Wednesday 15 November 2017

Thinking as the primary thing: as an end in itself (meditations in a migraine)

Yesterday - as not infrequently happens - I had a sustained and severe migraine which was not fully controllable: consequently I had a lot of time to think, but much of the time found it very difficult to think.

But at certain phases and balances of the pain and its treatment, again not unusually, I was able to think with exceptional lucidity; perhaps because (most activities being necessarily suppressed) the process of thinking then feels to be detached from other mental events; and can be isolated, studied, and simultaneously experienced...

Anyway, I then experienced (and made notes on) what I had previously often argued-for - that thinking is the primary thing and should be regarded as (pretty much) an end in itself.

Whereas typically we regard thinking as merely a means to some other end - as a thing justified by results. We try to use thinking to achieve some goal or another; we don't in general try to live-in our thinking, nor to enhance our thinking - to purify or strengthen the process... That is seldom or never the case.

In some ways it is hard to believe that a single person, thinking, is of prime importance in the vast scheme of things; yet in other ways - when it is actually happening - nothing seems more likely. It then seems obvious and natural than that this thinking, going on here-and-now, is indeed the most important of all possible things with which we personally might participate - that this thinking is of universal and permanent significance. 

When it is clear and strong, when I am alert and aware, the activity of thinking really does feel just like what I have worked-it-out it to be: the main thing.