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

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What are you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

What is real?  From day one you’re involved in a great circus of attention seeking – those seeking it from you, and your attempts to get others to focus on (agree with) you.  At the meeting (family meeting, Board meeting, business meeting, etc) those present may agree on an item.  Yet when each member is asked, individually, about the agreed upon item, each will have a different slant.  It can’t be otherwise.  (You know the story:  “But, we agreed that…”)

It’s a feature of our lives – subjective views on reality.  No two people can have the same, identical, image (perception) of something.  Each individual is unique and interprets his/her experience in their distinctive manner.  There’s nothing new about this human feature.

Epictetus  was a Greek Stoic living in the first century CE who noted that men are not disturbed by things but by the view they take of them (emphasis mine.)  Obviously an idea that rode the centuries.  We find it proclaimed on stage in Hamlet:  “…for there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.”  And, from Bishop George Berkeley, The only thing we can perceive are our own perceptions.  Berkeley was writing in that glorious time just prior to the founding of this nation.  It was a time of bold thinking, opening perspectives for what would later be comprehended as quantum physics.

For instance, Berkeley followed a perception that what is considered a material universe is but an observation (perception) of the idea of material universe.  His syllogism:

(1) We perceive ordinary objects (houses, mountains, etc.).
(2) We perceive only ideas.
(3) Ordinary objects are ideas

That’s heady thinking for the 18th century, yet “We inhabit a cosmos made real in part by our own observations…our observations influence the universe at the most fundamental levels,” stated the late physicist John Wheeler - the man who coined the phrase “black holes” and “wormhole.”  I imagine what a lively discussion he and Berkeley might have.

Our own observations (attention) influence the universe… now that’s something for a movie!  The movie was titled Rashomon, directed by legendary Akira Kurosawa, and released in 1950.  The plot involves four witnesses to a rape and murder.  Yet each testimony differs, often dramatically.  Yet each presents the event from his/her observation (perspective.)  Thus, a “subjective view” to the reality of the rape and murder.  (One witness is the channeled victim who one would think would know the reality, but then…)

Adventures in thinking…

…to be continued…

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