Thinking about thinking and where it goes.

Posted: March 28, 2011 in Thoughtful thinking.

I once wrote a note long ago that mused of thoughts and what they, where they go, and if they have any material value at all. We know our thoughts exist, but we cannot put a finger on them. We cannot weigh them on a scale or capture them in a cage to remember for later. They wisp away like a breeze. One moment they are there and the next, gone. Unless thoughts do have a minute amount of mass that is so inconceivably small it could not possibly be recorded on any instrument. And this mass is processed inside our brains as electrical impulses, but were there nonetheless. Just an idea. Very unlikely.

Oh sure, some thoughts last longer than others. They seem to sear themselves into our brains whether good or bad and we say that we will never forget them. But we do. Or they become hazy and lose their vibrancy they once contained. Old ideas give way to new, more informed ones which replace the outdated theories which just moments before held your greatest attention and importance. Immediately they are thrown away carelessly and un-remorsefully with the discovery of something greater.

We can try to write them down as I am doing now and become good at it so that the person reading can understand exactly what I am trying to convey, and that’s an amazing opportunity for communication. Unfortunately, thoughts bring more than just words to one’s mind but also feeling and depth that could never be understood by mere words on a page or screen. A thought can never be fully understood by those not thinking it. A thought’s full understanding is reserved to the owner only as both a blessing and a curse.

But we try. And much of our lives is devoted to attempting communication in its most effective way as to try to make others most accurately depict what we are thinking. It’s a daunting and dangerous task because we all think differently.

Do you think we remember all we think but don’t know it? Do you believe that our brain is simply one big storage center that gathers all of what our minds comprehend and files it under the appropriate places for our subconscious to use at its will? You know how scientist say that we only use 5% of our brains? Well, what if the other 95% is devoted to organizing each and every one of our thoughts to affect future thoughts?

Because what you think about something now is not the same that you would have thought about the same situation a year ago no matter how small the difference. You cannot control your instinctual feelings about something even if you may be talented at disguising your reaction. Those instinctual feelings one feels are the result of all your past thoughts and how they have affected your current thinking. You did not tell them to do that. They just do. And that year gap between the identical circumstances affected your thinking. All of your year’s experiences then must be stored somewhere in your brain to affect that even if your 5 working percent cannot tangibly remember it all. Creepy, huh?

So do thoughts really wisp away? Doubtful. I think that Hamlet hit it right on the head when he said, “I could be bound in a nutshell and count myself King of infinite space.” Our memory is a record, a history of our past down to the very thought. An archive of minute, yet grand proportions. Perhaps to be rolled out before us at the end of us? That would be a very bittersweet thing indeed. Watch your thoughts my friend. You just might re-think them someday.

  1. Son of Nun says:

    Psalm 94:11 says, “The Lord knows the thoughts of man; He knows that they are futile.”

    It is common knowledge that God’s thoughts are high above our thoughts, but I believe that He also enjoys seeing our minds, his creations, at work. When we make our futile attempts to communicate, build, strategize, and even simply reflect, God must smile.

    We are made in His image, the only part of creation described as such, and we are also the only beings capable of thinking outside our own little worlds. God did not give even the smartest ape the ability to look up to the heavens and contemplate the meaning of his existence, yet He allowed us to do just that.

    Sometimes I get the picture that God is the ultimate strategist, laying down the most complex and yet ever-flexible plans, taking into consideration every decision of every human being with their free, yet pre-ordained, will, to bring about His final victory. That is His his job, is it not?

    Yet He also imparts wisdom onto mere mortal men, leading them into realms of thought that seem to stretch on endlessly into deeper oblivion. No wonder Solomon praised simplicity as the root of happiness. The wisest man on earth’s wisdom could only serve to bring him back full circle to enjoying food and drink and finding satisfaction in his toilsome labor. (Ecclesiastes 2:24 and 6:18)

    What an interesting way in which to conclude: that each and every thought is captive to the God who started it all. It will be replayed to each one of us, and to stand in the presence of Supreme Wisdom, all my folly exposed, will be an experience never forgotten throughout the eternity that follows.

  2. Joshua says:

    “I think, therefore I am.”
    – Descartes

    Bartender: “Mr. Descartes, would you like another drink?”
    Descartes: “I think not.”

    *vanishes in a puff of logic*

  3. Oh yes, I can imagine God seeing all our thoughts and chuckling to Himself of our folly. Wouldn’t it be amazing to see things from God’s perspective? Things such as time, thoughts, post-light travel, black holes, and distance. All things beyond our comprehension but yet incredibly simple to God. I would like to hope that when we get to Heaven it will all be made clear to us, not that we might care about such mortal dilemmas anymore. Even still, I can imagine all of these concepts being so simple to grasp if we’d only thought less about it. Like that math question on a test which took half the time but when finally understood was like, “duh, I should have known that!” Only it will be our new understanding that comes with our new bodies that makes the difference. One of these days…

    I also picture God above the earth playing a massive game of chess, risk, or stratego with his creation on earth. Not in a controlling way, but in a loving way as the Master Planner. This is another thing that will blow our minds away though, our view of God will be shattered. This is a whole other topic however. 🙂

    Thanks you both for your comments and following up on my stuff. It’s great to be able to communicate with people who are willing to put up with my rambling and give me the occasional helpful lesson. I do believe that I learn more than I think on this blog.

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