Do you know what at a ‘Thought’ is? I don’t. [But then, nor do Universities which do a fine trade in refining it.]
The problem is that every time I work up a thought to nail this buzzing fly called ‘Thought’, I am squarely in the Self-Loop.
The Self-Loop is ‘I’ seeking ‘Me’.
This thing I have nailed as ‘Thought’ by thinking about it, by that very fact, cannot be ‘Thought’.
It’s origin is unknown [grab that next thought please, and ask it where it came from].
It’s stage can’t be located. [Inside my head? Beneath the sink? In Kiev?]
It’s terminus is not found. [Where do all those thoughts go, like stairs in an escalator?].
I can’t see it. I can’t hear it. I can’t smell it. And any thinking about it, muddles it more.
No self-respecting scientist would take seriously something to which he cannot give the simplest of coordinates.
Is :’Don’t Think!’ a Thought? Or Not? What do you Think?
There is nothing I understand less than this thing called ‘Thought’. Yet nothing is more real to me than this which I understand the least.
Dodgy Fellow, this ‘Thought’. So try and not think a thought for the next sixty seconds.
[I cannot deny you the smile. At least one noted Philosopher majisterially defines a Philosopher as one who: ‘Thinks about Thinking’. It is roundly celebrated in academic circles as marking a penetrating summary insight.]
Is there anything I am absolutely sure about?
The moon-landing was faked. Doughnuts widen arteries. My mother really loves me. Perhaps, perhaps not.
But I don’t have these insidious doubts about whose thoughts are bouncing around in my head.
The thoughts in my head are my thoughts. What happens in my mind is mine! mine! mine!
There is nothing else on the planet that is so taken for granted as belonging to ‘Me’ as ‘My Thoughts’. That’s why it is so real. As long as I have my thoughts, I have me.
I can wear your cuff-links and you can borrow my cologne but my thought is my thought and your thought is your thought.
I might own a Bentley and only leg into silk underwear. But my thoughts are closer to me than both.
So it was that Rene Descartes, founder of Cartesian method and Father of Western Academic Philosophy exclaimed:
‘Thinking. At last I have discovered it- Thought. This alone is inseparable from me.’
‘I am Thinking. Therefore I am’: Cogito ergo sum.
Are you sure it is your thought you are thinking right now?
René Descartes, like Aristotle before him and Kant and Leibniz after, and in sharp contrast to most other philosophers, knew when he was edging the territory of the Self-Loop. His rationale was more nuanced than the standard academic bumper-sticker interpretation. I’ll get to it later in his less-known letters.