Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Burden of Thought

I was never argumentative. I systematically avoid getting into debates/ discussions with people who cannot imagine leaving with views different from those they brought to the table. Every time I speak my thoughts out, I put myself out there, exposed: to ridicule, to shock, to my being proven wrong. Why? So I can further my search for truth. The only perk is that, occasionally, I get to see someone begin to think about things for the first time in their life.

I'm not sure how people begin to think. Is it an intrinsic skill found in every human being that only needs to be employed or does thought need to be triggered by an external stimulus? In my opinion, 'thinking' is not the ability to eliminate irrationality and hypocrisy. It's the ability to recognize them. Once you recognize a fallacy, you either replace it with the truth if possible or carry on with awareness.

Growing up with parents who more or less were religious and who didn't foist their beliefs on me, I learnt the difference between tolerance and acceptance. I never really liked the term 'religious tolerance' -- it bugs you no end but you don't do anything about it so as to not attract trouble. Acceptance, on the other hand, need not be going as far as appreciating differences but being able to glibly say, "To each his own." 

It seems to me that if one thinks long enough about life, death, nature and god, the threads of unbiased reason should culminate in the simple truth that if Earth were to do it all over again, science would be unearthed by mankind exactly as it did the previous cycle; All the facts, laws and discoveries albeit by different people. Given the same conditions that engendered life on Earth, life would again start as infinitesimal protein chain structures. Would the Odyssey or The Da Vinci Code be written as they were? Would the same gods we have today visit humankind and be worshipped again? I'd say no to both.

There are two categories of people who do not think. To those who have never really thought, there's a chance that somewhere down the line, they may be influenced to question and seek answers. What of those who refuse to think? It would be foolish of me to deem the latter kind as dumb. For someone who has adapted a way of life and values as the absolute good, life is stable, predictable and he/ she may very well outlive me. It's a sound way to preserve life. It is what your genes want even if you don't know it.

I however must confess that before I feel pity for them, there is a very brief time period when i feel intense contempt. It's a blip in my response. I may be nearer to the truth than they are but I'm nowhere near knowing all that is true. That bothers me.