On Thought, and Action


*Disclaimer: I won’t be editing this piece that much, so I apologize if my thoughts are underdeveloped, unpolished, pretentious, or even outright stupid. Feel free to dispute or argue against anything I say in this piece, because at this point I can’t sleep and I feel like rambling on about whatever it is that’s currently on my mind. In the spirit of the development of ideas and the noble pursuit of truth, commentary is welcome.

12:00 am thought bubble:

“Thoughts matter not if not put to action.”

Academic ivory towers churn out ideas on a daily, hourly basis. At times these thoughts create only more thoughts without influencing how we go about our existences, and how we relate to other people, or how we go about our lives in this common plane of existence. These are hollow and must be reevaluated accordingly, with these revisitations catering more to praxis rather than pointless theory. Words left unspoken have their effect, but only to those who prevent them from giving life to conversations. Those who withhold words have a tendency to create discursive environments that are not in line with how they believe the environment should be shaped, mostly by virtue of the lack of communication. This further influences what they think, which further shapes the discourse, whether it be for better or for worse (usually for worse).

However, is there really such a thing as thought which does not coerce, oblige, or even slightly influence our decisions? Is thought in itself devoid of action? Is thought itself worthy of being called an “action”? Is there such a thing as a totally detached, floating ivory tower, then, one that is fully divorced from reality?

I would like to think not, and that any idea spurs some sort of response, whether it be from one’s own self or from someone else. This response fuels the exchange of ideas, scrutinizing seemingly misplaced ideas and furthering the development of good ones. Thought begets action, and similarly, action begets thought. The play at work between thought and action makes possible the very dynamic functioning of our lives, allowing us to act upon ideas and think of new things based on previous doings. I do not believe that either is servile to the other, in that thought must be at the service of action, or that action must be because ideas demand it, but rather that both of them are necessarily constitutive of our existences. Phenomenologically speaking, thoughts and actions are necessarily there, and are mutually causative of each other, neither being clearly dominant to the other.

Where does the problem of the ivory tower lie, then? It must then be in our disposition towards ideas and actions, both in our reception and our generation of new thoughts, processes, and systems. An unwillingness or inability to be transformed or at least be engaged in discourse with ideas and actions prevents people from recognizing that ideas already do incite action, and are never just ideas for the sake of ideas. This very unwillingness or inability is a response in itself to the ideas, and in turns shapes further ideas. There is a thought-action dynamic that affects our very existences, and an engaging disposition to this dynamic may allow for the co-governance of our existences.


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