It is not enough to have a good mind, the main thing is to use it well. – René Descartes
What does that mean?
This is a quote from the same guy who said that because he thought, he was (that he existed). He obviously thought he had good mind. And I would imagine he thought he used it well. Therefore he did use it well. At least that’s the way the logic works, right?
The quote says that a good mind is a great place to start, but that it is only a starting place. A good mind is the foundation on which to build. Someone with a defective or under-developed mind is going to have a rough time with the next part.
The quote continues by saying that once you have a foundation, you must build on it. You may have a good mind, but if you haven’t trained it and filled it with useful information, it’s not really all that useful, is it?
The quote urges us to learn how to use our mind, and use it well. That takes practice, and that takes time, effort, and the willingness to think. It might not be high on your priority list, but it does pay dividends, or at least I think so (therefore it is, for me).
Why is thinking important?
Um, let me think about that for a moment. If I couldn’t think, I guess I couldn’t answer, right? We think a lot. Some of us do it almost to a fault (of which I am quite guilty). For others, it is something saved for the most special of occasions.
Yes, it is easy to do what everyone else is doing. It’s easy to go with the crowd. It’s easy to be bold and contrary, and do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. But you will rarely get a better result than if you actually had a good mind, and used it well.
How many times has acting without thinking first caused you trouble? What about at school or work? How often can you just do something without thinking a little first? Yes, there are simple tasks which require little or no thought, but there are still times when thought is required, right?
What happens when you don’t think? Sometimes you get lucky and get away with it, but if you push your luck, it will eventually end badly. The more you use your mind, the better at it you become. And that is the whole point of the quote.
Where can I apply this in my life?
How long do you think you’d make it if you weren’t willing or able to think? Would you last a year, a week, or even a day? My job requires me to think constantly, so I get plenty of practice. How about you,
In fact, last night, just before I fell asleep, I finally figured out how to solve a particularly vexing issue at work. It involved doing something in a different order, which should make things much quicker and much easier.
We all have “Aha!” moments from time to time. The more you train your brain, the more often you tend to have them. Whether it’s waking up with a great idea in your head, or a dream which would make a great story (or song), you can train your mind to do these things.
With your muscles, you have to do something over and over to get good or to get strong. The mind follows a similar path. While you may never become a titled Grand Master in chess, you’ll probably never be a professional body builder either.
In either case, the point is to be the best you can manage. You get better at chess by playing games against a variety of opponents. You also have to notice what they did, and spend some time considering what you might do to counter it the next time someone tries it on you.
Similarly, if you want to get better at debate, find a club or group that specializes in spirited but friendly discussions. Practice until your mind becomes agile, and your vocabulary becomes fine tuned to the language of debates. Quick, what would it mean if someone called out “Second Affirmative”?
Thinking can be a hobby, it can be a way of life, and it can be everything in between. The choice is yours. The effort you are willing to put forth is a big part of what will help you find your level. Everything changes with time. What is the right amount today might not be proper next year.
Just remember, there are two kinds of people in the world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data… 8)
From: Twitter, @CarolinAramburo
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/renedescar100799.html
Photo by Elvert Barnes
- What the Hell is Philosophy? Part I: Descartes (theminordrag.wordpress.com)
- Thought of the day… (embracethecontradictions.wordpress.com)
- training my mind (postsfromthepath.com)