The Philosophy Of Thinking

June 21, 2017



               “Cogito ergo sum”, which is the Magnus opus of Rene Descartes and the Latin for “I think, therefore I am” and “Esse Est Percipi”, which is the Magnus Opus of George Berkley and the Latin for “To be, is to be perceived”, are interpreted in an entirely different fashion in philosophy than in what context I am determined to use them. If I were to ruminate on the phrase “I think, therefore I am”, I would subconsciously break at the comma into two separate points, “I think” and “Therefore I am”. “I think” is an attraction. It is an open invitation to any thought that a mind is capable of fostering. “I think” is hardly consequential. There is no charm is reckoning the fact that a wandering mind can have wandering thoughts. It is petite bourgeoisie of phenomenal world issues. What is charismatic is the conjunction that follows “I think”. The phrase that adds value to it is “Therefore I am”. This is the output, the accountability. Here can the civilization pinpoint and say that this is the effect of a suddenly meticulous process “I think”. Theory of causality, which is all pervasive in every philosophy clearly says that every event must have a cause. To put it simply, every effect must be born out of a cause and nothing can come out of nothingness, “ex nihilo nihil fit”. So as long as I work around “I think”, I can positively take the liberty and let my mind entertain every thought that it can possibly pursue but the moment I see Descartes holding the other pluck card saying “Therefore I am”, I am immediately cautioned to regulate my thought process. Here it is accountable and under an indomitable channel of scrutiny. I urge you to understand the simple algebra of equality that Whatever I think = Whatever I become. Some rationalist philosophers of the West believed that we have a repository of innate ideas, that is knowledge about everything is pre-existing in our mind and we discover it over a period of time as we progress in life. The empiricist philosophers, however, believe that it is the experience that acts as the genesis of those ideas and we keep imbibing them one after another as we progress. To give you an understanding of the gravity of the situation at hand, let me ask you to assume your mind to be a Pandora’s Box with all things in it having the characteristic of Schrodinger’s cat. Then it is obvious that anything that you pull out of it will be of this form or that form with an equal probability of existence. And what could I mean by the forms? Broadly speaking it can be either positive or negative. You can pull anything out of it which could be “alive” or “dead” as far as the quality of the thought is concerned. What you pull out affects you and what you ruminate upon becomes your cause of existence. Now the obvious question here would be, if there is an equal possibility of a positive or a negative thought to emerge out of my head, then how am I to regulate the process for embracing only positivity or for that matter only negativity, for them who crave for a little spice and drama in life. This is where George Berkley wishes to speak up.
                        If I were to meet Berkley after his church time (because he was an ardent Bishop) and tell him about this crisis he would open the dialogue with “Esse est Percipi”, “to be is to be perceived”. Now again, I am borrowing this famous phrase from philosophy and using it an entirely different context than the popularly accepted interpretation. “To be, is to be perceived”, which he quoted considering the world that anything that is existing is only because I or some human being is perceiving it. And none of us are looking at anything, the Almighty from his transcendental is keeping an eye on everything. That way, the integrity and existence of substances are maintained. But if I could trespass on your generosity and urge you to stretch it further to our daily life and show you that this simple equation has an unfathomably humongous influence on our very making as humans and the subsequent societies which act as a precursor to civilizations, you would appreciate in unison its significance. “To be” can be conveniently translated to “To exist” and existence here is taken in a very broad sense. It is beyond the phenomenal or sensible world. To be precise, I am more concerned about the energy; the constructive or the destructive.
                    It is out rightly clear that “existence” according to Berkley was dependent upon perception. But when I say perception, there are two dimensions to it, of which I am only corned about one. The first one is thoughtless perception which is just a physical process where you register things without analyzing them or processing them (The kind where you stare at something lost in your thoughts. Even though you have seen something but not really have processed it to develop an understanding. To the convenience of understanding, take the example of us looking into our books and dreaming about all things interesting). The other perception is thoughtful perception. This where there are registration and analysis from where the genesis of understanding takes place. I am exactly concerned with the second category. For a more lucid understanding of this philosophy, let me ask you to assume the process of registering and analyzing as analogous to the process of watering the plants and of course the plants act as the thoughts cultivated. The existence of these plants entirely depend on the fact that they have been watered recently or not (perceived or not), ignoring the technicalities of photosynthesis and other stomata-level issues. Now let us say there is a provision for a wave that is released every hour and kills any plant that is weak because it has not been watered recently. This is exactly what happens with our thought process. The wave is our consciousness to destroy any destructive, unproductive weed but the mind often applies little discretion on watering the plants and most often ends up watering wrong ones. And when this plant turns into a mammoth it becomes a habit. Its existence, as Berkley would point out, was only possible because you chose to perceive it, not just once but again and again.
                   In a nutshell, the choice is in our hand and it is exactly what differentiates an efficient from an inefficient. Being fatalist at times might help to reduce the burden of accountability and help bring back dynamics in life but at the corner of every such lucrative fatalist quotation is a peevishly smiling asterisk which says conditions apply. And the only condition that is blatantly applicable is the law of conservation of energy and causality which very much sums up the law of karma. Whatever you do or choose to pursue at any level, stays as energy and only changes form to come back to you at times as cause and at times as effect.   

        
Disclaimer: The view is highly personal.
Pic source: Google.

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