Boston Bombers and the Danger of “Big Thoughts”

“Big Thoughts Have Got Us.” These words of the poet Gene Derwood come to my mind every time I hear of someone else getting carried away with his/her ideology and carrying it to the extreme of taking lives, their own and certainly those of others. I always remember the wisdom of Mike Dooley, “Thoughts are things. Choose the good ones.”

And they, thoughts, are “things” in that they carry weight and can lead us to actions that are not in our own best interest or in the best interest of others. And I am speaking from experience. Now it is easy to look at the ideology of the Boston Marathon bombers and say, “Oh, why did they ever think that and get carried away by it?” Well, that is a good question and there is lunacy in their thought system that is not present in the thought system of most of us. But all of us have “thoughts” and none of our “thoughts” are devoid of intent, noble though we may think them to be. For example, let me take the thought system of Christianity, a “thought system” which I subscribe to and do so ever more passionately. But the danger I face, and the danger that all Christians face, is that they take their “thoughts” as having ultimate value and fail to realize the emotional valence they have been given by our life experiences. Yes, most of us have “thought systems” which are relatively benign compared with the Boston bombers, but they are not totally benign. I, for one, am appalled to recall some of the things I have done and said under the guise of “the Spirit leading.” For, even with benign and even noble thoughts we can be brutal. Even with “Jesus Christ” we can seek to dominate, control, and brutalize other people.

Let me be more honest. I have had interchanges under this persona of “LiteraryLew” which I have had to confess to a few friends are mean-spirited, to put it mildly. And there will be more of that as I am a mere human, driven by passions which at times consume me. But, may I always be subject to Shakespeare’s “pauser reason” which will make me “meta” every now and then and seek to balance some of my verbal and emotional excess. For, with things we feel so strongly about we can be so brutal.



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