Thursday, 20 December 2007

thinking above Russia

Written a few weeks ago on my way back from a business trip to china.

I am currently
38000feet above moscow

It was dusk for three hours because that's what happens when you fly sunwards around the Earth at 600 miles an hour. It is light at home so you could say I am writing from the future. On a jumbo' at the back in the last row of seats where one cannot recline, one has plenty of time to think.

Thinking is a funny passtime: one idea leads into another and that takes you to yet more notions. And it occurs to me that, actually, I rarely take the same mental tour twice.

We are never taught to think, we mostly just muddle our way through it. I am actually not that good at it, but what I lack in natural ability, I make up for in enthusiasm.

Nobody gives you classes at school which show you concepts like Occam's razor (do me the courtesy if you please, of looking it up if you don't know what this is) or about how to use information to come to a sound conclusion. This would be very useful and show everyone, with sometimes the most cursory critical examination when mumbo jumbo is being peddled.

But thinking is hard and most people don't seem to want to do it.

Opinions, as Socrates pointed out, should only be accepted from those who have firm grasp of the rigourous process of forming them properly. He says: would you buy a pot from a potter with an obvious lack of ability at pottery?

But thinking is hard. I taught myself the rudiments but by nature, I am pretty wooly headed for brain-architecture reasons I have yet to fathom.

So, it seems easy to me to understand why people outsource the process of opinion to the Daily Mail or the sun, or even the Telegraph or just use plain old prejudice instead.

But everyone has the facility to think, and one can come to enjoy it. For goodness sake, you don't think for one moment I am doing anything here other than thinking and writing it down. Surely every loiterate person can do that, can't they?

So, whilst there are notions to explore, ideas which link together and a universe of available material, there is no reason to ever be bored in a dentists waiting room. Or on a jumbo jet, now over Latvia, I would think.

So, get your thinking caps on! (incidentally, does anyone else have a mental picture of what a thinking cap looks like? Mine was formed on my first day at school when I first heard the expression. It is sort of maroon velvet, shallowly pointed and has small, functionally important things stuck on it, although, in my 5 year old imagnation, these looked a bit like fox's glacier fruits.
Oh, and it makes you frown when you put it on!)

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Dark skies and bright minds

Oh just look at the trees thrashing! The crows are presumeably waterproof but even so, cling on looking most disgruntled and down-in-the-beak. How can such an inflexible face convey such misery?
Another lashing of rain passes the window in a squall. Squall is such a descriptive word: It sounds like a small child throwing a tantrum or an irate pheasant hving just had its tail feathers stood upon.
But squall it is. A band of opaqueness passing briefly between me and the sky. Oh! And what a sky!
Steely blue-grey, like annealed metal, promising no mercy.

And so how, given these conditions can it be that here I sit pouring words from the furious firings of my neurons onto a distant chunk of memory in a computer somewhere?
I don't know. Possibly, the sanctuary of the warm room and transparent barrier of the double glazed windows allow a kind of smug detachment.
So, here in my cave, I write, tentatively but with no lack of material. For my brain is a constant mass of electrical and chemical activity and somehow it finds coherence enough to be articulated.

How many others are there looking out at the wind and the rain, musing quietly and privately on how good it is to be inside and not out there?
I would surely be interested to know.