Quick quiz: What philosopher said, “To think is easy, to act is difficult. To act as one thinks is the most difficult of all.”?
None. I pulled that quote out of a fortune cookie from today’s lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. Not bad for a fortune cookie!
When reading that quote I experienced an existential moment of synchronicity as just that morning I was reading some of the most influential thinkers in history in preparation for my J-term philosophy course. I was reminded again about what deep thinkers those early philosopher were. Deep thinking leads to deep thoughts and powerful ideas. Those early thinkers continue to be influential:
- Socrates gave us the Socratic method of teaching, one of the most powerful dialogical learning methods still used today.
- Plato’s Dialogue is still a must read, and his questions about nature vs. nurture, the nature of epistemology, and the question of what constitutes and ideal government are issue we continue to struggle with today
- Aristotle was the first empiricist, a philosophical stance that continues to find expression in educational systems and in the debate and questions of faith and science
- Sophocles was a playwright that (like Shakespeare, H. P. Lovecraft, Phillip K. Dick, R. A. Lafferty, and Harlan Ellison) just about every modern film, movie, novel, or short story can find its seed of origin.
- Pythagoras I personally blame for my failing Algebra twice. I took his word that there are no such things as irrational numbers. At the time I failed to appreciate that my algebra teachers were mathematicians, not philosophers.
- Democritus is the deep thinker who was the first to argue that all things are made up of atoms, before 370 B.C.!
- Heroclotus and Thucydides gave us history as a new form and discipline.
Deep thinking leads to deep thoughts and powerful ideas. And I think trivial thinking leads to trivial thoughts. Next time you’re with a group of people discern whether they are engaged in conversations of deep thoughts and powerful ideas, or trivial thought and banal ideas. If it’s true that we are known by the company we keep, consider if it’s time to get a new set of friends.
Date posted: Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 12:20 am | Under category: philosophy
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