3 Ramadan 2013: Thought


If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking. – George Patton

Today’s post is to really trigger thought and a bit of a tongue twister  actually … it is about thinking out loud about thinking. The concept of thought, or more widely philosophy of mind, is not new and is one which philosophers like Descartes have tackled as they traveled on the route of self-discovery and existence.

With our fast paced world in terms of technology and an enormous amount of information being directly or indirectly received by our brains, could one trust their thinking and ensure that it is not one shaped by externalities??? How do we know that we know??? How do we know if we are right or wrong??? How do we know we are on a right path for success???

Without getting into the philosophical skeptical argument, we believe that one can answer the above only when they have a baseline to compare to. Some use a self value system, or use Mill’s utilitarianism in ‘maximizing happiness and reducing suffering’ for self and others, and some use a doctrine like the bible or for those fasting Ramadan, the Quran, which defines a baseline as belief and doing good.

We are thinking that at a time when we face high externalities, one needs to focus not only on a baseline but also on a ‘conscious’ thinking, emotional bond … there is a great saying (hadith) from the Prophet PBUH that explains the emotional perspective:

Righteousness is good morality, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in your soul and which you dislike people finding out about (Sahih Muslim)

in another saying,

Consult your heart. Righteousness is that about which the soul feels tranquil and the heart feels tranquil, and wrongdoing is that which wavers in the soul and moves to and fro in the breast even though people again and again have given their opinion in the matter’s favor (Ma’bad)

The bottom line? We call upon ourselves to be self-aware this Ramadan and to use active thinking instead of passive thinking focusing on what matters and more importantly, what is good to humanity, and leaving what wastes time without benefit accepting that there may not be any thoughts that are an absolute right.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at FreeDigitalPhotos.net