Emergencies and thought

People averse to deliberation and reflection love emergencies. They find emergencies everywhere — and if an emergency is nowhere to be seen, they see it anyway. Failing that, they will create an emergency where there was none.

These are not unintelligent people — they are often very clever within their domain of expertise — and this might be the problem. Conveniently, emergencies require just the kind of cleverness they have mastered, and preclude everything else.

They say “There is no time to think!” Why? Because there is always clear and present danger? Because they have so many responsibilities? Because  they are action-oriented and have no patience for people who just want to talk? No, I’ve watched what happens when things do calm down. They make an emergency of their entertainment. They schedule events to drive every peaceful minute out of their lives.

Fact is, they just don’t like thinking very much, especially when it involves the reconciliation of different perspectives. That is understandable. We have known for thousands of years that transcendence is dreadful and that the annoying babble of our neighbors is the primary vehicles of this dread. It is hard to acquire a taste for this sort of thing. They have not acquired this taste.

This does not make them bad people, but it is also not the sign of superior character they’d like it to be.


My belief is that the uncontrolled acceleration our lives, the universal intensification of anxiety, the state of perpetual emergency in every domain of life is caused by our collective distaste for serious thought.

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