Have you ever had the feeling of a thought entering your head, and before the thought translates into words you are already realizing its meaning before the words appear? Like sometimes when you hear someone speak, you think in your mind of a wonderful retort, but before you can finish thinking the retort in words, you’re already realizing that you’ve just thought something witty and it’s ready to come out? Incomplete thoughts, so to speak. For the longest time I’ve had this recurring incomplete thought that I really want to convey on this blog, yet due to the nature of the unfinished thought I can never find the words to express them in written form. It’s like writing the unwritable. Nevertheless, I will try to convey that thought that can never be portrayed accurately in words here.
You can’t be proud of thinking in a particular way if your culture/upbringing made you think that way and you never considered other possibilities, even if that particular way of thinking is correct. Guh, this is a hard one to explain. Here’s an example. Suppose you see a man get robbed right in front of you. The thief runs towards you, what do you do? Well, after carefully (and instantly) judging the risks, you decide to stop him. The outcome of this event is not important, nor is the how. What’s important is WHY you chose to stop the thief. Answers can vary from “the bible says stealing is wrong”, “the law says that stealing is wrong” to “I personally believe that stealing is wrong”. But here’s the thing: a lot of people saying that they personally believe that stealing is wrong have never even seriously thought about it. We live in a culture that trains us to think that way while at the same time telling us that we need to have our own personal beliefs. The point I’m trying to make is that a lot of people are convinced that they do things out of their ‘personal beliefs’ when in fact the things they are doing follow naturally from cultural and social standards that state that people should act on personal beliefs instead of following doctrine. Following one’s personal beliefs has in essence become a doctrine in itself, and is causing brain-dead zombies to appear in places where there should otherwise be rational, intelligent beings.
This thought occurred to me many times, while talking to various people here in Holland over the past few months. I’m listening to people’s opinions, but I’m not getting the feeling as if I’m hearing the real opinion of a person. Instead, it’s like I’m hearing the same personal belief repeated over and over again, and any attempts of mine to ask people why they believe the things that they believe just leads to a dead end and a change of topic. At this point the incomplete thought kicks in and vanishes from my brain before the words appear to describe the situation. Even now, reading back what I just wrote doesn’t quite do justice to the thought. Words are like that though.