Thursday, June 07, 2007

To Think is to Differ

Sent this piece in as part of my application for a consulting job with a Nigerian consulting firm in April 2005 (hadn't even started my NYSC then...) We were asked to send in our CVs, along with a one-page essay on "to think is to differ".

I never heard from them, he he he...

Whad'ya think about it? Tries to sound over-learned?

(c) Omo Alagbede, 2005

What progress individuals could make, and what progress the world would make, if thinking were given proper consideration!
- Thomas Edison

To think is to differ.

The above equates Thinking and Thought with Difference, with Change, with a shift of Paradigm. Probably the biggest distinguishing factor between man and animal is the ability to think, to ponder, to take a thing/concept/idea and roll it around on the floor of a mental Gymnasium and come up with new perspectives and alternatives. That is probably why Thinking doesn’t show up in the List of Functions of All Living Things – MR. NIGER – Movement, Respiration, Nutrition, Growth, Excretion etc.

Thinking is the sole preserve of the Homo Sapiens.

To think is to toss around, to examine, to question, to challenge, to view from a succession of differing viewpoints all in the quest to see a fuller picture. To think is to refuse to accept at face value, to be skeptical of the status quo. Thomas Edison, the American inventor, links progress to thinking. In his words “By developing [our] thinking powers [we] expand the capacity of [our] brain and attain new abilities.” He considered Thinking to be the true labor and not Sweating. He had the following quotation by Sir Joshua Reynolds hung in every room of his laboratory:

There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labor of thinking.

What more proof of the indispensability of Thinking to Progress can we find than in the immense successes of Edison in the area of Creative Prowess?

To think is to differ. When we think, and allow our brains to function uninhibited, we are far more likely than a majority of the population to discover what has not been discovered; what is different. It has been said that the true definition of insanity is “doing the same thing and expecting different results.” Thinking helps us to avoid doing the “same thing”. We are more likely to find proof of why we should move in a different direction than the majority of the population – who are satisfied with living according to “cut-and-dried” traditions and norms and would prefer to exist and function through life in “auto-pilot, don’t-raise-dust” mood.

Virtually every great person and entity has, throughout history, had to plough on in a direction different from the norm, and endure mockery and opposition, in order to achieve what they achieved. The only way to discover this “different direction” has been – and still remains – to Think, to throw every possible option open to questioning and challenge, and consider even the seemingly “crazy” idea.

To think is to differ. To think is to Think. There’s no alternative.