“Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think.” – Ayn Rand
Daily Nugget of Gold 1561
Thinking We Think
Not one to mince words, the great playwright George Bernard Shaw said this: “Two percent of the people think, three percent of the people think they think, and ninety-five percent of the people would rather DIE than THINK” Wow, is that ever a scathing indictment of humanity! We’re not going to spend time trying to determine if his observed percentages were accurate, we’re just going to accept the notion that most people aren’t very aware of their own in-born mental capacity, and most of those folks aren’t interested in finding ways to increase their ability to reason..
Once we’ve reached an age where attendance in a learning institution is no longer compulsory, we are, by definition, there voluntarily. For many folks- compulsory education goes beyond the state mandated requirements, and even though the law might not compel us to stay- parental influence may command it. Once we get to a point, however, that we no longer feel an obligation to remain, then we are subjecting ourselves to it willingly, true? Why did we have to go on in detail on this? Because we want to illuminate the difference between being a voluntary consumer of it rather than feeling as if we’re forced to be there.
We also want to draw a distinction between memorizing things and thinking. Plenty of people attend school and find ways to memorize vast amounts of information- at least long enough to pass the tests. While schools like to think of themselves as institutions of learning, or institutions of “higher learning”, how to think isn’t one of the courses we commonly find there. Surely, more than five percent of the population go to high school or college. Shaw gave us no credit for doing so in his quote. In fact, in his observation here, he gives no real credit for being “educated”. (That word really is offensive in one way, it implies that there is an end point at which we no longer benefit from learning)
So if “being educated” isn’t the same as thinking, what exactly is this “thinking” thing all about? We’d like to call it a process, a simple method of getting from here to there- wherever “here” is and wherever the “there” is we wish to go. As with every process, there are methodologies to explore, some quite useful, others not so much. As we continue, we’ll examine some of them. For now, are you yourself willing to learn and apply what you’ve learned in the application of thinking? If you’re not willing to do that- and most people aren’t, save yourself the aggravation and find something interesting to watch on television. If you are looking to expand your mental powers join us next time to begin.
Question of the Day to Ask Ourselves
“When was the last time I actively thought through a problem?”
Copyright 2016 Kevin Littleton,all rights reserved.