“People think that they think.”
My Dad used to make one of his many jokes about this topic. It goes like this.
When I was 18, I was shocked to see how little my father knew. But when I turned 21, I was surprised by how much he’d learnt in just 3 years.
In other words, when I was 18, I thought differently than when I was 21. And how true that is.
But the more revealing insight is that I thought that I thought. I thought I was thinking but really I was, like everyone else, regurgitating what I heard or read. Like global warming or deforestation, I don’t know enough to think about what’s going on, I just join a community of people who I think, think. But maybe they are regurgitating thoughts.
I watched a documentary about the Amazon. Deforestation was terrible. But they were arguing about habitat more than the world’s ozone layer. You see, with all the batshit and smoke from fires and waste, the amazon consumes more oxygen than it creates. My goodness, I thought that I thought, and was always blaming deforestation on amazon deforestation.
Similarly in the book of Genesis the world was created in seven days but the birds arrived before the earth was built. I thought the seven day creation thing was true until I really thought about the story.
When I was at high school, the science teacher pulled out this model of red balls and white balls all stuck together with straws. This is an atom he told us. But when I went to university to study environmental engineering, I found out that each of the red and white balls, was not solid and there were littler balls in the balls. I thought that I thought. But I didn’t think.
Somebody calls you stupid. You don’t think. You react. But if you think about it, they are right. Not all the time. Sometimes. Sometimes you and I are stupid. If we come to appreciate that every human has every trait we might have a more realistic view of being stupid. But, for the most part, we fear it. Mostly because we judged others as stupid and don’t want to be like them. Which is stupid, given that we all have every trait.
All marketing is created on the basis that people think that they think. But mostly they think what you want them to think. Mass consciousness is a massive body of work. For example, in Sarajevo, Bosnia, a once peaceful city, neighbours turned on each other, a mass genocide took place with best friends murdering each other. Why? Because people think that they think, they don’t think, they regurgitate what they get told. If people really thought, they couldn’t be seduced into such a terrible situation.
You walk into a supermarket. One day you had lunch just before you went shopping. Your belly is full. You feel like a fat pig. You walk around the isles looking for the shopping. You choose low calorie shit. And get home with stuff that’s not filling. The next week you skip lunch and go shopping, the supermarket dream. You’re salivating. They put organic shit at the front door and you steam past it. You’re looking for real food. Sugar, calories, and nourishment and then you are putty in the hands of the supermarket and you spend twice as much as last week and put on five kilograms this week. Did you think? No. You felt.
Do you recognise the difference?
Your partner puts on their best undies. It’s 3pm son Saturday and the kids are being looked after. The footy is on tv, your team is playing and it’s the last chance to get to the finals. Your partner sits next to you in their undies, sexy undies, and rubs your neck. Fuck, what to do? Disappointing your partner is a three week death sentence. Missing the game, that’s inconceivable. You think you’re thinking, but you’re not. Your meme’s are clicking. You’re not thinking. Your meme’s are in debate. A good sex in the afternoon or the footy. Please you, please your partner. You’re in short term mode. What is best? Make them happy or piss them off? Please you? OMG the turmoil!!!! But you are still not thinking. Your memories and meme’s of right and wrong are firing. You’re not thinking, you’re remembering.
Did you know that the smell of a rose is powerful. But when most people see a rose they don’t smell the smell, they remember the smell and compare it. They are not thinking, “what does this rose smell like” they are thinking “is this a real rose compared to that other one” or “how does this compare to my past roses.”
One Zen exercise we used to do was with a rock. You get a rock in your hand and you have to know the rock. It’s hard because you straight away say, this is heavy. But how do you know it’s heavy? Compared to what? Compared to granite, compared to marble. As soon as you define the rock by its weight, you are not knowing the rock. So how do you know a rock for the first time? The first experience I had with this was with a snake in the Blue Mountains.
I was in a Zen retreat, day 22, no food, no talk, no exercise, no nothing.
I went for my midday break to the cliff edge to look. And in the path was a snake coiled up. A yellow belly black snake. Nasty beast. It raised it’s head, flattened it’s face, ready to launch. I stopped. The snake stopped. We stopped. It was absolutely magnificent. I was on the edge of pooing my pants, but I couldn’t even do that. I became the snake. I felt it. I felt a strange merging. If I went backward the scene would be gone, if I went forward the scene would be gone. I wasn’t afraid at this time. I was in love. Frozen in time. And that’s how I learnt to think.
That’s the end of today’s 100 things I wish my dad taught me. “People think that they think.” and thank goodness for that, otherwise, sales people would never make a sale.