Have you ever wondered where ideas wait to be thought?
I mean, you sit there with your mind running. It's like a phonograph needle
(except we don't have those anymore, so let¹s call it a laser beam on a CD
or a DVD) playing thoughts for you to think. It never seems to run out,
this stream of thoughts.
So it's this uninterrupted stream of "Jan was nice to Herb. My cat looked
fat. Shoes don't match. Isn't Maui too expensive for Christmas…and rainy?
Must lose weight. Kevin was sweet. What's on sale? These pens are empty.
Going to be eighty today. Was Martha Stewart really THAT guilty to go to
prison? That prick cut me off………………………"
A lot of thoughts are triggered by what we see. We call these ³outside²
thoughts. Other times we¹re deep in ³inside² thoughts. We don't even see
what we see. We're just "playing thoughts" completely disconnected from
Well, I pose my question again. Where is this stream of thoughts
warehoused? There's never a gap between them. It's like some vast US Mail
warehouse with a conveyor belt of mail coming through – each one to be
inspected and "thought" instantly, one after another, and on and on until
eternity. Some are logged to be sent back to the warehouse so they can be
thought again. Others only get sent to the "thought once and only once" bin.
There never seems to be a let up, unless we're looking at the ocean and
hearing the roar of the breaking surf…inhaling and exhaling…like the
calming of our mother's breathing. Or looking out over the Grand Canyon.
By the way, I don't have the answer to this question. It is a complete
bafflement to me. It's just like the other bafflement. How can I remember
a thirty second moment on the coast of Kauai, and suddenly I can smell the
smells again, feel the sand between my toes and feel the salty air on my
skin and the warm breeze wafting my shirt? Or looking out across a fertile
prairie in Spring where the wheat is a soft green, so wispy they blur
together as the breeze undulates their feathery plumes.
I think we¹re just phonographs looking for something to play (or laser
pickup heads if you insist on being modern). We play content from outside
sources, or our own oldies, or new stuff we¹ve whipped together. We¹re just
walking jukeboxes (they don¹t make those anymore either).
And this is why I like going to the ocean. I just watch the swelling of the
waves, the pelicans, who are once the most awkward looking but efficiently
designed fish eating machines. But there¹s nothing to think about. Even
when I¹m not thinking, I am thinking, ³Why aren¹t I thinking about
And thank goodness, this Aristotle session is sometimes interrupted by a
seagull that¹d like my sandwich while I ponder the meaning of life, which my
son, Thomas, told me when he was eight.
The meaning of life is something to do.
Alright then. Let¹s get thinking! Maybe we should get some ice cream.
©2012 Fletcher Murray