“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” So wrote Pascal nearly four-hundred years ago, yet his words have ne’er rang truer.
Man was born to think. This is what sets him apart from all other forms of life. He is made to raise above the merely natural things of this temporal and temporary world and contemplate the supernatural. We are made in God’s image–we are made to know, love, and serve Him. We have a supernatural end to which we must attain.
But how can we do any of these things if we never think? A man who is obsessed with the natural will never have time to contemplate the supernatural. A man who worships his passing life on this earth can never be blessed with an eternal life in heaven.
It is a matter of simple reason, then, that man must think. He must be able to sit quietly in a room alone with his thoughts if he ever desires to reach his full potential. In fact, he must be able to do this simple thing if he has any hope at all of saving his immortal soul.
St. Thomas teaches us that from the precepts of natural law (the eternal moral law as knowable by sound human reason), “human reason derives details of direction and order for conducting the affairs of life.” In other words, we must use our reasoning powers to discern the correct conduct in all affairs of life.
But how can a man do this if he doesn’t think!? When a man refuses to use his reasoning powers, he becomes like the beasts of the earth. He simply wonders about indulging every whim and caprice of his fallen and depraved nature. “If it feels good, do it” becomes his guiding principle. Like a good demon, he follows Satan’s only command: Do what thou wilt.
Contrast the above disaster with the reasonable man. He sits quietly in a room alone with his thoughts, and he uses his God-given reason to determine how he must live his life. He quickly deduces that his life is not his own; that he was made to serve a Higher Being; that this world is only his ship and not his home.
From the merely natural law he progresses to the eternal law, and happily discovers that God has revealed to us the supernatural truths of His kingdom. The reasonable man quickly and easily abandons his own will in favor of his infinitely wise Creator’s. He lives his earthly life in accordance with the Divine Will, and he enjoys everlasting happiness as he has attained to the supernatural end for which he was created.
This is way things are meant to be, but this is all too often not the way things are. Today, there is an active assault upon the thinking man. Our thoughts are manufactured for us, and our reason is replaced with liberalism (satanism). Hell has a good thing going here on earth, and Satan is awfully careful to ensure things stay this way.
Lest man realize his error and embrace his reason, Satan has created myriad distractions. Never is modern man permitted to sit quietly in a room alone with his thoughts for fear that he may discover the truth. Silence and solitude are Satan’s enemy, and he has done his best to do away with them. During every moment of his life, modern man must be distracted by something. T.V., movies, internet, music, social media, and all the rest are constantly employed as a means of distraction. Anything to keep a man from thinking.
(Even a simple shower is apparently not free from distraction, as an acquaintance recently revealed that he cranks his music above the sound of the shower. Incredible.)
In Dante’s famous Inferno, the horrendous and cacophonous sounds of hell are so great that they cause him to weep. These terrible sounds are a common theme among all commentators, and it seems they have made their way into the modern world. Almost nowhere can we find the peaceful silence or harmonious hymns that are the product of a well-ordered soul.
And this is the problem with modern man. He cannot think because he is surrounded by constant distraction. When man does not think, he does unreasonable things. Thankfully, the solution is simple. One must sit quietly in a room alone with his thoughts. He must explore the innermost depths of his immortal soul. If he does not like what he finds dwelling therein, he must acknowledge his problem and pray for a solution.
A popular radio talk show host recently expressed this idea when he asked his listeners how long they could drive in the car without listening to a thing. How long could they survive with just their thoughts? Were they peaceful enough to enjoy a kind of silent bliss, or where they so horrendous that attention quickly had to be diverted away?
Either way, the thinking man must be revived.
8 thoughts on “The Death of Thinking Man”
Tom, you have touched on a recurring theme in my own blog, which I started writing really just for practice (nobody reads it). Outside of spiritual reading I’m really interested in the history of ideas and especially of science. Based on my reading in these topics, I have begun to think that compared to the past, the way that we have come to treat our own consciousness, especially the power of memory and attention, is extremely peculiar and troubling.
I wrote one short article especially about this subject, which I hope you may find edifying. You can find it here: http://arboret.us/most-dangerous-drug.html
By the way, between What Catholics Believe and married life I’m sure that you’re quite busy, so I’m glad you’re finding time to keep writing!
How interesting. I never considered the assault on memory in this discussion. After reading your piece, I realized that I actually do repress my memory on a consistent basis under the pretext of saving room for other, more important things. I’ve just recently been thinking that information has never been less-valuable than it is today–since it’s so prevalent and easily accessible. I’ve been purposely not memorizing information because I can google anything at almost anytime. Huh.
I read your piece on the rosary, as well as some of your other work. It’s all fantastic of course. I look forward to the podcasts, and I plan to be a regular on your site. I’d like to pass the link around to a few interested parties if you don’t mind. Thanks for the kind words and your constant support! (BTW, I do plan to have FJ address your email about Francis and hermeticism on WCB sometime soon)
Please, feel free to pass it on. Looking forward to Father’s reply 🙂
Hey man, I was thinking you gave up the ghost.
Sent from my iPhone
Nah, I’ve just been busy stealing companies and what not… 😉
Tom Naegele, are you familiar with a man named Mark Dice?
No–I’ve heard he’s a YouTuber who promotes some conspiracy theories.
This is only half of the story. He exposes the severe lack of critical thinking that has taken place in our society in a lot of videos. Look up his 4th of July videos and it will be painfully obvious as to how many people do not know the truth about our nation’s founding. He says a lot of things that are not factually accurate so as to get people to correct him. Every wrong thing he says is deliberate, so, if you do watch any videos of his related to the 4th of July, see him telling wrong details, rest assured that he actually knows the facts about the significance of the 4th of July.