Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Unnecessary to think?

There was a time in my life when I readily believed just about anything I was told, saw, or read--pretty much without question. That played itself out in various arenas; theology, church practice, politics, career, relationships, etc.

However, having survived the fallout of that in my early 20's, I soon began to question pretty much EVERYTHING! Sure, there's a danger of becoming cynical, but I must say it has served me well both in my secular career (Banking--more specifically, fraud prevention and loss control), and my spiritual understanding & practice.

And one other area recently was brought to my attention by our oldest daughter who commented something to the effect that, "...I can count on mom to point out other things to consider." Hmmm, I've been thinking on that a good bit lately but for now I'm taking it as a compliment.

I don't ever want to be a 'lemming' again, and I certainly don't want my loved ones to be one either! So, when I read this earlier this week, I had to smile (emphasis mine):
"One of the reasons for this situation [being inundated with facts to the detriment of understanding] is that the very media we have mentioned are so designed as to make thinking seem unnecessary (though this is only an appearance). The packaging of intellectual positions and views is one of the most active enterprises of some of the best minds of our day. The viewer of television, the listener to radio, the reader of magazines, is presented with a whole complex of elements--all the way from ingenious rhetoric to carefully selected data and statistics--to make it easy for him to 'make up his own mind' with the minimum of difficulty and effort. But the packaging is often done so effectively that the viewer, listener, or reader does not make up his own mind at all. Instead, he inserts a packaged opinion into his mind, somewhat like inserting a cassette into a cassette player. He then pushes a button and 'plays back' the opinion whenever it seems appropriate to do so. He has performed acceptably without having had to think."
~ How to Read a Book, Adler & VanDoren

3 comments:

Elle said...

That is a powerful comment on today and today's non-thinkers. The visual illustration of a cassette into a player with a canned announcement--ouch! I'll be thinking on this and its applications for today. Thanks.

Marcian said...

Are you reading this book? I've had a few people mention it to me.

Connie said...

marcian: yes I am--along with WAY too many others!

I really need/want to gain more from my reading time and hope to pass what I learn on to our 'reluctant reader' (youngest daughter) in the family!

I also found "How to Read Slowly" at a used bookstore earlier this week, so I'm looking forward to that, too!