TOC Next Previous

Thinking Is Hard Work

“Did you ever stop to think, and forget to
start again?” — Winnie the Pooh

The Pooh certainly has a knack for cutting to the chase. Most
people know exactly what he is talking about, although they aren’t usually so
direct. Instead, they say things like, “It just slipped my mind,” or “I got
busy and didn’t have time to get back to it.” Thomas J. Watson had a very
Pooh-like explanation for people’s not thinking, “… men very often resort to
all sorts of devices in order not to think, because thinking is such hard
work.” François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld was even more blunt than The Pooh and
Watson, “Our minds are lazier than our bodies.” When it comes to taxing the
gray cells, the normal response is to avoid it any way possible.

If you want some new excuses other than a lazy mind, you can try
one of G. Behn’s, “Some people get lost in thought because it’s such unfamiliar
territory.” Naturally, you wouldn’t want to find yourself lost, especially due
to hanging around somewhere you’ve never been before. If that doesn’t quite
work for you, Martin H. Fischer went everyone one step better when he said,
“Physiological response to thinking and to pain is the same; and man is not
given to hurting himself.” Sure, thinking is masochistic; and you definitely
aren’t into that sort of thing.

You’re just a regular person; and that ivory tower nonsense
should be reserved for intellectuals and other folks who can’t get real jobs.
H.L. Mencken is obviously one of those types. Can you believe what he said?
“The average man never really thinks from end to end of his life. The mental
activity of such people is only a mouthing of clichés.” Now just where does he
think he gets off?

OK, you aren’t totally against thinking. You’re not into total
brain freeze. It’s only something you don’t want to overdo. George Bernard Shaw
offered a plan that may be worth considering, “Few people think no more than
two or three times a year; I have made an international reputation for myself
by thinking once a week.” What do you think, if that’s not asking too much?

Of course, you’re not a Shaw; but thinking a couple of times a
month might be manageable. If so, that may be enough to qualify you for the
ranks of the thinking elite; and what a treat that would be. As Hume put it,
“What a peculiar privilege has this little agitation of the brain which we call

TOC Next Previous