Month: January 2018

Musing Two

Musing Two

I recently heard a speaker say that thoughts are things. That set me thinking (or maybe “thinging”). Are thoughts really things? If I ask, “What are you thinking?”; and you reply, “Nothing”, are you really saying that your thoughts are not things? Or, are you saying that at that moment you are thinking of no particular thing or that you are not thinking at all? (Is that possible? Another question; perhaps another musing.)

To begin my quest for an answer, I turned to my dictionary, Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, 2nd Edition. It’s over thirty years old; but authoritative enough for my needs. For the word, thought, it provides eight definitions:
1) The act or process of thinking, reflection, meditation; cogitation.
2) The power of reasoning or of conceiving ideas.
3) A result of thinking; idea, concept, opinion, etc.
4) The ideas prevalent at a given time.
5) Attention; consideration.
6) Mental engrossment; preoccupation.
7) Intention or expectation.
8) A little; a trifle.
And for the word, thing, it gives 13:
1) Any matter, circumstance, affair or concern.
2) That which constitutes an end to be achieved.
3) That which is conceived, spoken of, or referred to as existing as an individual, distinguishable entity.
4) Any single entity distinguished from all others.
5) A tangible object as distinguished from a concept, quality, etc.
6) An item, detail, etc.
7) That which is represented as distinguished from the word or symbol that represents it.
8) An inanimate object; any lifeless material or object.
9) A person (as in “poor thing”).
10) An act; a deed; a transaction; a matter; an event; an action; that which is done, or is to be done.
11) Something mentioned but unnamed as in contempt or because the name is not known or remembered.
12) Clothes; personal belongings.
13) In law, that which may be owned.

Nothing in the definition of thought refers to any object; and the fifth definition of thing, excludes thought (a synonym for concept). So according to Noah thought aren’t things. But, Webster on the web states a thought is “something (such as an opinion or belief) in the mind”. Which implies that the “mind” is an object itself. (And that leads to the whole body/mind conundrum which I do not want to tackle.)

My take is that thought is not a thing but an activity. I think and the outcome of that thinking is a thought. Just as if I walk, the result of that activity is travel. So when you ask me “What are you thinking?” and I say “Nothing”, I am merely saying that my thought activity has no desired outcome. I am not applying it to any concept within the context of our mutual exchange. And if I say “I just thought of something.”, it can mean I have been thinking about a particular object which I am not naming. Or it can mean that I have a concept which I am not codifying; but would probably elucidate if asked.

Musing One

Musing One

A little over 50 years ago, I aspired to be a writer. I even submitted a script to MGM for the television series, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”. They returned it immediately. I needed an agent. I didn’t know how to get one; writing was hard; college was fun. The next season, or, maybe, two seasons later, I watched an episode that had a premise similar to mine. I didn’t think I had been plagiarized. I just thought, maybe, I should have tried to get an agent.

I bring this up for two reasons. First, I find writing hard work. This is my third attempt at writing a blog. In one of my attempts, I think I completed three posts. So, I am not promising anything. It’s just that in the last month I have lost two friends to brain disease; and my readings indicate challenging the brain with hard work can help maintain its health. Hopefully, regularly attempting to put down thought on paper (electronic media) will exercise my grey matter.

At this point I have no goal other than to try to post at least twice a month and to have each post stretch to a minimum of five hundred words. I am not expecting a following or that anyone other than myself will read these words. I post them because WordPress has been sending me repeated reminders to update my blog.

Secondly, I have been thinking about the emanation of ideas. I have had the good fortune to travel to Europe, the Middle East and South of the border. On most of these trips, I have visited sites with fortresses built atop a hill and villages below. (Beaufort Castle in Lebanon and Tulum in Mexico are two examples.) Building on a hill provides not only a view but a defensive advantage. Being able to see the approach of marauders from afar leads to a level of comfort and security. Hilltop edifices also served as symbols of wealth and power.

After visiting these sites, I marveled at the fact that civilizations separated by thousands of miles of ocean could deploy the same strategies. I began to wonder about universal concepts and their discovery. Is there a pool of consciousness feeding ideas; or are there just incidents of reality that as we observe we begin to understand? For example, the triangle is common to most cultures. For some it became a religious symbol while others developed an understanding of the right triangle and utilized it architecturally. Was the understanding of the 3-4-5 right triangle (one of Pythagoras’ triples) inspiration or the result of trial and error?

I have been reading Vishen Lakhiani’s The code of the Extraordinary Mind. He writes “There is a model of reality emerging that suggests that the universe comes calling – and your job is to listen.” He goes on to cite different sources that suggest that the universe (or nature as some call it) is trying to create at all times and that it will continuously search out a medium for that creation until it finds one.

With my script, I did answer the call to create. However, I didn’t follow through to publish. Could it be that the universe requires creativity but also recognition? Is an idea not fulfilled unless it reaches some level of dissemination?