Therefore I Am Thinking
Or, “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes
Descartes’ famous quote makes us think that what we think is what we are. Shakespeare’s famous quote supports Descartes: “Thinking makes it so.”
However: “a great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices,” William James.
Descartes’s famous quote doesn’t tell us what he thinks he is. He says “I am,” but not what I am. What are you when you think ”what am I?”
Just think for a moment. If we couldn’t think…what then? Perhaps, if we couldn’t think, nothing would be “so.” Then, what would we be? I don’t plan to answer that, but it is my introduction to this blog.
Thinking means to chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, meditate, mull over, question. Apparently, when we are thinking, we are very busy. Many of us are thinking most of the time. This is why I have recommended to pause and reflect about our thinking. But of course, this means more thinking.
My point about thinking is that when we think, we are not deciding, we are planning to decide, thinking about how and what to decide. Thinking is not doing. It has been said we are what we think. (Remember: “thinking makes it so.”) Think and believe could be considered synonyms. I think it will rain; I believe it will rain. To think or to believe is not to know.
For someone to say “I think you are right” does not mean they know you are right. All of this is to say that thinking and knowing are not the same. This is important to acknowledge because often when we say “I think this is true”, we usually mean I know this is true. Remember, “thinking makes it so.”
In my writing I have emphasized being careful about what we believe to be true. Because believing is seeing and seeing is doing. And we believe to be true what we want to be true. This means we also need to be careful about what we want to be true. (“The only thing worse than not getting what we want is getting what we want,” G. B. Shaw.)
Thinking is complicated human behavior as I said earlier; to chew over, cogitate, consider, contemplate, debate, deliberate, entertain, meditate, mull over, question. Thinking behavior is busy behavior. It keeps us busy all day long. It determines what we do.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.”