Monday, July 06, 2009

I Could Be A Thinker And You Wouldn't Know It

So I was thinking…what does it mean when you say someone is let’s say a ‘19th century thinker and philosopher’…so what did he really do? And when you walked into his office did you expect to see him propped up on a chair, hand against chin, and thinking away dreamily?

Picture this chance encounter with someone who is a likely to be a Wikipedia entry 30 years down the line:
“So what do you do?”
“I am a thinker…and a philosopher if you may.”
“Ah…I see…so what EXACTLY do you do?”
“Well…I THINK…Duh!”
And you would offer a customary nod to hide your bafflement while in your mind you’d be like ‘that’s what I do too…in fact that’s what I’m doing right now ‘thinking’ you’re a nut!’

Man is a thinking animal. We are all supposed to be ‘thinkers’. What is the meaning of labelling someone as a thinker when thinking is what distinguishes any of us from the cattle on our roads and the pets in our backyards? Is the ‘thinker' an enlightened soul who has thought of something no one has ever thought about…like a ‘thought discovery’ of some sort? Or is he just someone who thinks a whole lot more than others do…like brood? Is a ‘thinker’ someone who thinks about esoteric matters, has regular epiphanies…does that make you one of the thinkers? Bear with me here but I’m trying to understand what it is that I need to do if I aspire to be a Wikipedia entry someday…as a thinker and philosopher, mind you.

Could it just be that we are glorifying the term and the act so much just because of the rarity of it all? Lately all the world has come to be filled with zombies who can only tend to think of their own selves first and last and not care a hoot about anything or anyone else whether it is the person standing next to you or the planet you are standing on! Could it be that we have all stopped thinking in the sense of even being sensitive to the needs of another being and of the consequences of our actions? Could it be that most of us are leading our lives on autopilot, our actions and goals preordained by the rules of the society and those of us who think before acting or think at all have come to be a rare breed, honoured by titles like ‘Thinker’?

I mean I could be a thinker and you wouldn’t know it…until 30 years later of course...just for having thought all of the above! Wikipedia, here I come…

21 Thinkers Pondered:

wander1ust said...

That's a funny write-up, Anu. I think I like it :)

Anupama said...

Hey Wander1ust!

Thanks a whole lot :) ...and this is with no offence to the thinkers and intellectuals since I aspire to be one myself (of course it is a case of 'you either have it or you don't' and there is no such thing as aspiring to it, yet)'s just a muse :)

Sowmya said...


From your posts, I gather you are more a feeler than a thinker...

Anyway, thinkers are a rare species; not just in the times we are living in, but always have been...

Most of the people go through their lives merely responding to events that happen to them. They do not really pause, think, analyse, introspect or retrospect...

You should take pride in being different :)

BTW, when are you leaving me a comment on my blog? You have abandoned it completely!

Anupama said...

Hey Sowmya,

Thanks for the comment :) ..I agree on the 'responding to events' bit...the difference between between reactive and proactive...

I have a whole lot to catch up on your blog and will do that you'll be seeing all the comments subsequently :)

deepocean said...

Good one. By default everybody is thought to think too unless explicitly mentioned otherwise. :))

Anupama said...

Hey Push!

I so agree with you there...thanks for the comment :)

eye-in-sty-in said...

"What are you doing"
"you must be doing something. how can you do nothing"
"i'm doing nothing"
"You have to be thinking something?"

nice one!

Anupama said...

Hey Spike!

Nice spin off there :) ...thanks for the comment :)

Vibhushan said...

Nice funny post, Anupama.

With your thinking, if you can make masses think, and act, and change the status-quo for better, you become a thinker. The change you bring is what makes people remember your thoughts, and get you a Wikipedia entry.

Thats what I think :)

Satish said...

After all that is happening in the world today, i would rather say "Man should be a thinking animal".

As Mahatma Gandhi says -" A man is but the product of his thoughts what he thinks, he becomes.”

The first step for a wikipedia entry is already done.... :)

Happy Thinking and hope this virus becomes an epidemic

Anupama said...

Hey Vibhushan and Satish!

With the kind of comments you guys have been leaving on my blog for quite a while now...I think you'll make it to Wikipedia before I do and I'll only be happy to follow in the footsteps :)

Thanks for the comments :)

Priya Iyer said...

hee hee.. loved the write-up. i have thought about this too (pun intended :P ) and came up with nothing.

Anupama said...

Hey Priya!


Thanks for the comment...

Smita said...

Am thinking what to comment!!

Will be back soon ;)

Eveline said...

I don't think I've previously thought about how good a thinker you could actually be; But i realize it now that you have the face for it! :D
Apart from that,you do a darn good job in convincing me that your brain is powered for the role. Good luck!

Anupama said...

Hey Smita!

Itni gehri soch mein ho ke kahin gayab ho gaye??

Thanks for the comment :)

Hey Eve!

Thanks for egging me on :)

ZiLliOnBiG said...

its doesnt take much to be a wikipedia entry, ask anyone of your friends to log in and create an entry on your name. You can do it yourself. ")))

I am too a thinker. But thinking doesnt mean pondering over my neighborhood aunt or what priyanka Chopra does when she is free.

Good luck to you, hope to search you on wikipedia one day.:))

Anupama said...

Hey ZiLliOnBiG!

Thank you for your comment and for wishing me luck...just found your blog and will get to know your thoughts better through that :)

Sathej said...

Nice one..well, a thinker/philosopher would 'think' about more generic problems ideally. You may like to watch Examined Life - which is a documentary where eight philsophers have 10 minutes each to just air their thoughts on an issue they choose. I haven't watched it myself. BUt recently heard about ut, and may see it sometime. Purpose of existence, what makes people human and so on would be issues for 'thinkers.'

And well, yes, thinking about 'thinkers' itself is a nice process too! :)

Vijay said...

Glad you wrote this.

In this context, "Thinking", as you know, implies not just random, opinionated, motivated scheming or calculating, characteristic of, say, urban, corporate day-to-day living, but a consistently logical, unbiased consideration of facts with a view to getting as clear a picture of reality - in its broadest sense - as might be possible, and in the light of such knowledge, determining the wisest course of action available, both to the individual and to the human species as a whole - mutually reconcilable though at different levels.

So, when you say "logical", half the population would be disqualified right there. I'm not being contemptuous here. Many people fail to notice the logical fallacy in saying "I like good music" and then defining "good" in terms of each person's personal taste, for instance. And "consistently" logical?! You can imagine.

Then, "unbiased"! Agreed that we might never be able to manage cent percent objectivity in our views; it still helps to be aware of and to acknowledge this so that the thinking process could take corrective action for this error margin, too. I know of very few people who can say, "I think this actor was bad in this movie, but that could also be because I already have a prejudice against him."

So, you see, at the level of philosophy, thinking is a rigorous function; we can even say it could be a highly structured system at this level, which allows no room for and does not tolerate shoddy and superficial grazing. So, a person who does qualify for the title 'Thinker' definitely goes deeper, far deeper, than those other 'also thinkers' do. (These latter ones might find the former a bore, but it's interesting to note that you have to bore to go deep.)

Also, there are the problems of flawed thinking and incomplete thinking. When a teacher demonstrates an experiment, in which a worm dropped in a beaker of water remains alive whereas a worm dropped in a beaker of alcohol dies, and if the student concludes that that experiment shows that drinking alcohol would kill the worms in your digestive system, then we don't have a problem of non-thinking here but one of flawed thinking.

Similarly, you can imagine some other example for incomplete thinking. Basically, the point is, it IS perhaps reasonable to think that Thinkers have been few and far between. And that means, it can get a bit lonely, on occasion.

Vijay said...

And oh, incidentally, thought you might like this for its emphasis on thinking.