Philosophy: Life is a journey in a sea of turbulence and change. It is an interesting journey – full of people, events, activities, and interactions in which people intersect, conjoin, collide, and sometimes careen off of each other or the contexts in which they live. One of the true joys of living is the realization that the minds our maker bestowed upon us are wondrous. The human mind sets us apart from animals and objects. The human mind involves thinking. Joy exists in thinking; however, finding such joy takes traveling, in a metaphorical sense, to the high country of our beings to engage in deep thinking about life and death, work and play, hate and love, philosophy and purposeless living, mysteries and solutions, creation and destruction, good and bad, and other couplings in the endless unity of opposites that comprise our lives. Thinking though must be much more than reductionism. Reductionist thought is often barren and devoid of reflection, lacks understanding of being conscious, lacks synthesis, and lacks creativity in its truest sense of meaning. It is through synthesis that the spark of intellect springs forth; it is through deep thinking that we can innovate and create. When we as human beings use our minds to create art or to create new ways of doing things or seeing the world, of understanding relationships, of causing combinations of things to come together and work as one, and of coalescing things into a new and better whole – this cognitive process is the essence of the mental capabilities we were born with. I hope that by engendering the collective power of the minds of multiple people and machines to work in a unified whole and to shape the future through the doctrine of holism (parts of a whole cannot be truly known and understood except in the coherent functioning and power of the whole itself), we will create optimal cognitive outcomes. Thought does matter; no machine or organization can accomplish what the human can do with his or her mind. Our minds though have to expand and improve constantly. It is through purposeful, challenging learning we learn ‘how to think’ better each day and allow our senses and minds to experience the world with an overwhelming sense of awe and gratitude. We cannot squander this magnificent gift for narrow, regimented, and fragmented approaches to our lives, the world, and seemingly intractable problems that face our country and the human race. Thus, we must learn how to think differently and better through the cognitive skill that is synthesis and the doctrine of holism. The wonderful part of this admonition is, while difficult, all people can learn to think better than today. Mental improvement has to be purposeful; it has to involve relationships between and among people, being honest, being open to new ideas, admitting that we do not know, asking questions, and being humble enough to seek to improve one’s thinking and to accept help from others in the task. Then, and only then, can human beings do what they should feel compelled to do to constantly optimize the greatness of the minds that we received at our inception and that connect with those spirits that preceded us and those spirits that will follow us.
Goya’s Sleep of Reason
This work by Goya fits well with my philosophy of thought. I have a copy of it in my office where it reminds me daily of the power of rational thought combined with imagination.
Goya wrote a caption for his print: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and source of their wonders.” Goya believed that imagination should never be completely renounced in favor of the strictly rational. (http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org)
Come to the edge quote: Guillaume Apollinaire
http://thinkexist.com accessed 1/11/13
Sleep of Reason quote: Goya