Reflections upon the “Thought Device”

Once having read a book titled Love, Chance, & Logic, a one Mr. Xem Julink proposed to himself that he would write an essay aimed at not only discussing the principle of efficacy in less-than-entirely-accessible metaphysical terms, as Kant did in The Critique of Pure Reason; but his essay would itself also serve as a demonstration of the conception he had in mind, that is to say, a thought device.

Of course we’ve all heard of the term literary device. And most of us believe we understand what this two-word term points toward, symbolizes, encapsulates, take your pick, because words matter as in a set of instructions or an incantation.

Julink, if nothing else a thoughtful man, believes that instruction coupled with indoctrination has distorted the human spirit, amplifying its war-like nature; for the human spirit was born more than 100,000 years ago when men and women appeared more like beasts than human beings, most of their skin bearing considerably more hair than now.

One hundred thousand years of evolution has done little to change our physiology apart from skin pigmentation, and the presence or absence of an eyelid fold. These are trivial structural superficialities, like the color or set of colors with which a house is painted.

And now one facet of the Human Spirit begins to show itself, this endless preoccupation with skin color and whether one is Hispanic, Asian, Polynesian, or Black; Caucasian, Indian, or Icelandic. The shape of our eyes and noses and the color of our skin, all superficial qualities, means almost everything and underlies almost every decision that over nine out of ten people do not only live by unconsciously or swear by with open conscious contempt for his or her fellow human being.

The cynical “perception is everything” is bantered about by Hollywood script-writers, journalists, and even speech writers for presidential candidates. This ignoble nostrum of the late 20th and early 21st Centuries has provided a clue as to the shape Julink’s current thought device will take.

Now, the course of thought happens to be a contrivance if what otherwise would be regarded as rarely-occurring or perhaps even unnatural pairs of actions or events close in time keep recurring over and over again, and because of this perceived recurrence, many will grant the esteemed law of cause and effect to such pairs. Take the near-simultaneous occurrence where action t is immediately followed by action u, which gives the impression David Hume so famously observed, that it would appear incontrovertible that t has caused u.

But how often is this done within our own minds? The sequence of electro-chemical impulses through a given set of neurons can justifiably be called linear; but neurons are amassed within a three-dimensional space enclosed within a skull. This is true of the lowly rat or snake as it is for all human beings.

Independent thought or reflection is never easy to achieve; and whenever this actually does occur, we say this new unique set of ideas is revolutionary, or at the very least innovative or even inventive. And this is the very essence, creativity itself, of the human spirit which all wish to and are capable of expressing within themselves . . . provided that a good deal of work is somehow cobbled into the achievement.