Thinking About Thinking

My head is a weird place - oh, it's weird enough just by virtue of sitting on top of my neck, but what goes on inside it is even weirder. I spin wild, ludicrous stories there, fragments of ideas and scenarios flashing into my head. Memories, breaths of memories, touch the surface of my mind. One did so last night, as I went to bed...I remembered an English lesson, one we'd had last term, I think, a group discussion.

I fucking hate those things. Not because I hate discussing things, but because I hate groups - there's nothing quite like a committee of stupid, uninformed people for obstructing progress. And there are a lot of stupid, uninformed opinions flying around.

We tried having an open discussion, I remember, where everyone was equal and we were left to self-govern. Nothing happened. Nobody wanted to discuss anything, so the teacher loudly and proudly crowed that we needed a leader, and promptly appointed someone to exercise this role. I countered that if we'd had a better sense of community, we might have got more done - to which the answer was some canned bullshit or other about how you can't always work with people you want to work with.

On reflection, in my tired and warped mind, I chanced upon something else: none of us had, to borrow a phrase I detest for being dryly corporatese, showed any initiative whatsoever. None of us had gotten off our lazy, fat, overprivileged arses and decided to do something. And I have a niggling suspicion that it was due to our education and upbringing. I'm not smart, but I am observant enough to see that qualities such as unquestioning obedience are rebellion and defiance, not so much, let alone independent thinking and trying to grow as a person. They aren't taught or encouraged anymore. That's fine when the only purposes of education are to create jobseekers that can get by in life for a bit and obedient followers - which increasingly seem to be the only purposes, and this is something I don't say with joy since I have an academic streak - but what if people needed to grow, needed to become independent thinkers? What if people needed to stand up and help others because society required it? I'm not a fan of coddling and "security"; I much prefer freedom and in particular autonomy. If that means I have to take more responsibility instead of lounging around passively, so be it. I'd much rather put in the work to shape my own life than let someone else dictate it for me. And believe me, I'm lazy!

A better society is possible. To deny that is to deny the ingenuity of humanity, to deny history, to deny the signs and starting points that are all around us if we just think hard enough. I'm not saying that if we work really hard this better society will magically appear - I've pinned the tatters of my hopes on revolution - but I'm saying that this better, freer society will require more hard work, and if only we could think more independently we might just have a better change of bringing it about and preparing ourselves for it.