Think, Damn It!
by Jake Block
There are people I know who read everything that comes out by every new guru, and wonder at their genius, how their words have touched their souls and how this man or woman would be the one to change their life. I sometimes wonder why these people need such inspiration, when the knowledge is within them all along…perhaps they simply needed the words to act as a catalyst to their own genesis of thought.
Truly, if one is a free thinker, they must know that their thought is as valuable as that of those whose words lead others to the light of knowledge. Nothing that has been said before is of greater value than the words that spring from free, original thought. It matters not one jot that that original thought is a result of catalytic reaction. The stimulus itself was at one time stimulated to action.
A common thread among free thinkers that I’ve known is that they tend to know what is best for them, despite the conventions of society. When they read a book, they glean bits and pieces from the general theme, but tend to build their own sub-plot that weaves its way through the original text. They cue in on an essence that may be lost to others, but to them, it becomes a world in microcosm…the atom viewed through a powerful electron microscope. But it is from their microcosmic view that springs inspiration, and it is from their inspiration that springs potential for greatness. Once one understands that one can indeed dissect the very essence of thought itself, then one knows the divinity of man.
In the beginning, man created his own gods to suit his needs for survival and to explain the unexplainable world about him. After a millennium, a few unique men began to question the legends and lore that had been inculcated at their mother’s knee, and knew. They knew that in the reality beginning, MAN had created the gods but then, in the dogmatic beginning the GODS had created man. The dichotomy of the man/god relationship became known to them, as a flash of inspiration, and they instinctively knew the power that that knowledge afforded them.
The earliest wisemen were in fact the original free thinkers who knew that man’s place in the universe was not due to the lightning bolts that sent them scurrying to their caves and shelters. They knew, but they were wise men. They knew that to disclose this knowledge to their fellow citizens was to court disaster. So they kept their knowledge and thoughts to themselves, and paid lip service to their unseen gods.
Those who are seen by society as eccentrics and “kooks” often are free thinking individuals. It is sometimes sad that those who have the ability to think for themselves and who are usually intelligent and innovative people are often shunted aside by the herd mentality of society. Think of the natural resource that are lost in the cultural depravation that arises from this isolation. How many advances, theories and pearls of wisdom have been lost?
In this world of instant communications, instant credit, and instant cocoa, is it any wonder that we find that there have become instant experts? One can become an “expert” at any thing by virtue of having one’s name appear somewhere in print…or by having a book in print…even if that book is only marketed through “vanity” presses at the expense of the author. It’s mental masturbation. While the words in the book may have little meaning, the concept of “being in print” carries weight. It shows that the writer has something to say. The message may be garbage, but still, there is a book…authority…to back it.
There’s an old adage that says, “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.” This, I think, applies.
There are those who are leaders, be it in the world of business, politics, metaphysics or any other field you care to mention. They are the free thinkers who, through sheer force of will, create that spark of insight that can be drawn upon by others. Their fresh and innovative ideas breathe new life to a world that has gone stale. Quite often, they are seen as charismatic and a bit “odd” or “out of step” with the norm. This is how it should be, for as I have often said, what good does it serve to come as a wolf, disguised as a lamb? They are revolutionaries of the spirit and bringers of change. They have something to say, and what they have to say has validity through demonstrable action.
There are those who are followers. They are quite adept at what they do, but need inspiration from above. Who and what they follow might change from age to age, generation to generation and, in some cases, day to day. But they are happy in the knowledge that they have something and someone to follow, as a ship drawn to a distant beacon in the night.
They may never create a beautiful sonata, or perfect a mathematical equation, but they have value in their support for those who can. It is their loyalty and their support for the leaders that gets things done in this world. They bear the cross and know that their lives hold meaning.
But then there are those whose shallowness and whose self-doubt condemn them to a life of perpetual vacillation. Like human weather vanes, they go “whichever way the wind blows.” Watching their lives is like watching a shot of the grandstand at a tennis match.
These are people that salesmen love to find. They are the mass audience that TV commercials are geared for, the much-touted demographic swale in any age group. Their colors are bright reds, greens and blues, found on the “eye level shelves” of every grocery store. Their kids eat Goo Goo Bears and Choco-Chunks instead of good, healthy breakfasts. The newest movies and the latest fads will find them standing in line.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with them. They’re the lubricant of the economy…the stuff that keeps the country going. You really wouldn’t want one RUNNING the country, but they spend and they produce offspring that carry on the tradition, and they in turn spend and produce new generations that carry on the tradition. They buy the books that jump off the shelves with punch words like (fill in the blank) POWER and GOD’S PLAN FOR (fill in the blank) and CONTROL YOUR (fill in the blank), and think that by reading the words of some hack writer with a “mystical name,” they’ll be just as powerful as he. The wisdom of the universe for $3.95 from Bantam Books.
Now, the fact is that some of these “gurus” are formula writers. They can hold forth on any subject for hours, pushing the right buttons and feeding on the need of the masses to find some meaning, any meaning, for their dull and drab existence. They’ve been around forever, and as long as there are those dim enough to swallow what they have to say, there will always be a market for their crap. A fool and his money…
I’ve come to believe that the only people who really are worth a damn in this world come with a streak of outlaw in them…people who march to the beat of a different drummer, whether that beat drives others crazy or not. Those who finally get up enough gumption to break away from the herd and live their lives on their own terms may never be the richest of men in an economic sense, but when you learn that you can actually think for yourself without having the “brain police” hunt you down, you’ve found true freedom.
Think, damn it!