Thoughts on Thinking

"When somebody persuades me that I am wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes

"If you're unhappy with your life, change your thinking." Charles Fillmore

"The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it." Eckhart Tolle

"People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them." Epictetus

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

"Consciousness is a terrible thing to waste." PunditGeorge

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Sun King (sort of)

A couple of weeks ago we had a “cold” front move in from the northwest. Although not “cold” it brought much drier, cooler, fresher air and some rain – all welcome. Yet the day before the front arrived, it was warm, muggy, and the air was filled with pollen, dust - all sorts of sneezable stuff. The approaching front compressed the stale air ahead of it before displacing it. It can be uncomfortable just before the front arrives.

Thinking is similar. Both personal and global thinking responds to the movement of fresh ideas. Like the weather front, new ideas gather strength and compress the old, stale, thinking, making it more annoying prior to its displacement. This is why there seems to be so much wailing and gnashing of teeth everywhere – the final compression of obsolete thinking.

For instance, there continues to be worry, fretting, and concern over supplies of oil. The mind-set is that the world has a finite quantity of oil and once gone, gone forever. Consider how that thought - taught, accepted, and assumed - affects a host of other thoughts and decisions? Actually, it appears that more oil is being discovered than has been consumed. Yet how much mischief is created by faulty perceptions of lack and limitation? Consider the tale of the Sun King.

The Sun King ruled a land of bounty. But the King was influenced by people who were convinced that the sun would eventually stop shining. He became jealous of the sunshine, and to make sure he had enough he decreed that his subjects could no long sun bathe – insuring more sun would be available for him. Yet his fear continued to grow and he imagined how awful would be his kingdom with less sunlight. So, to preserve the sunlight, he forbade animals to move around during the day. He decreed that all animals would remain in stables, caves, or in the shade, during the day so as not to soak up the King’s sunlight. Yet he worried that when the sunshine ended he would not have a land to rule over and this disturbed him. It was necessary to decree that no plants should be permitted to soak up the precious sunshine. So the fields were covered…okay, you know how the story ends.

There was all the sunshine in the world. It was the fear of a lack of sunshine that led the Sun King to make his counter-productive decrees. Every person in the world could go outside during the day, every animal could walk around in the sun, and of course all the plants could soak up the rays - and there would be plenty of sun for the King.

The variances on this tale continue. Silly, isn’t it?

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