Cogito-ing, Ergo Sum-ing

ReneDescartes

Lately I’m in my head too much.

I’ve always found it interesting that the same phenomenon can have polar opposite effects on people. For an improviser it’s rarely, if ever, good to be in your head as it means you’re thinking too much and that leads to slow reaction times. It’s better living in the moment so you can react faster and from a place of honesty or emotional intelligence. This leads to more interesting/surprising results.

The same is said about baseball, but less about emotional intelligence and more about natural instincts. Thinking too much leads to second guessing the pitches and worse reaction times. For the tougher pitchers, the experts teach you to think one pitch (e.g.: curveball), but be ready to react to another (e.g.: the fastball).

For a philosopher, however, being in your head is being in your playground. I often wonder where and how the great philosophers conceived their most prolific work. Were they metaphorically and literally on drugs? The easy answer is yes (but not always). Drug use aside, where did they formulate their best ideas? Did they stem from sitting quietly in a peaceful glade? Were they obtained from late night riffing sessions like the old stand up philosophers? Or were some of the greats derived while taking chisel to tablet or a quill & ink to papyrus while seated over a stone hole? Anyway…

All of this has made me ponder the nature of inspiration. What inspires the people around me? Can two people draw differing inspiration from the same thought or circumstance? Is it possible to draw positive inspiration from a negative or disreputable source? I’ve found myself recalling sage words from friends and family as well as looking up famous quotes to write on my cubicle’s glass each day. The most recent one that drew interesting responses was:

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? – Robert H. Schuller

Personally, I would like to explore the galaxy and beyond. So, what’s your response?

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