CREATION, CULTIVATION, AND DEVELOPMENT OF THOUGHT
By Promod Puri
Simple Thought: Infuse purity and ethics in thoughts, base karmas on those thoughts, and enjoy the fruits of those karmas.
Mahatma Gandhi says: thoughts become words, words become behavior, behavior becomes habits, habits become values, and values lead to destiny.
In the creation of words, behavior, habits, values, and destiny, the conception begins with a thought. It all dawns from this perception.
Since destiny is the consequence of thought, the latter itself is the consequence of our feelings, attitudes, knowledge, and experiences. All these factors instigate our cogitative faculties in creating thinking.
Thinking is a mental activity of the brain. And the thought is a product of thinking. Creation of one’s own thought, import of thought, and its acceptance or its rejection are all considered as thought. In other words, the act involved in these considerations is thought by itself.
Thought has multiple executions like establishing a reason, imagination, understanding, judgment, remembering, opinion, belief or just being conscious of time and place, etc.
Residency Of Thought
According to the biology of thought, its processing and transmission happen and develop in the nerve cells of the brain. These cells are called neurons. With a population of close to 100 billion, neurons while communicating with each other, receive, and deliver information. Neurons function along with trillions of synapses. The latter are connectors transmitting signals among neurons.
Thought in its natural formation resides in the chemistry of neuron cells. Neurons are “electrically excitable,” meaning their activity is driven by some energy.
While we can accept the purpose and operation of neurons and synapses, the biology of thought, however, does not relate itself to two basic questions: what triggers the birth of thought, and how it acquires its nature or character.
Seeking answer(s) to these two fundamental issues is consequential because, as we know thru Gandhi’s acknowledged quote that it is thought which impacts the destiny of an individual, family, community, nation, our world and perhaps the universe.
As far as the genesis of thought is concerned there are three hypotheses:
- Thinking is subconscious brain activity,
- Some unexplained biological process creates thinking,
- It is the conversion of energy particles into an object called thinking which shapes itself into thought.
As we ascertain, once thinking takes place by whatever open process, it becomes thought. Thinking is an activity which keeps on producing thoughts to generate execution, as well as begetting more thinking. And the process is activated by itself.
Neurons and synapses, are just the tools and carriers, collect thought for its retention, processing, and transmission to stimulate activity. Commands in the form of words are established, and the rest of the operation follows.
How Does Thought Acquire Its Distinctive Trait?
Thought generates action. Good thought generates good action, bad thought generates bad action. This elementary and simple statement leads us to explore how thought acquires its distinctive trait.
A supplementary question also arises. Can we regulate or manage thought? We need good and positive thoughts for our happiness and peace, which can ultimately promise peace and happiness in the world.
In this pursuit, we accept the fact that several environmental factors quite significantly influence the nature or behavior of thought. The established and consented values in a civil society, its rituals, customs, and traditions are some of the environments which cause for the sentiment of thought. Genetic factor also plays in drafting its blueprint. Moreover, thought generates and induces more thoughts.
Thoughts guide and maneuver our karmas. In return, karmas influence our thoughts, and the cycle continues.
Besides, environmental, genetic and karma factors which influence its creation and nature, our own inherent and acquired disciplines can influence the cultivation and development of thought.
These disciplines, including those driven by our individual moods and temperaments, are influenced by fundamental values of morality, nobility, and divinity.
We are told, to be honest, humble, and sincere, be considerate, and helpful to others, be merciful, forget and forgive, love fellow beings and care for the environments, including animals, plants, and nature. And everything else which is pious, pure, and morally firm.
We accept the truism and goodness of these universal principles. But do they provide an adept stimulant to our cogitative biology in creating and shaping our thoughts?
In theoretical and idealized state these ethical directives can steer our thoughts towards achieving the desired temperament we want for ourselves which impact the society as well. But the environment we live in, including the economic and health factors, render the divinity of the good messages as nonviable religious or scriptural preaching.
The devotee and the divinity are separated by pragmatics we face and accept in the real world. And the casualty is thought. It is molded and normalized to the adjustment of our environmental priorities.
A Resolution Worth A Thought
In our civilized and progressive world, the call of humanity seeks to re-evaluate each of our religions, rituals, customs, traditions, social and political institutions, including Left and Right isms, which impart values and behaviors impacting our environments.
This resolution is part of the evolution and management of civil society we live in. Evolution of civilization is natural as well as essential for the rational and intelligent creation of environments which influence our thoughts.
In this age of enlightenment, backed by technology and nurtured by the explosion of intellectual knowledge, we can independently seek the purity of thought and its management. In this quest, ripples generated are likely to create the waves which will impact the environment we live in.
In creating those environments, the infusion of ethics in thought is an earnest endeavor before we step on to the Gandhi’s destiny ladder.
And in that destiny, while revisiting and upgrading our religious, social, and political environments, lies peace and prosperity for humanity.