Enlightened Conflict

the day I cried about thinking

August 11th, 2014

thinker cap




“The proper method for hastening the decay of error, is not, by brute force, or by regulation which is one of the classes of force, to endeavor to reduce men to intellectual uniformity; but on the contrary, by teaching every man to think for himself.”


William Godwin







Thinking for yourself.



A topic … if you dare to discuss with an old person … that suggests because of the internet, and games and a whole host of other issues … the young cannot think for themselves.







I have one word for them.




bullshit and more

And I have some research on this <which certainly disproves this perception or belief> to support my succinct ‘bullshit’.



Unfortunately … I have some incredibly bad news for everyone <young & old>.


<insert a deep “sigh” here>



The research points out the majority of us do not like to think for themselves … at all.



I almost cried when I read this research.
I was absolutely depressed afterwards.




I don’t think thinking is a pain.



But apparently 2/3rds of people hate thinking.


They hate it so much they think it is painful.

thinking hurts


How painful?


<pretty frickin’ painful>


“What is striking is that simply being alone with their thoughts was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.”


the research scientists




I almost cried.
How can something so valuable to me … <and seems like it should be of at least some value to the majority of people> … would be so abhorrent that they would select an electric shock rather than think?



I don’t have an answer to that my friends.



But I wish I did.



Perhaps the most surprising aspect of recent psychology experiments proving the human aversion to thinking is when tasked with sitting in a chair and doing nothing but thinking, two-thirds of men and a quarter of women chose to give themselves electric shocks to pass the time.






The researchers, with the objective to check whether people might actually prefer something bad to nothing at all, gave participants the option of administering a mild electric shock … instead of thinking.



While it is painful for me to make this point … I want to be clear on the choice made versus thinking in this test.




They had been asked earlier to rate how unpleasant the shocks were, alongside other options, such as looking at pictures of cockroaches or hearing the sound of a knife rubbing against a bottle.




All the students picked for the test said they would pay to avoid mild electric shocks after receiving a demonstration.





thinking mind meld


In the test … 12 of 18 men gave themselves up to four electric shocks, as did six of 24 women.



I cried now.






Thinking has to be the least expensive, with the easiest access, activity anyone can ever find.


It is so easily accessible I imagine it is easy to reach a conclusion that if people found it truly stimulating … lost in thought … I guess you could assume then they would surely do it more often.



But the fact is that most people will do anything to avoid sitting down and having a dialogue with their internal voices.



In fact … it seems the majority of people find unstructured, uninterrupted thinking as a horrible experience.





My guess is that there is no guarantee where all that thinking might go.




In today’s world that sounds purposeless.


Or a waste of <valuable> time.



Or simply valueless.


Or maybe simply to dependent on random for outcome.



I guess the good news is <said sarcastically> that this information could  suggest mental illness is limited <in quantity of people> because much of what we call mental illness … is simply a loss of control over thought.



In other words … we can’t stop ourselves thinking what we don’t want to think … or we put so much energy into not thinking certain things … that all thoughts just get bent out of shape.



In any case … we find ourselves suffering unable to escape from the horror inside our heads.



While that sounds like something most of us are quite familiar with <in lesser degrees than true mental illness> … by avoiding any type of thinking … something like 2/3rds of people avoid any horror in their head..



That said.



People have always been fairly industrious with finding ways to not think … by doing things.

Doing helps us not have to go thru the pain of thinking.


In the past we made shit <woodworking, building stuff with our hands, etc,>, we sewed, we farmed, we hunted … oh … and we had lots of sex <and had more kids to take care of>.



In the research … that ‘doing’ came to life in an electric shock.



But why should thinking be such a pain?


The old fashioned psychoanalytic answer <which has flaws but is a shitload smarter than the trite mindless ‘blame it on cellphones/technology’> is that culturally we have become more dependent on what, I hesitate to call, an aggressive greedy drive.



I believe I would rather suggest it is a self-actualization <problem solving> aspect – in the form of a tangible foreseen outcome.


thinking psychology the-7-sins-venn-diagram

Let’s call it maybe self interest in terms of ‘proof of behavior.’



And thinking means something disorderly.
Something intangible <or maybe no guarantee of something tangible> therefore less likelihood to conclude in ‘specific proof of behavior.’



“We take flight mentally when we rise above our habitual ways of thinking about things and experience new insights.

This is what it means to open our minds.

Emotionally, we take flight when the strength of our passion exceeds the strength of our blockages; the floodgates open and we are free to feel fully.

Spiritually we take flight when we locate that part of ourselves that is beyond the constraint of linear time and the world of form.

It is in this place that we experience the essential boundlessness that defines the experience of flight.

Taking flight is always about freeing ourselves from form, if only temporarily.

When we literally fly, in a plane or on a hang glider, we free ourselves from the strength of gravity’s pull.

over thinking mess

As we open our minds and our hearts, we free ourselves from habitual patterns of thought and emotional blockages.

As we remember our true nature, we free ourselves from identification with the temporary state of our physical forms. The more we stretch our wings, the clearer it becomes that taking flight is a state of grace that simply reminds us of who we really are.”


Daily Om



Thinking is about taking flight <mentally>.


And ‘proof’ often goes counter to flying … it is more relatable to ‘keeping your feet on the ground.’



And I wrote that to get back to the infamous ‘kids don’t think enough’ and ‘youth is too whimsical and not practical enough’ and ‘technology is making people mentally lazy.’



Lets be clear.


This is a cultural, metal mindset, issue and not a cultural trend issue.



The findings that the researchers <at Virginia and Harvard University> report is NOT a reflection of cultural trends weaving their way through society unnoticed and affecting the mental development of young people at a particular stage in their lives <despite what us older folk want to say>.



Suffice it to say that in more than 11 separate studies, the researchers showed that people hated being left to think, regardless of their age, education, income or the amount they used smartphones or social media.




thinking brain technical difficulty

Let me repeat that … “people hated being left to think, regardless of their age, education, income or the amount they used smartphones or social media.”



This is not a young person issue.



In addition … the lead researcher said the findings were not necessarily a reflection of the pace of modern life or increased use of mobile devices and social media.



In fact … those things might be popular because of our constant urge to ‘do something’ rather than nothing.


<whew … chew on that thought for a second or two>
Why do I get stunned when I find people really do not want to think?
Most people take shit at face value.


Most people don’t really think even when they do think <they accept opinion easily>.



And then they blame those who make you think <purposefully>.



Huh?thinking and crying



I don’t want everyone to be an intellectual.


But … boy oh boy … I find it depressing that over 2/3rds of people don’t want to think.



I am going to go away now and cry.

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Enlightened Conflict