I have to chose one of the two parers for a metacognition peice in my advanced placement English class, keep in mind that this is a highschool paper and I really don't need to go superbly "Above and beyond" I just need to incorporate symbolism to define thought.
Thinking about thinking about thinking...
Being that you’re not in a world where big brother is watching you it is imperative that you think. Thinking is the most fundamental importance in life as a whole, not to mention human kind. Even zealots to organized religion can agree that thinking is important to us as a whole, at least some of the time. Thinking is what you would call a two-sided deal; if you don’t think and you’ll wind up a vegetable; if you do you’ll wind up a scapegoat. I suppose societies of thinking are equally separated in this nature, yet they do reflect each other, which is why social cognition is like a mirror.
If you think about it enough, you can think about thinking enough times to force a paradox in which you can stare forever and never get anywhere but the same place where you started from. Thinking about thinking really does nothing more for you than if you were to run on a treadmill; think about thought every day and your mind could be pumped, but it’s still not getting anywhere.
The two types of people you will meet in your life are the real and the reflected. The reflected person is the fabricated existence you see every day on MTV. You see kids making fun of cheerleaders while sporting their band shirts that all look alike. You see kids calling people conformists while blending into the coffee house crowd. These are subcultures created to simulate the beatnicks, the original thinkers who weren’t so original. The beatnicks are as close to real as we can get in that sense; they were preceding the hippies and following no one. Their existence was spurred out of the need to be new, the need to have difference, the need to rebel. Many kids today had simply distorted their reflection to a point of sameness. No kid you find in the beatnicks place in modern times will ever be different from people you see smoking outside and whining about the need to be different. These are the kids that call you attention seeking while they’re wearing women’s clothing. These are the new hypocrites of the rebels.
Real thinkers are indeed their own person, they dictate their actions and make their own rules. Brilliant people are usually reserved for this way of thinking. Einstein has spurred so many reflections in the avatar of a calculator carrying nerd or even outcasts who fabricate their existence into the world of cyberspace.
The real and reflective ways of thinking do have extremes. Even today you will find serial killers who idolize Jack the Ripper, murder of several people between cooling down periods is nothing new, but sending cheery letters into the police is, or Marquis De Sade, these people were so radically different in nature they inspired entire nations to look at them for study. Whether it is the wanton murder of prostitutes or just chasing a prostitute around a room with a fire poker, this particular extreme has an obvious downside. People like Hitler, Napoleon or any great ruler, these people wouldn’t be where they were if they idolized someone else.
Where the extremes of real people may be chilling, something that should give you nightmares at night is not these men at all, rather their disturbed counterparts. Hitler was a bad man, yes, but he isn’t half as bad as the Nazi party in general which still manifests itself into kids who seem to think they’re “punk”, or “hardcore” who don’t seem to realize they’re just sad little people with their shaved heads and pathetic looking Nazi signs. Hitler didn’t kill 6 million Jews, Nazis did. Marquis de Sade never killed anyone; Ted Bundy killed hundreds and was an avid fan of De Sade.
Reflective thinking isn’t dangerous until you’ve began to reflect a dangerous man. Not dangerous by standards, but a man who advocates violence, a man who advocates hatred. It is possible to become your own advocate, for unity, peace, happiness, just as long as you are your own person. It’s possible to be real, yet not looked down upon as demented. And that’s something to think about.
My other version:
The Extreme Duality of Thought
Imagine a world without thought, imagine a world where everyone is the same and unaffected by morals or beliefs. Imagine a barren, lifeless, desolate place without art, without science, without happiness.
Being in the free world where big brother isn’t watching you it’s essential that you think, whether you’re a depressed French existentialist or Stephen Hawking. Cognition has always been important to the survival of any species; even some people who preach organized religion think once in a while (I know, I’m a terrible person and that wasn’t necessary). But in all seriousness, thought can be the savior of the world, or it can cause you to be killed at the hands of not-so innovative people. Because of it’s destructive yet innovative nature, thought could be compared to a drill of sorts, digging to the root of all problems.
In my mind there’s two types of “Drills”: progressive and conservative (ugh, I hate politics). I’m sure you’ve heard this figure of speech thousands of times what with the “out of the box” phenomena we’ve been having in businesses and focus groups, but I don’t mean quite like that. “Progressive” thinkers tend to be scientists, influential people, beatnicks (well, not so much anymore, any coffee shop has gone from original thinkers to teenagers with baggage). Nietzsche was a progressive thinker, most people still don’t agree with his philosophies, but he has still told people in a world of sheep what he thought regardless of who was going to tell him different. The same goes with Marquis de Sade. Most people still look upon these people from a high altar and assume their anti-religious zeitgeist to be appalling, but that’s only because they assume they know what the proper morals of humanity are and anyone who goes against them is a terrible person. Most people also tend to assume religion is 100 % accurate and refuse to shake no matter how much logic is invested against it, and that’s why ‘progressive’ thinkers will always be remembered and criticized.
“Progressive” thinking is broken down into two separate types: stable and unstable. Healthy was like Einstein, who maintained religion and a normal way of actions while innovating in a very unknown field. Meanwhile, unhealthy people like De Sade chase hookers around hotel rooms with fire pokers. I don’t mean unhealthy as in mentally ill, I mean unhealthy as in socially ill. De Sade was who he was because of a turbulent childhood and no place to stay except with a lot of women; I suppose that’s how he wound up the pimp of Victorian France. Einstein had a very rooted and content lifestyle and he wound up being like most of the other people, only with a brain.
“Conservative” thinkers could be considered one in the same. You see these people handing out church fliers with the vacant empty look on their face that just screams childhood trauma. Reverend Coughlin, Nazis, and a majority of the middle ages were devoted to this kind of thinkers and if you thought differently you were burned at the stake. These are the people who “drink the kool-aid” (Mr. Shackett) and spoon the sugar out, too.
A majority of the world is “conservative” thinkers, and yes, there is unstable and stable versions of this, also. A stable conservative thinker tends to be a little calmer, generally accepts things as they are. What they say is what they are and they tend to carry more morals under their belt than molecules in the ocean. Conservative thinkers tend to be normal, angry people who take life as it is. These are the people you hear saying, “I’m not going to change the world, I’m just one guy”. Yes, these are the same people that don’t vote, don’t care about what’s going on, and assume that there is something after death that’s much better. These are people waiting to die.
Unstable conservative thinkers are the crackpots you see on the streets, the anti-Semites, the shakers, Jim Jones and his death cult. The people that kill their family to ensure they get into heaven. Although most people don’t look down upon ‘conservative’ thinkers quite as much as they do on ‘progressive’ thinkers, conservative thinkers have always been the ones to cause the most damage. Marquis De Sade killed no one. The crusaders and Nazis alike killed millions. Conservative thinking is dangerous, yet progressive thinking is ostracized. I suppose the idea behind thinking about thought is trying to be like Buddha and free yourself from extremes, but there will always be the person that sticks out in a good way, so it isn’t impossible. And that’s something to think about.