Sunday, 4 February 2007

Stand on your head: An Intellectual's Apology

Why do we accept everything that we're told day by day?

So many people go through life, who would rather die than think. Many fulfill this wish. I suppose this post's going to end up an a intellectual's apology. Possibly Part I.

The best way to start, I think, would be to use a quotation from the Book of Ecclesiastes:

"I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.
And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.
For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."(i)

A very bleak outlook on life, I must grant, but I would also venture to suggest that there is a great element of accuracy to it. (Hopefully, Francis will soon post his 'Three spheres of consciousness', which is a superb analysis of life in a very mundane way. Suffice now to say that I recommend it to you and that it involves the acknowledgement that there are those who think about everything, possibly too much)

That parenthesis aside, I think. I think all of the time. Which is the reason you're not getting a blog about my lunch, or my social life. This thought is very important indeed. I live inside my head more so than outside.

And it's horrible, sometimes. It's utterly awful to contemplate. Take the news today, for example. Flooding in Indonesia; more attacks in Iraq. There are daily death tolls of hundreds there. Why?

People go through life with their brains switched off. That's fine; I wish I could too.

"So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.
Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive.
Yea, better is he than both they, which hath not yet been, who hath not seen the evil work that is done under the sun." (ii)

Surely, we must wake up. If we actually realised, as a whole race, that we can think, we could also achieve something useful.

I would here observe that Sir Nicholas Walters, that esteemed thinker, recently spoke out on a subject similar to this: see 'So who is Tubby Isaacs?' (iii) Per Sir Nick, what we should do is help people, and be content with our lot. In this way, he's hit the nail on the head. We should take that as our first and foremost aim. Simply, making the world a better place.

The wise know that they know nothing. But humanity, kindness and conscience are ours to use. No-one thinks enough to do so.

This is a bit of a rambling post, really. I meant it to be more directed, but at least this gives me scope to pester you with the rest of my thoughts soon enough.

So stand on your head. Turn the world upside-down. Just do something.

I'm a radical at heart, really.


(i) Ecclesiastes Chapter I, vv.16 et seq.
(ii) Ibid, Chapter IV, vv. 1-3


Francis said...

Thankyou for having the courage to post this Phil - I really do connect with what you say. A thinking mind is both a blessing and a curse, but to have it, suffer it and not do anything with it is a travesty.

As it has been requested, I shall soon post my famous theorey. :)

Anonymous said...

You ask us all to wake up an realise that the world would be a better place if we all did something to make it better.
This is a very noble thought and i'm sure would work very well if everybody in this world were like you Francis and i, but lets face it they aren't.
Most people live to see what they can get out of it, very rarely do you find people who do something just for the good of it.
An example of this is your blog, you spend some of your time every couple of day's to write this blog which is a gatway for your own views. You do it, i suspect because others in your social group have started their own. All i ask is that if you believe taht if everbody all thought as you the world would be a better place yet in your spare time you write a blog which will have no affect because most people will not understand it let alone act on it.
If you had mentioned that to do something good for humanity all you have to visit is than your blog would at least in a small way make the world a better place.
Just a thought you might like to consider in your next rant.

Phil' said...

I'm glad you said that, whomsoever you might be.

I hope you return to read my next post, in which I hope to some of answer your concerns about why such activity as mine is necessary and constructive.

Your campaign is laudable in the extreme. I sincerely wish the greatest success; poverty is a terrible travesty.