Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Time for Thought

There are moments in life when we just need to stop and think. This week has been one of them for me. Last night I drove up on top of a mountain and thought. And I thought. And I thought. I needed it. It was good. I didn't decide what I needed to decide. No contract was signed. In a way I merely rehashed things I've thought about hundreds of times. But in the thinking there emerged energy- energy that I needed to do what it is I've thought about so many times before. I realized that I've already made many of these decisions, and that I will continue to move forward.

Kenneth Burke, provocative thinker of the 1950s and 60s (see for more information on him) is author of a text I am using in my English class on rhetoric and persuasion. His ideas were catalysts for many of my thoughts. Here are some of them:

"If you internalize... a variety of motives... you get a complex individual of many voices. And though these may be treated, under the heading of Symbolic, as a concerto of principles mutually modifying one another, they may likewise be seen, from the standpoint of Rhetoric, as a parliamentary wrangle in which the individual has put together somewhat as he puts together his fears and hopes, friendships and enmities, health and disease, or those tiny rebirths whereby, in being born to some new condition he may be dying to a past condition, his development being dialectical, a series of terms in perpetual transformation" (A Rhetoric of Motives, 38).

"But a modern "post-Christian" rhetoric must also concern itself with the thought that, under the heading of appeal to audiences, would also be included, any ideas or images privately addressed to the individual self for moralistic or incantatory purposes. For you become your own audience, in some respects a very lax one, in some respects very exacting, when you become involved in psychologically stylistic subterfuges for presenting your own case to yourself in sympathetic terms (and even terms that seem harsh can often be found on close scrutiny to be flattering, as with neurotics who visit suffering upon themselves in the name of high-powered motives which, whatever their discomfiture, feed pride)."

"Only those voices from without are effective which can speak in the language of a voice within."

It wouldn't be feasible to try and explain everything that I've been thinking about, but it is interesting in reading these citations that I was actually thinking about thinking. Suspending myself above myself added additional clarity that I needed.

The overwhelming resolution to the crisis of thought has been a feeling of gratitude. Note that this doesn't stem from a resolution of the crisis itself. Sometimes that shouldn't be expected.

In other news, I've been sick the past couple of days with a mysterious variant of the flu. No fever, just the chills, vomiting and fatigue. Who knows what it was, but it seems its about done. I celebrated this morning by downing eight dollars worth of fruit products at Jamba Juice. Eight dollars on orange juice, a big coldbuster shake and a whopping shot of wheat grass! It was my victory toast to my brain, for doing some good, quality thinking.