Is thinking dangerous?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by fredx, Mar 31, 2003.

  1. fredx Banned Banned

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    There are no dangerous thoughts;
    thinking itself is dangerous.- Hannah Arendt

    When I heard this I immediately wanted to know why she thought that. How can something that merely goes on inside your head be dangerous. Maybe because what you think or the way you think decides on how you are going to act or how you are not going to act? Is it dangerous to the thinker him/herself or to society? Are all kinds of thinking or thoughts dangerous, i.e. rational, calculative thinking, meditiative thinking? I know this is hard to discuss without getting to abstract but if somebody can help me make sense of all off this I would appreciate it. I also think examples might be needed to really ground a discussion in reality but some level of abstract thinking might also be necessitated to help us get at the underlying ideology.

    I know that thinking can sometimes get me lost in an abstract world of my own creation and alienate me from the world or just make me generally pretty paranoid if not distrustful, but I was wondering if you all think that your own thoughts may be dangerous. I guess an example might be that someone's negative thinking might lead them to suicide. That can be considered dangerous. I appreciate any feedback on this. I think it is one of the most important questions I have ever asked. It relates to another Hannah Arendt quote: "To think and to be fully alive are the same."
     
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  3. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    Ah, Hannah's good with shit like this. However, one must recognize context. Arendt does not mean that thought is dangerous for an individual - at least not in the sense that we usually think of "danger".

    Thought is a constant valuation and revaluation. If the opposite of danger is security, then thought is by its nature the a danger.

    Thought destroys security.
     
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  5. fredx Banned Banned

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    thank you for the response

    I liked that you said that thinking is an evaluation and a reevalutation. That was a cool way to describe it. As for it being a danger to security, who's security?

    Thinking does not have to be subversive. In our society it can be subversive because you have people in charge that are rich and in power and will do almost anything to maintain it even if it means oppressing other people and who are probably afraid that if people start thinking for themselves, they will realize that things can be changed or be made to be a different way. In this way, thinking can be a challenge to the security of the rich and powerful.

    Thinking does not necessarily destroy order either. I think that if more people thought more about things the world would probably be a better place, if of course their thinking is tempered with reason and common sense, which of course are flawed themselves but may still be the best tools we have to use in this case.
     
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  7. Weiser_Dub Registered Senior Member

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    Re: thank you for the response

    CHANGE will never come about if you don't think, therefore, yes, thinking does destroy the order of the present. A better place is possible, but we can rationalize ANY actions with enough thinking. I.E. "I killed Sue because the world was getting too crowded."
     
  8. bold standard Registered Senior Member

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    Re: Re: thank you for the response

    But change does come about even when you don't think. The world keeps changing even while you're asleep. Thinking IS dangerous, but the refusal to think is suicide.
     
  9. bold standard Registered Senior Member

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    Re: Re: thank you for the response

    Oh, and "I killed Sue because the world was getting too crowded" is obviously an example of not enough thinking: killing one person is not enough to significantly impact population growth; if it were, the threat of population growth is not urgent enough to warrent the potential consequences of murdering someone. MMNKAY?? :bugeye:
     
  10. Soulcry Registered Senior Member

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    Thinking can be dangerous for other people and for the person himself. When you think too much then you cant enjoy the present. For example many people spend their present times by thinking about what they will do in the next minutes and so waste their present time. :bugeye:
    However there are some people who dont think much and enjoy life more because they dont care about things around them.
     
  11. fredx Banned Banned

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    my response

    Good points soulcry except that sometimes you have to do "planning" thinking so its not always a waste of time although I would agree that some people use all their time thinking and worrying about the future and that can be detrimental to living a happy life.

    demos- think about this- your thinking almost always influences your actions to some degree unless you are an utter jerk that never thinks before he acts, so in a sense it is guilt by association.

    Wow, I just had a thought. I understand now.

    It was really the ideology more than any edict or act of violence that allowed the holocaust to happen. The way the people in Germany thought at the time, the leaders who appropriated and perverted the views of people like Nietszche for their own political purposes as well as the German people, who I think were probably jealous of the Jews because they had alot of wealth and what they thought to be "political power". The German people thought, "the Jews are no good". The Jews thought, "they are probably just trying to help us I don't think anything bad will happen to us."

    Anyway, the bottom line is that your thinking may have more of an effect on the world than you may think.
     
  12. Xev Registered Senior Member

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    fredx:
    Ours, and society's.

    I generally don't like language like this, but I have to agree. Thinking is a challenge to the security of the dominent ideology.

    And this is as it should be.

    But this isn't why thinking is dangerous, is it? If anything, it's a reason to call thinking a sort of - safety net.
     
  13. fredx Banned Banned

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    umm...

    Xev, you know after all day of arguing you about everything but the kitchen sink (i use that metaphor alot don't I?) I just realised something after reading the quote at the bottom of your post from Zarathustra. I personally tend to hoard all of my thinking and I don't share it with anyone, when the important thing is that you share it. I think this point directly relates to what Nietszche is saying in your quote. I addition, thoughts become especially dangerous when you don't share them. In our totalitarian society where everyone is atomized and alientated from others, it is often hard to share your beliefs with others and you start to believe your own bullshit too much. Thats definitely a danger. But it is also important to give for non selfish reasons as well, and it is that giving that is possibly the most important thing you can do in life. Okay I said enough.
     
  14. fredx Banned Banned

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    yeah...

    I guess it does become an action and it could possibly be dangerous.
     
  15. Canute Registered Senior Member

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    Makes you wonder if there's a connection with the Tree of Knowledge metaphor, or Pandora's Box, or 'curiosity killed the cat', or the control of mind in Buddhism or....so forth ad infinitum.
     
  16. fredx Banned Banned

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    very interesting

    Take these thoughts into consideration:

    An friend of mine once said that knowledge has it's price.

    Which partially means there are some things you have to give up for it.

    Eating the fruit in the garden of good and evil was like eating the knowledge itself. Man now has knowledge, he now thinks, he has a conscience but there is responsibility that comes with these things, thus the idea or reality of sin. Man is no longer animal, he is no longer free in the sense that an animal is free, he must fight for his own and very different kind of freedom.

    Pandora...once you become addicted to thinking its hard to stop...once you have opened the box...the stuff is just going to come out...once you have given into the tempatation to think...at a point it is beyond our control, perhaps the only thing that has a nature like that....

    Curiousity...one many of us become curious about something we have to find out about it...even if its dangerous....

    Control of mind in buddhism...it is important to control and temper your thoughts to not fall into sin.

    I hope I have helped you...I am just brainstorming here...
     
  17. Canute Registered Senior Member

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    Exactly. Knowledge (as opposed to understanding) is the root of dualism, in fact it IS dualism, and it is thus the root of our inability to understand things properly, as Goedel showed.

    It comes with a big price tag.
     
  18. machaon Registered Senior Member

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    On thinking

    If thinking were dangerous, it would soon be eradicated by natural selection. But it does seem that thinking has helped us as a species. However, I may reshape my my opinion on thinking when the biosphere is destroyed due to multiple nuclear detonations.
     

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