Thinking

A Taoist sage once wrote that “thinking is merely one way of musing.” Tightly controlled thought remains but a trickle in the daily stream of thoughts flowing through the psyche. Most of the time, the background mind muses with a soft undercurrent that quietly sorts things out, gently putting things together and taking them apart. We do our best thinking when sitting before the fireplace on a crisp winter night or lying on the grass on a balmy spring day. That’s when our minds are most fully engaged, when we are musing.

Computer-guided questions sharpen thinking at the interface, but sharpness is not all. A more relaxed and natural state of mind, according to Siu, a Taoist, increases mental openness and allows things to emerge unplanned and unexpected. Rather then sharpen the determined will, we must preserve a state of no-mind in which our attention moves free of the constricted aims of consciousness. The musing mind operates on a plane more sensitive and more complex than that of consciously controlled thought. Musing is not wild in the sense of wanton but wild in the sense of flowing, unforced, and unboundedly fruitful. Thinking itself happens only when we suspend the inner musings of the mind long enough to favour a momentary precision, and even then thinking belongs to musing as a subset of our creating mind.

Pages 23-24, The Metaphysics of Virtual Reality, © Michael Heim, 1996

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