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In more than one way, Greeks invented thought. Greek ways to talk and discuss and think are in the roots of our contemporary mindset.

Problem is: Greece developed this doctrine of thought amidst a process of disciplining thought. Not only enhancing it, but structuring it and making it conform to rules and criteria.

And most of the anti-rationality rage (anti-Cartesian, post-modern, all that) in fact rebel against this doctrine and misses the thought that underlies it.

But there is a lot more to thinking than applying Greek doctrine!

Discipline, as almost anything else, is many-sided. It is a pain in the ass, mostly, but it is some form of pain that gets you something good in the end.

That you could discipline thought is a somewhat curious idea. First because thought and freedom are perceived as closely tied (another Greek legacy). But mostly because to structure thought in a way that is not dogma is pretty difficult.

Thus one can endlessly turn mind-discipline into cruel rules that smother creativity and feeling and humanness — whenever it fits your purposes. You also happen to be able to turn the lack of discipline into sleazy snake-oil treachery.

Our idea of «reason» is deeply confused with the attempt at disciplining. We can’t really conceive one thing without the other any more, and even if we attempt to do so the split between the two makes our stance just criticism and not an original take.

Thinking does not make things simpler. Discipline should at first sight diminish freedom, and self-imposed constraint is almost the definition of discipline, but the weird thing is that this discipline avoids some restraints.

Discovering the laws of gravity freed us to go to the Moon. The Cartesian structure allowed us to think space in better terms.

When i hold a flashlight in my hand it is easy to take it for granted, to see the object as real, as given, as something that just exists, independent of anyone’s ideas. But at some point in time the use of wires and magnets to produce light was just non-existent.

The discipline of ideas created our world, a world that is freaky, risky, weird in many many ways, and stubbornly unpredictable. How do we cope with it?


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