The Case Against Thinking

There is a generally accepted belief that human thinking represents a high form of functioning. A person admired for his or her apparent intellect is referred to as a ‘thinking’ man or woman. A typical criticism of someone who is perceived to have made a mistake is that they weren’t ‘thinking’.

The supposedly elevated nature of human thinking may be best expressed by the famous quote from French philosopher Rene Descartes: I think, therefore I am.

Human thinking is certainly an extraordinary process that has led to great insights and developments, but it is also responsible for enormous suffering, both on an individual and collective scale. In fact, thinking is the primary cause of suffering and destructive behavior. Human thinking is also, in many cases, unnecessary and so has essentially become compulsive in nature.

Saying that human thinking is unnecessary is an invitation to a disagreement. Many people would argue that thinking is not only necessary, it is essential for survival. But this belief is proven false by observing the animal and plant worlds.

How much thinking does a bird do? What about a fox? And how much thinking has a giant redwood tree had to do? A daisy? The animal and plant worlds do not engage in thinking as humans do — they are simply in the flow of existence, and by cooperating with this structure get what they need.

Jesus spoke to this truism: See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

And —

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.

This isn’t to claim that animals never think or plan, but when they do so it comes from an immediate necessity: they certainly don’t exist almost entirely in thought as most humans do. And being separate from thought hasn’t led to the destruction of the animal and plant kingdoms. To the contrary, the animal and plant kingdoms have been in existence longer than humans have.

How have they managed this without thinking?

They are guided mostly by Divine Intelligence (because they do not block this intelligence out with incessant thought!). Through being guided by Divine Intelligence, or better still by allowing Divine Intelligence to guide them, plants and animals move in a means that most benefits them.

Yes, animals (and perhaps plants as well) suffer at times, but their predominant state is one of synchronistic ease with the life experience. They don’t offer up resistance in the form of denial, or wanting something to be different than what it is. And when suffering comes, they don’t resist that either: they accept it, inherently. They are in the flow, and so they live — and they die — in grace.

One won’t find human emotional suffering separate from thinking. It is not ever an event that causes emotional suffering in humans: it is the thought(s) that accompanies the event. Otherwise the event would come and then go — perhaps with accompanying physical suffering, perhaps not — as it does in the animal and plant kingdoms.

For those who believe that a lack of thought may work for plants and animals but would not go over within the more complex human world, I offer the quote from above in its entirety:

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!

When there is no thought in the way Divine Intelligence clearly shines through. It is always there, but it radiates powerfully when the clouds of thought are cleared.

But don’t take my word for it. Prove this truth to yourself…