Learning, but not thinking…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s silly sounding words are ‘butter’ and ‘batter’.
Butter batter butter batter butter batter butter batter butter batter butter batter butter.

‘So, let me ask you a question…’
‘Are you a learner, or are you a thinker?’
‘Er… well, I don’t know. I have never actually thought about…’
‘Ah, perhaps you don’t do either?’
‘Sorry, no offence intended my dear human.’
‘Dear human?…’
‘Well, is there any difference? I mean, thinking and learning go hand in hand, don’t they?’
‘Ah, not necessarily my friend.’
‘Oh, so I’m your friend now am I?’
‘You see, thinking is much harder than learning, that’s why thinking isn’t very popular with people.’
‘Lots of people can manage a little bit of thinking, but they strongly resist going any further with it – it’s too hard… Bertrand Russell once said, Most people would rather die than think, most people do…
‘Have you thought about religion?’
‘Yes, you see, religion actively discourages thinking, but it does encourage learning – in fact learning lots and lots of things is an essential part of religion, it fills the brain up – the last thing that religious leaders want is for you to start actual thinking, you might begin to notice all the inconsistencies, gaping holes, and contradictions in the underlying creed.’
‘Suppose so…’
‘Thinking gives you perspective on stuff, it makes you ask pithy questions.’
‘Pithy ones?’
‘So… what other…?’
‘Oh alright.’
‘In the old days leaders used to be thinkers, Marx, Gandhi, chaps like that; now all the politicians are learners – they all go to posh schools and universities and learn lots and lots about politics and economics, and it encourages them to have a stab at it themselves later in life…’
‘But, as they have never bothered doing any thinking – they have no perspective on things outside their own little world – they get in power and just twiddle the military and economic knobs on their desks and hope for the best.’
‘Economic knobs?’
‘So who are the thinkers then?’
‘Well, scientists seem to be able to do a bit of thinking.’
‘I suppose so, but they do learn things as well.’
‘Of course, but they are trained to be critical and to question everything too.’
‘That’s why they often tap the politicians on the shoulder and say, ‘Excuse me, all your capitalism and economics is heating the planet up and poisoning the oceans…’
‘And what do the politicians reply?’
‘They say that they’ve ‘got it all in hand’.’
‘Hm…Hey, what about the arts?’
‘Well, there’s not a lot of thinking going on in the arts these days is there? Look at those old favourites classical music and jazz music; people study for years and years to learn how to play the music of the past really well, but nothing new has happened in either of those fields for half a century; they are trapped in a box of their own making.’
‘A musical box?’
‘Yes, and, the visual arts is all about money and the marketing of piss-poor ideas to an ignorant audience who have no idea what they should or shouldn’t like anyway… because?’
‘Because they don’t bother thinking about it… What about current pop music then?’
‘Need you ask?’
‘Oh right… You have a very bleak view of humanity, haven’t you?’
‘I suppose I have dear human.’
‘What would be your solution to all this?’
‘Teach kids to think, teach everyone to think, to question stuff and…’
‘By the way, what is your field of interest…’
‘Me? Oh, I’m a historian…’
‘What!?… A historian?… You are just a learner!… You, you, bloody charlatan!…’

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in art, brain, conversation, history, humour, information, learning, mind, people, reading, religion, surrealism, thinking, words and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Learning, but not thinking…

  1. When I was at university, one of my friends wanted to join the armed forces. She didn’t make the army, and later the feedback was that armed forces didn’t like history graduates because they questioned everything. The police weren’t so picky so she became a gun-toting police officer instead.

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