Poet Gene Derwood made this observation in the early 1960’s. I’m not for sure which “big thoughts” she was talking about but I know one that had us (I live in the United States) then was Communism and fear that the Communist threat was going to lead to our destruction. And since then I’ve seen “big thoughts” come and go and have learned to take all of them with a grain of salt, realizing that they are only “thoughts” or ideas.
Ideas are very powerful and are an essential part of what makes us human, probably the most essential part. But, like everything else we touch, we tend to corrupt our ability to think and pervert it into a means of controlling the world or at least vying to control the world. I have quoted Goethe often, “They call it reason, using light celestial, just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.” And when we allow our ideas to dominate us, and use them to seek to dominate others, we have suddenly become an ideologue. And ideologues are dangerous as if they are allowed to bring the poison in the heart to full fruition, they will kill in the interest of these ideas, even “noble” ideas. The best example is the Christian strategy in yesteryear of “encouraging” conversion at the point of a sword or the current Muslim extremist strategy of killing those that disagree with them.
We look at those two examples of ideological excess and shake our heads, taking smug comfort in realizing that we would never do anything like that. And most of us would not. However, we are all cherish our ideas and tend to take them too seriously, tending to take them as an end in themselves and failing to realize the wisdom in the Buddhist observation about words, “The finger pointing to the moon is not the moon.”
Of course, here I am talking about ya’ll as I am different and my ideas are more legitimate and not of the specious variety that you and the rest of the world are confined to. (wink, wink!) Seriously, here I use ideas to communicate but realize that these ideas are successful only if they reach willing ears and evoke some response from the heart. And that response might be “Wow, you are wonderful and brilliant and I’m gonna send you a lot of money real soon” which is the preferred response. (And, btw, I want gold bullion, no more of those damn rupees!) Or, the response might be quite contrary, something to the effect of, “Huh?????” or “Duhh” or “What the F___!” or “You are nuts!”
At this point in my life, here in the WP format and in my day to day life, I toss ideas out from time to time and appreciate the thoughtful responses I get. But I have no illusion that these ideas are of great “importance” or that anyone needs to believe them or agree with them. These ideas only reveal my perspective on the world and I do believe that this feeble, flawed, self-serving perspective has a certain importance in the universe though much less than I was taught as a child it might.
I must now turn off the spigot to this infinite wisdom and turn my attention to the enterprise which gives my life true meaning, continuing to work on constructing the world’s 17th largest ball of yarn in my back yard!