Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

Is modern life organised to prevent us from thinking?

My May 27 blog, Take care of your thoughts when you are alone, touched upon a topic that has been on my mind recently – and the mind of others (eg, NRC, The Times). These others focus on the How and What, while I focus on the Why. The quote below provides an interesting start for this topic:

“Spend enough time trying to have ideas and you realise that modern life is organised to prevent you from thinking. Almost all of history’s great thinkers have demanded three things: silence, solitude and some form of physical exercise — usually walking — to stimulate thought.” James Marriott in The Times

I doubt James Marriott’s first sentence above is valid. In my view, thinking is a choice, based on individual and/or group priorities. Why else would Belbin’s 9 team roles include Thinking roles? I agree that modern life makes thinking more difficult. The solution, however, is quite simple: solitude, including silence.

I used to think (sic!) that thinking was like activating your antenna, and ideas and/or inspiration would come to you (in due time). More and more, I think, feel and believe that what we call ‘thinking’, is an interface between individual and group consciousness. I suppose the interface segregation principle applies.

Latter would imply that we can tweak the ‘settings’ of our ‘interface’: either (mostly) one-way (uploads only), or (mostly) two-way (uploads and ‘downloads’). In my view, some people can boost these ‘downloads’ (eg, ideas, inspiration) through methods, like silence, solitude or walking in nature.

Thinking requires lots of energy. I know. After my writing, my brain (and not my body) often feels depleted. I use power naps to restore my energy. That works remarkably well. It feels like charging a battery.

Hence, it would make sense that our brain ‘settings’ would allow for fast and slow thinking, a concept by psychologist and 2002 Nobel-prize winner Daniel Kahneman (b.1934). I suppose my settings have always had a default value of slow thinking. Once, someone asked me if I ever stop thinking. Actually, no.

In my view, slow thinking is a matter of needs, or wants or beliefs; see my concept of Needs, Wants & Beliefs. While slow thinking is a nice-to-have in life, fast thinking is a must-have. You cannot drive a car by using slow thinking. You cannot find inspiration or ideas by using fast thinking.

Until my 2013 burnout, I enjoyed my life in the fast lane (see song below). Stress was even a welcome ingredient in my mix. Since my 2014 recovery, I have been reducing complexity to a minimum, and am living a simple life, mostly without any stress. Not losing my mind was – indeed – a challenge in 2013.

Life In The Fast Lane (1976) by Joe Walsh
from the 1976 album Hotel California by The Eagles
artist, band, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

[Chorus]
Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind
Life in the fast lane, huh
Life in the fast lane, everything all the time
Life in the fast lane, uh-huh

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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