Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ayn Rand - excerpt 1

Why do you think you think?

"Thought is a primitive superstition. Reason is an irrational idea. The childish notion that we are able to think has been mankind's costliest error.

What you think you think is an illusion created by your glands, your emotions and, in the last analysis, by the content of your stomach.

That gray matter you're so proud of is like a mirror in an amusement park which transmits to you nothing but distorted signals from a reality forever beyong your grasp.

The more certain you feel of your rational conclusions, the more certain you are to be wrong. Your brain being an instrument of distortion, the more active the brain the greater the distortion.

The giants of the intellect, whom you admire so much, once taught you that the earth was flat and that the atom was the smallest particle of matter. The entire history of science is a progression of exploded fallacies, not of achievements.

The more we know, the more we learn that we know nothing.

Only the craziest ignoramus can still hold on to the old-fashioned notion that seeing is believing. That which you see is the first thing to disbelieve."


R said...

The moment I stop to think
Same moment as I start to sink
Sometimes I wish I were like you
So why wont you try to see who I am

Lets look at it this way...What is it, that makes us humans, better than the animals ?(one could argue, that we're not, but then that is a completely different discussion, and we can save for another rainy day.) The answer to that is 'Our thoughts'. Yes, science (and why only science, every logical process) is a 'progression of exploded fallacies'. But look at the words here..we use the word 'progression'.

Every idea, on the face of this earth, begins as a thought (Some might choose to call it, accepted wisdom, or philosophy). The external stimuli to this thoughts are primarily provided by our sights. so, the seed to an idea is 'what we observe'. But this is where the brilliance of critical questioning (again another name for 'thought')takes over, and our gray cells become active. This is why we don't stop at accepting the earth as flat. We 'THINK'.

Thoughts might be intangible...but the results of the thoughts are not. Every single thing, that humans know today, is the product of our it the computer, that you are gazing into right now, be it the phone that you are carrying, be it the shirt you are wearing, or be it the books that you read.

I agree with the authour, when she says "Only the craziest ignoramus can still hold on to the old-fashioned notion that seeing is believing" we don't...we think about what we saw...which contradicts her very first statement...."The childish notion that we are able to think has been mankind's costliest error".

I think, We think, therefore we are. Now, u take a while, and think about that...

Anonymous said...

wow! i love that cynicism. and its fun to read.
as for r will come back and read ur comment :D

Aparna.G said...

@R - I agree to an extent with what you are saying.. but, think about the possibility of the statement being true! & look at the first line only - the rest of it is an explanation! "Thought is a primitive superstition". It essentially means that, the thought you have that you think is in itself primitive (ancient, if i may use another word), and a superstition (a belief).. So, it means that 'thought' is an ancient belief.. if its a belief, well, there is no science or logic to it.. Everything else follows!

I think the first line is profound, and thats what caught my attention & 'thought' process.. :D

@zoxcleb - what do u think?

Arunima said...

the lady and her ideas drive me nuts at times.

Jimmy said...

"The more we know, the more we learn that we know nothing."
I like that. I like Rand.

Vi said...

My brother's currently hogging my Ayn Rand books, but I plan on reading her soon.... =)

Thanks for the comment! Indeed, time does fly by, happy or not.

Quicksilver! said...

Have brain, will think:)))))))

Anonymous said...

Unless Homo sapiens create fallacies how are they going to explode them and progress?
What do you think?
Only a wise person knows that s/he knows nothing. In karate you start with a white belt, end up as a black belt holder but the highest 'dan' (grade) in karate is again a white belt.

Anonymous said...

well, for starters lemme make it extremely clear that i dont get head or tail of this thing or of what you are saying. Maybe, in that case, I just proved Ayn Rand's point across :-)

Aparna.G said...

@arunima - I know!!

@Jimmy - ya, we dint need Ayn Rand to drive in that point though now,did we?

@vi - will keep visiting! I like your style! & get back to Ayn Rand - sooon!

@quicksilver - good for u!! Lemme know what u think!! I would love to know!!

Aparna.G said...

@ candid diary - u say a wise person knows that he/she knows nothing? Then, how does he/she claim to be wise? Maybe, you meant to say, he/she doesnt know everything! But, Ayn Rand says something else..

@Ajax - brother, U need to come to Mumbai for a session to understand this.. or we (R,E and me) come to Blore - I like the coming to Blore plan - u convince E, and R - I am there!! :DD

R said...

@ Aparna: "Thought is a primitive superstition"...ok.....
primitive: ancient (agreed)....
Superstition: belief (agreed).....
belief: thought(agreed??)
So, basically what you are trying to say is a thought is an ancient thought. Ya, true. Everything begings with thought, every thought is a continuation of another thought. So, I say, We think therefore we are.
For the rest of it, please refer to my first comment.

Aparna.G said...

@R - Point taken! There is an Ayn Rand club, and wil post this up there!!

Watch out for the excerpt 2 of Ayn Rand! I still think her writings are zehr gut!

Anonymous said...

Hmm ...Should I use my brain to think about these things or thinking about this in itself will be an illussion !! ? :)

Anonymous said...

simply dropping by to say hey