An Ingenious Device for Avoiding Thought

Not having come close to saving the world (since 2012) and finding that, in recent years, this blog has mainly dealt with things I’ve read, I’ve decided to stop posting here, maybe temporarily, maybe permanently.

Instead, I’ll continue to update a blog I’ve had since 2010 called “An Ingenious Device for Avoiding Thought”. Up to now, it’s consisted of brief comments on books I’ve read. I might as well use that blog to discuss other things as well, including other things I’ve read, instead of discussing them here.

Thus, I might discuss these recent articles over there: 

“Scientists Identify Four Personality Types: Sophisticated Psychological Algorithm Confirms That Some People Are Jerks” at The Washington Post

“The Ignorant Do Not Have a Right to an Audience” (on TV, in college lecture halls or elsewhere) at The New York Times

“Are We All ‘Harmless Torturers’ Now?” also at The New York Times

“Civility as a Reciprocal Public Virtue” at 3 Quarks Daily

“My Modest Proposal for Solving the ‘Meaning of Life Problem’ — and Reducing Global Conflict” at Scientific American.

I could discuss them over there, but probably won’t.

If you’re interested in following An Ingenious Device, or just want to give it a look, please click here.

Young Thoreau on Thinking and Writing

In his journal, Thoreau (age 23) explains why thoughts don’t usually come to us in smooth succession:

…the flow of thought is more like a tidal wave than a prone river, and is the effect of a celestial influence, or sort of ground swell, … each wave rising higher than the former and partially subsiding back on it. But the river flows, because it runs downhill, and descends faster, as it flows more rapidly. The one obeys the earthly attraction, the other the heavenly attraction, The one runs smoothly because it gravitates toward the earth alone, the other irregularly because it gravitates towards the heavens as well [January 22, 1841].

Furthermore, if there are any valuable thoughts expressed in a journal (or in a blog?), they’re most likely hidden amid the clutter, only to be found later: 

Of all strange and unaccountable things this journalizing is the strangest. It will allow nothing to be predicated of it; its good is not good, nor its bad bad. If I make a huge effort to expose my innermost and richest wares to light, my counter seems cluttered with the meanest homemade stuffs; but after months or years I may discover the wealth of India, and whatever rarity is brought overland from Cathay, in that confused heap, and what perhaps seemed a festoon of dried apple or pumpkin will prove a string of Brazilian diamonds, or pearls from Coromandel [January 29, 1841].