How to Join Member's Area Private Library Search Today's Topics p Login
Main Forums Discussion Tech Talk Mature Content Archives
   Nav Win
 Discussion
 Philosophy 101
 Thought -vs- Action   [ Page: 1  2  ]
 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Follow us on Facebook

 Moderated by: Ron   (Admins )

 
User Options
Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Admin Print Send ECard
Passions in Poetry

Thought -vs- Action

 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
Christopher
Moderator
Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


0 posted 03-15-2002 05:08 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher


Where does one draw the line: Is it right or wrong to think of an action, or just to perform the action? Do we lose points for bad thoughts? Gain them for positive ones, even if we don't follow through? And in this, where does intent lie?
PoetryIsLife
Deputy Moderator 5 ToursDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Elite
since 10-27-2001
Posts 4115
...in my boxers...


1 posted 03-15-2002 06:05 PM       View Profile for PoetryIsLife   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for PoetryIsLife

I think, when someone dwells on something evil long enough, it becomes wrong, or sin. Having the thought does not make it wrong... But dweeling on it is almost as worse as the action... as worse? Maybe not worse. But almost as bad.

But, that's just my opinion....

~ Titus

I'm dealing with too much.... I'm loosing control.

Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


2 posted 03-15-2002 06:25 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


This is a tricky one and it’s due, in part to the ‘where do you draw the line’ statement. Recent evidence seems to prove that there are at least two levels of thought, the first is your everyday high end thought, an example of this would be someone planning how to kill another. The second is a lower level, more base thought system, designed as a provider of instant reaction, this is the classic fight/flight controller.

If we bypass this first hurdle and concentrate only on the longer premeditated thought process I’d have to go for actions over thought.

Intent? If we’re looking at intent as in ‘intent to commit murder’ I believe some physical output would be necessary to prove guilt. Writing down how you planned to do it would prove intent (and stupidity), being in a specific location with a loaded gun would prove intent but the act of thinking either is (at least up to press) not proof in itself without some form of action.

Good topic, made me think.
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


3 posted 03-15-2002 10:25 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

You won't remember this, but when Jimmy Carter was running for president, he gave an interview and stated that he had 'lusted in his heart' over women. He felt that by doing so, he committed a sin.

If thinking about doing something horrendous is as bad as doing it, then most writers in the world would be in jail!!!
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


4 posted 03-15-2002 10:48 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Exactly. I'm still trying to figure out if this is an argument against thought.
Denise
Moderator
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002


5 posted 03-16-2002 08:58 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I think all action, good or bad, originates first in the mind, in our thought life. What we end up "doing" begins in our thought life. It's not an argument against "thought", so much as it is just the stating the cause and effect of things, in my opinion.
Allysa
Deputy Moderator 10 ToursDeputy Moderator 5 Tours
Member Elite
since 11-09-1999
Posts 2307
In an upside-down garden


6 posted 03-16-2002 03:25 PM       View Profile for Allysa   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Allysa

I think that thinking something horrible isn't wrong.  Like thinking to yourself "I'm so mad at him I could kill him" but not actually acting upon that thought.  I'm a writer and I let my "inner demons" out through my stories. It's just easier that way.

Also, what about Dream vs. Action.
What if you dream about killing someone, is that almost as bad as actually doing so? Because you're not just thinking about it, you're actually invisoning it in your mind...

Don't let your mind wander, it's much to small to be out by itself.

Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


7 posted 03-16-2002 04:43 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I vaguely remember a pre-teen Ron, ten or maybe twelve years old, who would feign illness to get out of going to school. Trouble was, the little runt was so convincing he would actually MAKE himself sick after just a few hours of pretending. Ruined a lot of good days off that way.

If you believe we have control over our actions, it necessarily follows we must be responsible for our actions. Shouldn't we follow the same criteria for both thoughts and our as yet unmentioned emotions? I'm not talking about right or wrong, if only because Chris failed to establish what authority he envisions adding or detracting those points he mentioned. I'm instead talking about personal responsibility and our own sense of right and wrong, regardless of its source. I'm talking about what is good for the individual.

The question then is, how much control do you think people have over their own thoughts and emotions?
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


8 posted 03-16-2002 07:13 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine



Does it take a lot of discipline to control your thoughts, your emotions? I can control how I SHOW my emotions – you may never know that I love you, because I choose not to show it – but I FEEL it nonetheless. So ‘feeling’ and showing emotions are two different things. I don’t think we can control how we feel.

But controlling out thoughts? Hmm….I decided to experiment.

I saw a commercial on TV, there was a herd of wild horses running across the scene. I thought how beautiful! This must have been the way they were before the west was settled, before men came along and tamed them. It must have been hard out in the west without all the stuff we have today. Here in Arizona we depend on air conditioning, I wonder how they kept cool in the summer? I’m not sure I would have the fortitude to do that. But then I’ve done a lot of stuff in the last 10 years that I would never have done before…but would I have changed things if I could? Would I have moved here? Left Michigan? The last time I was there was the middle of summer and I froze to death! The next time I go, I’ll go meet Ron. That’s a scary thought. I wonder what his bedroom looks like all painted dark blue even the ceiling..of course my whole room is painted pink – it’s like sleeping in a bottle of Pepto Bismol. Which I hate the taste of…I’d rather throw up than drink it..and I hate to throw up. I’ve felt like throwing up almost every morning at work for the last week. Maybe it’s stress…maybe it’s because I know sooner or later I’ll have to leave there and that will be sad, I’ll probably cry when I leave. I hate to cry.

And then something else grabs my attention and I’m off on another thought roller coaster.

Christopher
Moderator
Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


9 posted 03-16-2002 09:02 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

thank you everyone for your input!

sharon - i soooo understand what you're talking about - Tangent is my middle name!!!

let's follow along with your mention of personal responsibility Ron...

fictional eg. - i am considering (thinking) of the possibility of moving to Alaska. i mull it over in my mind for several months, debating on whether or not it's something i even want to do.

now, i am in a relationship with someone who would be affected by the end decision, yet while i am debating on my personal feelings about the matter, i don't share it with this person. my thinking is that i don't want to open the discussion until i know for sure that i want to or don't want to do this thing, where i would then broach the subject.

is there a conflict of responsibility between needing to decide for myself first, and making the other aware of thoughts that, as of yet, are undecided? do i have a responsibility to inform this person of a thought that is my own, but may potentially affect their life?

tough one for me. i can see an affirmitive an negative to both sides. moral dillemna here!

C
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


10 posted 03-16-2002 09:31 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

For that scenerio Chris, I'd say tell her. If someone is going to be a part of your life, she deserves to know. (I am into this so much I've already ordered a shower gift!! LOL)
Christopher
Moderator
Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


11 posted 03-16-2002 09:47 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

but sharon: why?

shower gift? *peers suspiciously*
Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


12 posted 03-16-2002 10:13 PM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Because SHE needs to know if she wants to invest anything more into the relationship that make take her far from her home and family. If she loves you, it won't matter if it's the end of the world...if she says "Alaska? Why there?" then dump her!
Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


13 posted 03-16-2002 11:29 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I'm guessing my answer would depend on the relationship, Christopher. If you think she would make a decision about having a baby without first consulting you, then I guess she can't complain too much.  

I think a relationship, by definition, is an assumption of responsibility. If all that's being shared is a bed, that's not a relationship, it's convenience. Does she need to know? Or does she just deserve to have her input considered before a decision is reached?

In truth, every decision we make impacts other people, and obviously the world can't be consulted at each turn of life's path. I wouldn't necessarily recommend telling your boss you're "thinking" of looking for a new job, for example. But whether we share our thoughts or not, with a boss or a significant other, I do believe we are always responsible for them. Tell the girlfriend and accept the consequences. Or don't tell her, and accept THOSE consequences.

And, yes, Sharon, I think controlling thoughts and emotions requires discipline. No, scratch that. It requires consistent practice, and THAT requires discipline. And like most things in life, it's rarely perfect.

Most of us would accept that our actions are a reflections of our thoughts and emotions. But I think it works the other way around, too. That's why, as a kid, acting sick would eventually make me feel sick. I'm not crazy about your example, so let's switch it 180 degrees around. Let's say there was someone you strongly disliked, and you consistently treated them like they were dirt. Do you think that would do anything other than reinforce your feelings? What if you treated them as if they were your best friend? Not an act, but a sincere effort? That's an extreme example of what I'm talking about, but I don't believe it's an unrealistic one.

Act confident, and you'll eventually feel confident. Act scared and furtive, and you'll eventually (usually quickly!) feel fear. Act angry, and you'll eventually put yourself into a berserker rage. Of course, I'm not talking about fooling other people. I'm talking about fooling yourself.

I believe we have a lot more control over our thoughts and emotions than most people realize. I'm not even talking about esoteric techniques like bio-feedback or meditation, either (though I think those and other esoteric techniques offer real value). I think most of us ALREADY exercise that control, albeit unconsciously in most cases and certainly imperfectly. Writers, in fact, do it better than most, though method actors have it down to a true art form. After all, before we can influence the feelings of others, don't we first have to influence our own?

Consider this: If we don't have at least a large degree of control over our thoughts and our emotions, is there really anything we can call free will?

Poet deVine
Administrator
Member Empyrean
since 05-26-99
Posts 25869
Hurricane Alley


14 posted 03-17-2002 12:13 AM       View Profile for Poet deVine   Email Poet deVine   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Poet deVine

Ron you raise a good point about control of your thoughts. I have told someone who's constantly sad to start with just a smile. The next day, two smiles..pretending a joy we don't feel can be replaced by a feeling of joy. Because you condition yourself to feel 'joy'. Hmm...I think I've learned something that I can apply to my own life. Something I'd forgotten....so thank you. I appreciate it.
Christopher
Moderator
Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


15 posted 03-17-2002 01:04 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

and here's where semantics get me in trouble, because i'm not deciding on WHETHER or not to do it... i'm deciding on IF i want to do it - i, from a sense of personal morals, would feel obliged to discuss it with the other (it was in my mind a full relationship, not casual, ron) before a 'real' decision was made, because if the answer was "yes, i would like to move to alaska" (not actually decide to move, but decide that the prospect was appealing), then i would have to factor other things in my life....

maybe my example was poorly done, because it seems simplistic, and one would think the other would just talk about it... lol

semantics, they get me everytime...
Christopher
Moderator
Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


16 posted 03-17-2002 01:05 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

ok - i'll grant that we can control our thoughts - but where is the line between thought and impulse?

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


17 posted 03-17-2002 01:29 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I pretty much agree with what Ron said but would emphasize that people already control their thoughts and emotions to a far greater degree than they want themselves and others to know.

Not admitting this allows an escape when something doesn't go the right way, it's a way of avoiding responsibility. When we say control, also, we have a tendency to see this as somehow less real, sincere or whatever because the feelings and thoughts aren't "natural".

That is, we control our thoughts/feelings but don't like to admit we do so, we don't want to deal with that aspect of our personality that actually does the controlling.

So, while I think Ron is right, I would also say that recognizing that you do control your thoughts/feelings is important so that you can recognize when you shouldn't.

Without the discussion of control, we close ourselves off from the new.  

Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


18 posted 03-17-2002 08:50 AM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Ron asked:

“The question then is, how much control do you think people have over their own thoughts and emotions?”

My answer is none and complete, we have no control over the thoughts that are presented to us but complete control over which ones we decide to use and run with.

I believe that thoughts come in three basic types the first is the base thought process.

This is the fight/flight thought reaction that is stimulated directly to the oldest part of our brain via our senses. This instigates reactions such as the reduction of blood flow in the gut and stomach to increase the oxygen content in other parts of the body (butterflies). It also controls the production of white blood cells and chemical production, adrenaline for example. This low-level and ancient self-defence mechanism cannot be controlled fully although exposure to stimuli that produce such reactions can diminish the level of effects.

The second and third thought processes are mechanically almost identical and in fact are often used in conjunction but can be divided into two separate parts by the original stimulus that evokes them.

Problem solving.

When confronted by a problem the human brain delves into it’s knowledge base and suggests hypothesises of the possible solutions. Our higher thought processes sift the information presented and decide on the best answer based on experience and a priori models. We can in certain circumstances control the choices but the original thoughts from which we make those choices cannot be controlled.

The last type is where Poet deVine and Christopher’s tangents come in. This is the most controllable type of thought, you can focus on specifics and avoid tangents but the original thoughts of those tangents cannot be controlled.

The ultimate answer must be that you cannot control anything without prior knowledge of that thing, in the case of thought it can be suppressed but only after it exists.

Where thoughts come from and inspiration is probably the next logical question however though pertinent to writing this may be a little off topic.
Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


19 posted 03-17-2002 03:31 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Phaedrus,

I wouldn't call your first thought process a thought process at all. I call that instinct. Instincts can be controlled by conditioning.

But uncontrolled instincts aren't always a bad thing. Of course, they aren't always a good thing either.

We differ slightly on controlling the other two processes. I think people do indeed avoid thinking certain thoughts. I equate thought with the use of language and if you stop a thought in its tracks, that means you didn't fully think that thought.

If you see what I'm saying here, thought has to be developed, it has to be thought before it becomes a thought.

This may not be satisfactory for a lot of people, but it doesn't deny the importance of feeling, mood, and instinct in ourselves.

It helps understand, I think, the fundamental import of contingency in our lives.

Brad





Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


20 posted 03-17-2002 04:47 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus


Instinct would be a fair name for the fist process, but to deny that thought is involved is too much of a stretch if you define thought as the processing of data and ideas by the brain. The fact that the paths to the higher parts of the brain are short-circuited during the first process; information being re-routed to the reptilian core of the brain and then on to the body before being passed to the higher parts, does not mean that the information is not processed.

I agree that conditioning can lessen the effects of these thought processes, a point I did mention earlier, but it is impossible to fully control the bodies’ reaction to stimuli processed in this manner. I’m willing however to agree that this process is probably beyond the intent of the original post and can be discounted in that context.

I can see what your saying about thoughts becoming thoughts and stopping them in there tracks, I’m simply not sure that’s the way it works. Thoughts, unlike language (although we do primarily think in language form) occur at such a speed that they are there before they can be stopped. Proof of this is made clear with your assertion that you can stop them, you must have knowledge of what they are BEFORE you can apply the brakes. Otherwise you could end up suppressing the thoughts you really ought to be thinking. You only know they’re bad once you know what they are.

Or am I just boldly going where no fool has gone before?
Christopher
Moderator
Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


21 posted 03-17-2002 05:51 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

then following that thought: how CAN you truly control an 'impulse' thought? from experience, i have found that trying to NOT think of something invariably leads me TO thinkong of that same thing... i can try to focus on something else, but in the back of my mind, there's always that other thought, the one that i am trying not to think of. and then there's the issue brad briefly mentioned: inspiration. how can one control something that one did not necessarily know existed in the first place? or - are you suggesting the possibility that we can control that which leads to inspiration? LOL - if that's the case, i know a bunch of writers who would pay money to learn that!
Phaedrus
Member
since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


22 posted 03-17-2002 06:20 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Inspiration is simply mans ability to hypothesise using a priori and a posteriori reasoning to solve a problem or develop an original idea.

That’s a bad description, it doesn’t deal with where the thought originates with regard to fiction although it covers inspirational endeavours in non-fiction fairly well.

I once read a book, I believe the title was “A Mote in Gods Eye”, the main premise of the story was that a civilisation on a distant planet went through a continuing cycle of industrialisation and destruction. Each time the survivors were plunged back into what would be the equivalent of our stone age and each time they redeveloped using a submerged memory of past generations. Every cycle ended the same way with the destruction of all they had built, the only difference was the time it took to get to that point. Each time the destruction occurred earlier and earlier as the ‘Inspirational Ideas’ became closer and fresher. Maybe Inspiration is a memory of what has already happened.

All this doesn’t answer your question but hopefully it’ll send you off on a tangent and away from questions that are beyond my feeble mind.  

[This message has been edited by Phaedrus (03-17-2002 06:22 PM).]

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


23 posted 03-17-2002 06:39 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't think you actually know the thought before you think, but I do think we have an intuitive sense based on the sense of who we are which thoughts we want to think and which we don't. If you come close to a cliff, aren't you still weary even if you don't actually imagine the fall?

The funny part is that once you tell yourself to stop the thought, someone can ask (if they could hear it of course), what the thought was and then you can think it. There's a distance in this context that wasn't there in the original.

Yes, I would argue they're two different thoughts.

On the other hand, we still have what I call random nueron flashes (dreams are a good example). What do we make of these?

I've never been entirely convinced that they mean that much unless we choose to make them so.

There are times, however, when I think we should make them so. The trick, I guess, is knowing which ones are useful and which ones fluff.

When we mystify thought (Cartesian dualism or whatever), don't we often give more credence to these random flashes than we should?

Ron
Administrator
Member Rara Avis
since 05-19-99
Posts 9708
Michigan, US


24 posted 03-17-2002 06:52 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

I think the apparent confusion is not over a definition of thought/impulse/instinct but rather over a definition of control. You can learn to control your heartbeat without eliminating your heartbeat, and in any case, the control is never absolute. That doesn't make it lack of control, and it certainly doesn't make it useless.

Chris, you can learn to control impulse thoughts, and it's not even all that difficult. It just requires lots of time and practice, with every instance being specific. If every time you think "pink elephant" you immediately and remorselessly force your thoughts to "white rose," in time your mind will make the trip without any conscious effort. Many years ago, I got into self-hypnosis and initially found the process very difficult. I used a visualization technique that started with a large black circle and a small white center, and as I went through a series of relaxation exercises, the white circle would grow until the outer, black circle was entirely covered. Initially, it would take at least an hour. By the time a year had passed, with nearly daily practice, all I had to do was visualize the tiny white center and I was instantly and completely relaxed, both mentally and physically. My mind and body had learned where I wanted them to go, and the tiny white center became little more than a trigger. Most of us already have hundreds of similar triggers that were constructed over time and with no real planning. Some have probably become very powerful, perhaps nearly inescapable.

Unfortunately, like any other muscle, mental training is subject to atrophy. If you have a big biceps but don't exercise it for a few years, you end up with a small biceps. I stopped using the visualizations and, several years later, found they no longer worked so well for me. Fortunately, and again like any other muscle, establishing the ability the second time was much easier than the first. Rebuilding a big biceps, even after several years of laziness, takes a fraction as long as it did to build it initially. You body "remembers" the earlier results. So, too, I think does the mind. What took me a year to automate the first time was repeated in less than six weeks the second.

It isn't difficult to train the human mind and, indeed, it's almost impossible to avoid training it. One might even make the argument that all of human thought is the result of previous training. The only question is really whether you want to exercise control or allow it to happen haphazardly.

And, yea, Inspiration can also be trained. But while you might know a bunch of writers willing to pay money for that, I suspect there's relatively few willing to consistently do the work necessary to make it happen.
 
 Post A Reply Post New Topic   Go to the Next Oldest/Previous Topic Return to Topic Page Go to the Next Newest Topic 
All times are ET (US) Top
  User Options
>> Discussion >> Philosophy 101 >> Thought -vs- Action   [ Page: 1  2  ] Format for Better Printing EMail to a Friend Not Available
Print Send ECard

 

pipTalk Home Page | Main Poetry Forums

How to Join | Member's Area / Help | Private Library | Search | Contact Us | Today's Topics | Login
Discussion | Tech Talk | Archives | Sanctuary



© Passions in Poetry and netpoets.com 1998-2013
All Poetry and Prose is copyrighted by the individual authors