The following is a facetious reverie I utilize socially on occasion to illustrate the lunacy that we all wallow in occasionally. Bear with me. There is a point to it.
Wow, I woke up this morning and I suddenly realized that the moon is made out of cheese! Furthermore, I knew that this insight was profound and relevant to the entire world so I immediately began to formulate a plan whereby I could spread this very important insight.
I started by canvassing my neighborhood and though many refused to open the door, some laughed at me, there were a handful of people who, knowing how special and gifted I was to begin with, immediately said, “Hey, you have a point there! I’ve always had thoughts like that myself but didn’t have the courage to speak of them.”
So we began to meet regularly and started each meeting with an assessment of those in the neighborhood who had not “seen the light” and had so rudely refused the good news that we had brought. We took great comfort in the realization that most people cannot handle the truth, stubbornly keep their minds and hearts in the darkness, and refuse to allow enlightenment to enter. Often, as these meetings ended, we would be in tears as we lamented the fate of those who had stubbornly refused to acknowledge the truth that we offered.
I must make a long story short and summarize. This initial group did grow and at some point our initial band of seven faithful souls expanded to twenty-three. We formally organized and, of course, since I was the source of this inspiration I announced that I was the leader of the group…and also the treasurer…and that I was the final authority on some of the fine points about the moon being made out of cheese.
At this point, trouble started. One gentleman brought up the question, “Well, what kind of cheese is it?” I was a bit taken aback as I knew without a doubt that it was American cheese but another dared to suggest, “No, it is cheddar.” Still another affirmed that it was American cheese but argued that it was Velveeta. It took a lot of argument, and at times intense anger, but I managed to convince the second gentleman that the Velveeta notion was heresy and he agreed with me. But the cheddar proponent was adamant about his viewpoint, and convinced three others he was right, and they separated from our group and focused on developing a belief system around the moon being made out of cheddar cheese.
My point here with this lunacy is, once again, “Don’t believe everything you think.” Those who do, lacking the capacity to think critically, are subject to easily being influenced by a seductive and/or intimidating person. Whatever our “pet” thoughts are, it does not hurt in the least to subject them to a bit of critical thinking. I like T.S. Eliot’s observation on this note, encouraging us to, “live in the breakage, in the collapse of what was believed in as most certain and therefore the fittest for renunciation.” “Pet” thoughts that have value can withstand this type of scrutiny and even flourish as a result. This makes me think of something I read decades ago about how to make a poem, “Grab a word and pull on it.” Grabbing a word or a thought and “pulling on it” with critical thinking can help ferret out the value…if any…if the thinking. The less value in the vein of thought that grips one’s soul, the less likelihood that any critical thinking will be brought to bear upon it.
Each of us have passing thoughts. That is good. But we can be selective about which one’s we give any energy to and if it is something that tends to promote isolation, we might take pause. We might ask, “Do I really believe this?”