Stop and Think

I spent five hours on a lawn mower today (big yard) doing a lot of thinking about thinking. In general, I suspect we take our ability to think for granted. Putting thoughts together, then speaking the words to share those thoughts, is a power overlooked by modern society. We often do a lot of talking without thinking.

Consider who you can become or what you can accomplish by combining the power of thought with spoken words. Helen H. Gardner said, “The most fatal blow to progress is slavery of the intellect. The most sacred right of humanity is the right to think, and next to the right to think is the right to express that thought without fear.” (link)

So who is Helen H. Gardner? Well, based on my Google search, I found two references: one to a paper she’d written (link) and one to a list of quotations. Before today, I’d never heard of Helen H. Gardner, but through a chain of words, and a basic concept, I found her words. She practiced her own advice and expressed her thoughts. But I wouldn’t have been able to find her words if we’d stopped at painting on cave walls.

What would happen to life if we stopped thinking? How would history be different if humanity had reached a point where we said, “This is as good as it gets.” I might be wearing a corset if that attitude was the norm. More important, I probably wouldn’t be able to share these words, in this medium, at a time of my choosing.

Thinking people look beyond the obvious for the impossible and create computers, organ transplants, the Internet, indoor plumbing, light bulbs, cell phones, books, art…the list could never end. So even if it’s just for a minute, stop and think about how great it is that you can think, and that other people can think of some pretty amazing things too.



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May 2007
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