My musings about thinking too much!
Socrates said ” an un-examined life is not worth living”, yet to much reasoning can become a tyranny of thought, a trap! . Excessive, compulsive, manic thought becomes a form of suicide. As John Lennon sang on his last album Double Fantasy;
“Life is what happens too you while your busy making other plans.”
Musings on thought;
I wrote in a poem, while walking about the Isles Paxos (Greece), near the town of Logo’s at age 25:
“In the past I spent my time in the past, I spent my time in the future, I did not spend my time in the time; now it’s time“
Nearly 22 years later, I have learned not to think my life away. Realizing at last doing so was insane. Being in the present with God, doing what is appropriate to the moment, is now to me “Being in Christ”. For Christ is the author of what is present and real, the author of time. Now perhaps I’m sane; are you?
Be careful how you think, there is a suicide to thought. Some way’s of thinking kill the heart, and disable the mind.
Oswald Chambers put it this way;
“Simplicity is the secret of seeing things clearly. A saint does not think clearly for a long while, but a saint ought to see clearly without any difficulty. You cannot think a spiritual muddle clear, you have to obey it clear. In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will think yourself into cotton wool…If there is something upon which God has put His pressure, obey in that matter, bring your imagination into captivity to the obedience of Christ…The reasoning capacity comes afterwards, but we never see along that line, we see like children; when we try to be wise we see nothing (Mathew 11:25) The tiniest thing we allow in our lives that is not under the control of the Holy Spirit is quite sufficient to account for spiritual muddle, and all the thinking we like to spend on it will never make it clear. Spiritual muddle is only made plane by obedience. Immediately we obey, we discern. This is humiliating”….
At the very birth of the modern world, during the creation of the fabric of the modern mind, a great intellect emerged with eyes wide open, one with a keen clarity of thought. G.K. Chesterton wrote in 1908 regarding much of what has confused our modern minds;
“Scientific thought has usurped the power of God in many rational people”. (Orthodoxy page 26 isbn 0-89870-552-5)
“The new scientific society definitely discourages men from thinking; (about spiritual matters*) it is a fact,…modern science cares far less for pure logic (truth*) than a dancing Dervish…Nothing can save him but a blind hunger for normality, like that of a beast.
A man cannot think himself out of mental evil; for it is actually the organ of thought that has become diseased, ungovernable, and, as it were, independent. He can only be saved by will or faith.
The moment his mere reason moves, it moves in the old circular rut; he will go round and round his logical circle, just as a man in a third-class carriage…will go round and round the Inner Circle unless he performs the voluntary, vigorous, and mystical act of getting out at Gower Street .**
Decision is the whole business here; a door must be shut for ever.”
For us to walk in the reality that is truth and sanity we must discern the appropriate balance between faith and reason.
“Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, Common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism the light of faith brings out the two into right relation” ~Oswald Chambers~
“I tell you that intellect, human endowment, and human cleverness have not a thing to do with the revelation of God’s mysteries. “but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit” God does not will that we abandon the intellect, but only that we sweep it off our alters and use it in the service of our creator”
I was raised by a brilliant, thoughtful woman, trained in “the Athens of the West” U.C. Berkeley. She learned to think in all the modern way’s.
At age 18 I wrote: “My life is a war, my mind the battle field, my thoughts the weapons, my decisions the outcome”.
Two weeks later I was made an intellectual orphan by her death in a car accident. I was left alone to figure out an insane world. Yet I started a long slow walk to reality that is sanity; it was the guide posts of the Word of God that help me make my way.
“but you must not eat the fruit from the tree which gives the knowledge of good and evil. If you ever eat fruit from that tree, you will die!”
The desire for spiritual knowledge and understanding is one of the glorious mysteries of humanity. But it cannot be attained through a rational process alone. The search for truth inside your own mind is dangerous.
So is an overly intellectualized life; believing you can know anything (to find truth) outside of the revelation of God is spiritual suicide. To much reasoning can kill your heart and atrophy your soul. Creating your own spiritual world view without the recognition of a living, loving, knowing- transcendent creator God- is a the least a trap and the worst to live a lie.
Jesus (Yeshua) himself said:
“I am able to do nothing from Myself [independently, of My own accord–but only as I am taught by God and as I get His orders]. Even as I hear, I judge [I decide as I am bidden to decide. As the voice comes to Me, so I give a decision], and My judgment is right (just, righteous), because I do not seek or consult My own will [I have no desire to do what is pleasing to Myself, My own aim, My own purpose] but only the will and pleasure of the Father Who sent Me”. John 5:29-31 (Amplified Bible )
Remember also these words of Jesus. “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
This reminds us that we are able to enter the Kingdom if we think simply enough about things; like children.
We cannot find our life in our independent reasoning mind, in processing, rationalizing, intellectualizing, that is not life, it is vanity. “Walk not as the gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind” Eph 4:17
We need the washing of the word of God, to renew our minds from our independent decisions about what is true or real. Seeking spiritual truth outside of an interdependent relationship with truth or God seems to me nonsensical.
“Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect” [in His sight for you].
Romans 12:1-3 (amplified)
Chesterton reminds us:
“Curing a madman is not arguing with a philosopher; it is casting out a devil. And however quietly doctors and psychologist may go to work in the matter, their attitude is profoundly intolerant-as intolerant as Bloody Mary. Their attitude is rally this; that the man must stop thinking, if he is to go on living. Their counsel is one of intellectual amputation. If they head offend thee, cut it off; for it is better, not merely to enter the kingdom of Haven as a child, but to enter it as an imbecile, rather than with your whole intellect to be cast into hell- or Hanwell”
( Hanwell was a mental asylum in west London).
Although for many years my mind wandered I kept my sanity in this insane world. My hope, my future, my very footsteps have been made firm by obedience to a simple process of learning to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”;
“[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasoning’s and every proud and lofty thing [thought] that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)”, 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 (amplified)
We must guard our thoughts lest we lose our head again Chesterton reminds us…
” The creeds and the crusades, the hierarchies and the horrible persecutions were not organized, as is ignorantly said, for the suppression of reason. They were organized for the difficult defense of reason.
Man, by a blind instinct, know that if once things were wildly questioned, reason could be questioned first. The authority of priests to absolve, the authority of popes to define the authority, even of inquisitors to terrify; these were all only dark defenses erected round one central authority, more understandable more supernatural than all – the authority of man to think.
We know that this is so; we have no excuse for not knowing it. For we can hear skepticism crashing through the old ring of authorities, and at the same moment we can see reason swaying upon her throne…
What peril of morbidity there is for man comes rather from his reason than his imagination. It was not meant to attack the authority of reason; rather it is the ultimate purpose to defend it. For it needs defense”…
“The whole modern world is at war with reason; and the tower already reels. The sages, it is often said, can see no answer to the riddle of religion. But the trouble with our state is not that they cannot see the answer; it is that they cannot even see the riddle…
In so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind….
They are both methods of proof which cannot themselves be proved. And in the act of destroying the idea of Divine authority we have largely destroyed the idea of that human authority by which we do a long-division sum.
With a long sustained tug we have attempted to pull the mitre off pontifical man; and his head has come off with it… you cannot call up any wilder vision than a city in which men ask themselves if they have any selves… We have no more questions left to ask. We have looked for questions in the darkest corners and on the wildest peaks.
We have found all the questions that can be found. It is time we gave up looking for questions and began looking for answers” (G.K. Chesterton)
In conclusion, a summary;
My principle point is regarding over thinking; the circular or manic thought processes that side tracks life, and vitality.
Chesterton in his classic work “Orthodoxy” lambastes all modern scientifically derived philosophies of thought as non logical or nonsensical; un-reasonable.
Suggesting the only reasonable, rational perspective is one based on absolute truth as reveled by God in Yeshua Messiah (Jesus the Christ). Knowledge revealed by Christ is truly understandable, logical, yet also mysterious or mystical. Therefore an answer to all the questions of truth or life.
He implies we are to walk as we were created ; super-naturally, interdependently with truth/God: as Adam did before the fateful day when he ate of the accursed tree of independent human knowledge and welcomed to the earth a rational life uninspired or uniformed by the wisdom of God; thus all things changed.
So much truth is hidden in the mysteries of that Ancient Garden and the heart and mind of men who remain inspired by God.
Chesterton summarizes the condition of life without inspired reason best as…
” the man who cannot believe his senses, and the man who cannot believe anything else , are both insane, but their insanity is proved not by any error in their argument, but by the manifest mistake of their whole lives.
They both lock themselves up in two boxes, painted inside with the sun and the stars; they are both unable to get out. To one into the health and happiness of heaven, the other even into the health and happiness of the earth.
Their position is quite reasonable; nay, in a sense it is infinitely reasonable, just as a three penny bit is infinitely circular. But there is such a thing as a mean infinity, a base and slavish eternity.”
May you find the exquisite balance between faith and reason, the truth and grace found in the eternal mystery; God revealed in man, expressing his mind and heart through mankind.
May you have the courage and grace to give your heart, mind and spirit over to the presence of the Holy Spirit of Yahweh- That is the True life found through the revelation of the Messiah of Israel: Yeshua (Jesus the Christ).
**the Inner Circle is transit line surrounding London-Gower Street a station on it.
William Mark Parry © 8/15/09 edits: 11/30/2010, 8/14/2012,11/24/2015,1/6/2016,5/05/19