Happy Monday folks!
“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin — more even than death…. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought looks into the pit of hell and is not afraid. Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.” ~Bertrand Russell
Did you ever notice how much people are afraid of the thought process? Some are afraid to think for themselves, while others are afraid of whatever it is that you yourself are thinking. Still others are so committed to their own thoughts, embracing and coddling them like they were children, that they will go to the point of protecting those thoughts at all cost, often to the point of either damaging a friendship, or foiling a potential one. In fact I think we’ve all seen people so involved in their own thought process, and mired so deeply in the muck of their own minds, that they seemingly might never free themselves from the world in which they have decided they live, beyond their control. It makes me scratch my head at times.
Personally, I find it necessary to be as open minded as possible. I don’t mean just saying I’m open minded, but actually practicing a method of consciousness that churns my own thinking in a way that lets other thoughts be blended in, much like the folding of ingredients into a tasty baked good. For, without this blending of additional thoughts, how can I possibly grow? As far as I can tell, I can never grow in such a condition.
In keeping with the theme of baked goods, let’s take for example a leavened bread dough. We add yeast to the flour and some sugar and water to feed that yeast. By doing this we get a sponge that is capable of absorbing other flavors and colors to give us a wide variety of tastes and textures. Even more exciting are sourdough cultures, where a portion of the dough is removed, and fed more sugar and water, to literally create a living dough. In sourdoughs, we also allow bacteria to cultivate. While we routinely think of bacteria as undesirable, in this case it actually provides us with a richer, heartier, product. Then, with the repetition of that division and re-feeding process, the dough can live for centuries. In fact the oldest commercially marketed sourdough culture has been alive and in use for nearly 200 years!
So what has this to do with thought? Well thought is the same way. We’re constantly evolving each as individuals and as cultures, not to mention both individually as cultures and collectively as a planetary culture. Without each culture purposefully experiencing a separation of thought processes (i.e. the dough we already have), and the infusion of new thought processes (i.e. the sugar and water for food), those thought processes begin to feed on themselves. Without the nourishment of fresh and evolved thoughts, our ways and means will begin to feed upon themselves. It is even necessary to involve thoughts that we might consider undesirable (i.e. the bacteria), lest we end up with tastes and textures that are redundantly less and less desirable intraculturally. Without these methods of nurturing thought, our methods for adaptation and survival become existential, or even isolationist. In the end, our world becomes vulnerable to implosion, and our ways of life, or overall existences, become anachronisms.
I’m not saying we have to all get along, though that’s entirely possible. I’m not even saying that we have to like what others are thinking. But I ‘am’ saying that we have to be open to the thoughts of others, no matter how diverse, or even contradictory to our own. Whether we accept them or reject them, is of little consequence. Just being open to hearing or reading them is enough to allow them to insinuate themselves into our world. From that insinuation we can glean all sorts of new perspectives. From those perspectives we gain new understanding or many things, both old and new in their natures. From that understanding, we are presented with new choices for ourselves. And, from those new choices, we evolve into better human beings, because we necessarily allow ourselves a deeper integration into humanity as a whole. This makes us better, each and every one of us.
Why are we then better?
Because we weren’t afraid of what someone else thought.
Hope you have a happy and productive Monday!!! I’m having a fantastic day, just like every other day… because I refuse to allow my days to be anything but awesome!