Kind of sounds like a silly question, but I think very relevant in today’s world:
What is ‘thinking’? What is the value of ‘thinking’?
Do we like to think? Do you like to think? Do you want to think more or less in your life?
What is ‘thinking’?
To think means to ‘suppose, perceive, to know.’
Thus in this regard, thinking can be seen as synonymous to knowledge/wisdom.
Does one ‘think’ actively?
Now this is a question:
Can you actually sit down and force yourself to think? Or do thoughts just naturally (and spontaneously) come to you?
For myself, I don’t actively “think”. Ideas usually come to me totally randomly; seemingly out of nowhere. I typically ‘think’ when I let my mind go empty/fallow.
For example, I am only able to think when I have no distractions or nonsense in my mind. Thus for me, striving for zen is my attempt to rid my mind of superfluous garbage, and let my mind become more perceptive of my own thoughts. This is why I am anti media and social media; I don’t want my own inner-thoughts to be crowded out by random noise and external stimuli from media.
Thinking as deeply pleasurable
For myself, I gain some of the deepest joy in my life when I come up with new ideas. To me, there is nothing more exciting about having a novel thought or idea which I am interested in writing about, deconstructing, and blogging/sharing. Furthermore, I am passionate about philosophy and knowledge, and thinking/contemplating is an essential bridge in order to deepen our knowledge/wisdom and “truthiness” about the world.
A brain is a terrible thing to waste
Why do we have brains?
Technically the purpose of a brain isn’t to “think” for the sake of it. Nor is the purpose of a brain to create artwork or to philosophize.
The brain is for movement
The real purpose of the brain (I think) is to coordinate movement, in order to procure food and nutrition. Much of the brain is needed to coordinate movement. The purpose of the eyes is probably more about coordinating movement and direction. We are bipeds (walk on two legs) in order to walk long distances with little fatigue. If we believe in the notion of ‘hunter gatherer’, our movement is essential to hunt animals and walk to procure food items.
But in today’s modern world, food is easily procurable and movement is seamless. Honestly I think we could probably amputate the legs of 90% of the population and everything would still work fine (we sit at the office, sit in our cars, sit at home)– what do we need legs for? What do we need to move for? (remember the scene in Wall-E with the fat humans on the floating chairs).
We decide what to do with our brains
You didn’t ask to be born, but the fact is you’re alive and you are here. You will die, but you’re not dead (yet). You’re still alive, cognizant, and you got your brain/mind.
I would actually say that our mind is synonymous to our soul and life itself. If I were ‘brain-dead’ (in a coma), I would actually consider myself dead. Or if I had severe Alzheimers and couldn’t remember who I was or my memories, I would consider ‘Eric Kim’ as no longer alive.
Thus in short terms:
If you don’t think or if you don’t have a (functioning) mind, you are not fully alive.
Of course if you’re breathing, you are still “alive”. Life = breath in many philosophical understandings.
What do you desire to direct your mind towards while you’re still alive and cognizant?
But anyways going back to our prior point– you are alive, and you got a mind. So the simple question is this:
While you are still alive and have a functioning mind, what do you desire to do with your mind? What do you desire to do with your life?
This is a decision that you determine, dictate, and choose.
You must think in order to direct your life, or determine what to create
I believe that we are happiest when we are creating. Furthermore if your desire is to become more powerful, focus on becoming a producer rather than (only) a consumer. My basic idea of ‘producerism‘ is this:
Spend 90% of your time producing, and only 10% of your time consuming.
Consume IN ORDER to create/produce. Don’t consume for the sake of consuming.
Like our buddy Socrates once said —
“I eat in order to live. You live in order to eat.”
Eating and consuming isn’t a means to an end, which means— the purpose of your life isn’t to maximize your sensory pleasures. The point of your mind isn’t to direct yourself to eat as many delicious foods. The point of your mind is to procure nutrition, thoughts, and ideas in order to become more powerful.
How to think (more)
I believe the best way to “think” more is to remove more junk from your mind. To stop listening to news, consuming media, consuming social media, etc. The best way to think is to remove external stimuli which prevent your mind from going fallow and relaxing, which gives our mind the chance to create unique thoughts and interesting ideas.
- Think while commuting: During your commute, don’t read, listen to podcasts, or listen to music. Let yourself get “bored”in order to think more. If you drive, drive without music/podcasts/distractions. Get into a zen zone during your commute.
- Delete Instagram, and stop using social media: What is more valuable to you — “keeping in touch” with others, or valuing your own mind, thoughts, and your own personal epicness? Social media is toxic for your brain, self esteem, and your ability to think.
- Go on long walks with no distractions. Walk for fun, and the thinking will come naturally. No music, podcasts, or any other distractions. Let your mind wander!
- Allow yourself to ask yourself ‘heretical’ questions. Challenge everything and social norms. Think about questions which are dangerous, interesting, and curious to you. For myself, a lot of what I’ve been taught always smells like bullshit, and I use my writing/philosophical inquiries to challenge what I’ve been taught/indoctrinated. In other words, be like a child who always asks “WHY?” to everything.
Dictate your meaning and purpose in your life with ZEN OF ERIC:
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- How to Use Photography as Self-Therapy
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