Monday, August 25, 2008
The habit of thoughtlessness
“[D]on’t we all know how relatively easy it has always been to lose at least the habit, if not the faculty of thinking? Nothing more is needed than to live in constant distraction and never leave the company of others.” (Hannah Arendt, The life of the mind, Two p. 80)Thinking, for instance considering what to write in this blog, seems a very natural activity for man. Isn’t it so that we always think automatically? In a certain sense it is true but most of what we call thinking is following the stream of what we already do: The habit of taking care that our daily life runs smooth; reacting on the stimuli that come to us. But if we intentionally want to consider what to do, if we want to deviate from our daily routine, follow new roads, be creative and so on; in short, if we want to stop the stream of automatic thought, we must isolate ourselves from the world around us, from the world that contains so much that can distract us. However, it is easier to follow the stream that carries us along rather than take a moment for a break. It is easier to let other people think for us. It is easier not to oppose even if it might be wrong to give in. Being creative and original, being independent is not the easiest way. Is that the reason that many people have given it up already so long ago?