. There's always more can be said, and probably someone will say some of it, because that is what the site is made of, but personally, do you need to think some more, or does your thought reach an end wherein is satisfied to leave this question, or another one, unanswered?
  • universeness
    2.9k
    some of us havta lose our minds just not to die. Imagine!Agent Smith

    Very enigmatic Mr Smith. Your full back story becomes more and more intriguing. I would like to know the details, but I think you won't do that as you prefer the enigmatic label.
    I don't think I need to explain that to someone of your caliberAgent Smith

    Very kind words! I hope I am worthy of them at some level. Like you sir, I fight to try to be wise and make sense of my experience and existence as a human being and my compulsion remains to celebrate life and reject the notion that life is a curse. It seems to me that you fluctuate between the pro and anti life celebration camps. I would love to convert you fully to a complete positivist/optimist with no pessimistic undertones at all. But ah don't fancy ma chances! :smile:
    At least I can cite you as someone who is determined to keep Latin 'Vivus!'
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