Crow perching on a bare branch in a forest

Is there any end to the power of thought?

Sometimes it seems, if all thought’s doing is running alongside our view of reality, we might spend forever simply churning through all its possible iterations. As if, having explored our own perspective, we might then explore those of any other, identifying every divergence and source of difference before going onto the next… Presumably, that might never end? These constantly shifting reflections of reality in thought.

Can’t almost anything be made “reasonable” by someone having strung it together in terms of causality and logic? Any individual perspective being something we might set against another and argue over. Conceivably, “meaning” and “relative significance” can be viewed any number of ways or stacked up in different orders to reach different conclusions. Anything, perhaps, seems reasonable if you accept its worldview (Notes One).

As if there’s not an objective reality or agreed way of looking at it – a common set of meanings – so we’re no longer speaking the same language or having the same conversation about it. As if we might spend all our time disputing personal assessments or interpretations, talking at crossed purposes and never quite touching on the truth of any given situation.

Doesn’t lack of agreement propel us away from conversation? This sense in which, not agreeing on simple terms, we can’t move beyond them to discuss the complexity of how things come together. And, whether it’s modernity’s pace of change or the ways technology propels us all forward in rapidly-evolving worlds of our own choosing, aren’t we increasingly far apart in how we see things?

If we’re each tending to experience our version of reality as the only one – having that belief constantly reinforced as we forge ahead in our own direction – how are we to speak to others? Surely, we’ll all be out on the extremes, fired up by our own concerns, struggling to understand how anyone else might see things differently.

It’s hard to talk when we’re all on such different pages. As if each person’s now living in their own mind, their thoughts fuelled and amplified by unknown sources. As if the words we share increasingly fly in from left field; leaving you wondering where the person’s coming from and how exactly they got there. Not having the time – or, inclination – to unravel the details, we perhaps drift apart further.

What, then, is the value of thought? Of reflecting reality in our minds, coating it in words, and seeking common ground over how we need to be seeing things (Notes Two). Isn’t there value in being on the same page? Somehow fleshing out our perspectives into a purposeful sense of what’s happening, what it means, and how best to respond.

If “to be human” is to rightly grasp complex realities in thought and make the best of them, where are we to find time to achieve that? Without a common sense of life’s meaning and the roles we’re playing to bringing that about, might “thought” not just isolate us all in angry realities of our own making?

Notes and References:

Note 1: Power in what we believe
Note 1: The sense of having a worldview
Note 1: Where do we get our ideas from?
Note 1: Systems, their power, whose hands?
Note 1: The stories that we hear
Note 1: Belief in what we cannot see
Note 2: The thought surrounding us
Note 2: Understanding & staying informed
Note 2: Learning from the past, looking to the future
Note 2: Connecting truthfully with life

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