Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chaos or Stagnation

Heidegger, as a philosopher, is indubitably a fan of meditative thinking. This is obvious from the reading. However, it is important to stress the importance and relevance of a healthy combination of both meditative and calculative thinking, because they both complement each other very nicely. While it is true that meditative can exist independent of calculative thinking, it would be of little use, as there would be no organization or structure for it to flow into the world and benefit society. On the other hand, calculative thinking cannot exist or at the very least progress without meditative thinking which is a very good reason for Heidegger to emphasize the latter.
It is important to not deviate from the combination of the two. When used in conjunction, they can perpetuate progress and fine tune anything in the world. However, overuse of either would surely have negative repercussions and should be avoided. Focusing too much on calculative thinking as a society would create a very stagnant, but orderly society, perhaps ripe for a totalitarian regime. Nothing new is introduced, people are encouraged to continue thinking within the preset parameters or not think at all, continuing the status quo and hiding any alternatives. Realistically, such a society cannot exist, as it is hard if not impossible to dictate human thought. In practice, the ones in power diminish the importance of meditative thinking and reduce it to indolence as to avoid the inevitable spring of ideas that are to arise out of it that are counter to the society’s current ideology.
Abusing meditative thinking and ignoring calculative thinking can also have fairly dire consequences. There would be no order or organization and the ideas produced or conclusions reached would not be able to be put into practice, as there would be no way of reproducing them. While the individuals would be very “enlightened,” society as a whole would be flirting with extinction. There would be no collective progress and nothing would function beyond the individual level. Hypothetically, not even communication would occur as it itself requires calculative thinking in that we must use a commonly accepted structure to communicate, we simply cannot meditate into expression successfully beyond a basic level.
I don’t know which is worse, but I do know that nothing can start without meditative thinking. Once that is initiated it is up to calculative thinking to commence and perpetuate the great ideas thought up within meditative thinking. While I agree that meditative thinking is important I would be hesitant to promote one over the other, as without a combination of the two, we would have chaos or stagnation, which are both equally terrible.


  1. I also feel that calculative and meditative thinking are crucial for the flow and progression of human thought. I really like how you make the make the distinction between the two and what they would be without the other. My biggest concern with the lack of calculative thinking would be the loss of factual information and common sense. Although common sense varies by person, there are certain things people do that are known universal. There would be a big concern with human function if there was no calculative thought.

  2. When I think to differ calculative thinking and meditative thinking, I cannot help but consider the later to be more important. Sure, without calculative thinking we wouldn't accomplish a lot of the things we have, but meditative thinking allows us to bring into the circle ideas, beliefs and feelings that aren't found in the calculative becasue we can't even define them. Meditative reasoning allows us to move forward, calculative thinking allows us to use what we've already discovered.


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