He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.Confucius
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.Confucius
The Philosopher’s Corner
A little precursor. Today may seem like somewhat of a rant. I prequalify this, because I see great transitions occurring the education system, something I am very passionate about. Yes, I may have disagreements with the context of how education is conducted, but it stands paramount as a major value in my life. In this article you will see the dangers that lie in a conscious effort to behaviorally train the mind to think in ways that serve the status quo versus training it to develop its own independent will and capacity to think and act for itself. I hope you enjoy.
There is a common theme written on every degree. I believe it is a message to anyone that has ever undertaken a journey to attain such an outcome. I am not one for formal education by any means, even though I am educated in a formal fashion. I assume this stance not out of some existential angst towards the educational system; instead I consciously assume a position of an independent, objective observer, who has witnessed first hand the atrocities formalized education commits upon the creativity, spirit, and the nature of humanity’s need to honor “body, mind, and spirit” in a balanced fashion.
What are these words on each degree. It is a saying of sorts, but three components are on each piece of paper that remind its recipient of the responsibilities assumed with each right given. The words: Rights, Privileges, and Responsibilities or slight variations thereof are inscribed onto of these tomes of accomplishment. They remind the recipient that with great rights and privileges there also comes great responsibility, not only to ourselves, but to those and to that which we serve. And a privilege it should be to serve a higher purpose, one that mirrors inspires the soul to move from its depths and aspire towards greatest heights of your dreams.
This mirrors the warning that Confucius gave some 2,500 years ago. The person that learns, but fails to think is lost. Foolish in ways, this person is willing to go with the status quo at the expense exploring the true causation of what keeps their soul entrapped. Learning without creating the think independently creates shells that blow in whatever direction the winds of change may direct. While these shells may make a beautiful motivational poster to hang on the wall, directing the masses towards a common aim, this does not mirror the core of problem present. The foundation of learning should be to train a person to think for themselves, so that the may avoid the quagmire of regurgitation so common to today’s lower and higher educational standards. This is not about consensus; instead, it is about finding “middle ground” or what Buddhist’s call the “middle path” between two equally opposing fields. It is through dialogue and working through that both sides are allowed to grow from the experience.
While learning without the capacity to think is a great danger, thought without learning is much more dangerous, at least as the human psyche is concerned. We have some 60,000 plus thoughts per day. That is a dangerous game our mind plays with us. However, the nature of the mind does not stop there. It is engaged in a gluttonous battle to attain more and more neural stimulation through conditioned responses generated by devices such as Cell phones, computers, gaming consoles, and televisions. Our minds crave this stimulation, and it ultimately becomes a mind numbing drug that helps us avoid being bored. The consequence, we are unable to enjoy the simplistic things in life, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said:
Many eyes go through the meadow, but few see the flowers in itRalph Waldo Emerson
While computerized devices were not present in Emerson’s day, it is hard to believe that even back then people had a profound difficulty removing their attention from whatever distracted it to simply enjoy the miracles abound right before their eyes. Were we all ADHD even in the 1800’s. This will be another article for another day, but something truly to ponder in the meantime.
Confucius writes about the danger of thinking without eliciting a lesson from its context. Anxiety provoking? Absolutely. Get trapped in your thoughts for a prolonged period of time and tell me how the body, mind, or overall spirit feels in that moment when consciousness draws your attention to time and the possible absurdity of the thinking that was just committed. While I don’t draw judgment on the positive and/or negative value of thoughts, for it all creates paradoxical movement and growth at a emotional, physiological, and spiritual level, we need to be conscious of what lays before us in order to get to where we wish to go. Thus, Confucius gives us a way out. Just Keep Going. Or as Nike says, Just Do It!
No this is not a race. Get out of the mind, and into the body. The mind needs its candy, but the body is required to take it to the very places that will help satiate the mind with the knowledge gained. This is the true essence of spirit. We move deep within to aspire to new heights above. This is the nature of growth, and I hope you enjoy the journey.
To all my friends and followers. Thank You… Thank You… Thank You!
With many prayers and blessings my friends. Believe… Achieve… Advance Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams.