Awakening the Philosophical Need
for Clear Thinking
By Neil Oram
What distinguishes philosophical thinking from ordinary ‘day to day’ “thinking”?
Well, ‘day to day’ “thinking” pays no heed to the distorted meanings it employs to further its direction(s).
Philosophical thinking is centered in the craft of questioning the form, content and procedure of any situation (it is presented with). In other words it explores the meaning of expression — both human and animal.
The exploration begins with an examination of the intent (or lack of it) in any expression. This examination starts with the examiner studying his or her own motives. Motives which might enhance certain aspects of the inquiry and occlude other features. These motives come under the general title of ‘prejudice’.
Prejudice corrupts the emotions and prevents the mind from being able to think clearly and realistically. So to think philosophically one has to begin SLOWLY. Ask oneself what am I trying to understand? What seems to prevent me understanding? What is my emotional investment in not understanding (a particular issue)?
The question of emotional investment is a major question. It allows one the opportunity to actually SEE how one can be captured by prejudice. The observation of one’s own internal captivity leads to the opportunity for freedom from that captivity.
For instance one might have invested a lot of emotion in maintaining that philosophical thinking is not necessary. Through examining that belief one will probably experience a lot of emotional discomfort — giving rise to the temptation to reinforce the belief that philosophical thinking is not necessary. And if one follows that temptation one remains captive to prejudice.
It is as if one begins to think philosophically when one faces the fact that one is existing in a mine field…..and one can learn how to dismantle every buried bomb…..without any damage to oneself.
Covering up the mines, when they appear, is a very (self) destructive activity. This realization gives one a strong spur to begin the effective process of actually thinking CLEARLY. This means not letting any fear distort one’s thinking. The mines are buried prejudice. Bombs of fear.
So to recapitulate; first ask oneself “Where am I looking from”? “What ‘meaning’ am I looking from”? “What emotional investment have I in staying confused (on this issue)”? “Am I prepared to do work in dismantling every buried bomb I come across in my emotional/mental field”? “Am I ready to really think that all my life’s problems are made out of my own cherished confusion?
All of the foregoing remarks depend on a willingness to focus on an area of disturbance….and STAY FOCUSED until the buried psychic mine is dismantled.
© neil oram 2007