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The Horror of Rumination -- A Critique of Philosophizing

Updated: 2 days ago

(For more on my critique of philosophy, for bias reduction, click here).

Why Philosophers Need Breaks Too

To gain a complete understanding of any subject, we must delve beyond the surface. This includes critically examining the very ideas we hold dear. How can we ever hope to grasp the full picture if we only consider one side of the issue?

As a philosopher, I spend a lot of time ruminating. That is, engaging in deep contemplation. While this is a powerful tool for uncovering hidden insights, it can also be a double-edged sword.

The Perils of Perpetual Pondering

Let me tell you from personal experience: when your mind is constantly consumed by deep thoughts, or racing thoughts specifically, it can lead to stress, impatience, and even sleep disturbances. Because I hate sleeping, I entertain these thoughts with an open mind, no pun intended. Even when exhausted, my gears keep turning and I let them because I view ruthlessness as a virtue.

However, less rumination meant fewer mental resources expended, allowing for a much-needed mental break. I'd like to argue that the more we make perpetual pondering a habit, the more we can get used to deep thinking on a regular basis. That could be done by making lifelong learning a habit. Then, we wouldn't need to rest so much over thinking the deepest of thoughts.

Some might argue that with all this pondering, philosophy itself is a bit...well, pointless. After all, haven't we been grappling with the same big questions for millennia? Finding definitive answers to these classic questions feels like chasing an infinite horizon. To quote Paul Trejo:

Philosophy seems pointless to many readers because after 2,300 years of Western Philosophy, there is almost nothing that all philosophers agree upon.

It's a fair point. And yes, sometimes I do wonder if we're all just like Sisyphus, endlessly pushing that boulder of existential inquiry uphill, only for it to slide down again.

However, while I acknowledge the challenges, I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that philosophy is pointless. Otherwise, why would I, a self-proclaimed philosopher, create a blog with a dedicated succession plan for its continued existence? My work holds practical value, especially when it can help bring hope to people, the same as it brought to myself. Hence why I don't regret choosing philosophy as my purpose.

Training the Mind for the Long Run

Here's the key takeaway: Philosophers, like everyone else, are human. We have limited mental energy, and just like any athlete, our minds need rest to avoid burnout and those meddlesome sleepless nights. By improving my energy management skills, I can decrease the risk of a "Reaping Fatigue Era". So can you.

While it's okay to ponder the big questions, even us philosophers need to know when to take a break. That's the lesson I'm learning, and I hope I'll still manage to continue writing tons of articles and stay far away from kiling my time.

Mr. Nathan Lasher's Feedback

I just have some advice for not burning yourself out and being more productive with your minds. The brain is an amazing thing. Did you know that humans have abstract cognitions, which means you will still work things out in your mind even if you aren’t consciously aware of it?
So, learn something new, summarize how it can be used, than do something else which is a mindless activity for you. You never know when a random thing might make you think about a problem you’ve been trying to solve abstractly. 
So my suggestion is this: Plan your day out accordingly. Maybe dedicate certain times to really do the deep thinking. Then, settle yourself down before sleeping by listening to music or watching a television show or movie. Something that doesn’t involve you thinking at all. Let your thoughts just come and go as they please. Keep yourself [away] from intentionally thinking about something [and just relax].

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Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits.😎



Philosophy of Change

Change brings pain—again and again.

Pain brings suffering—uttering, muttering

Suffering brings tolerance—with much endurance.

Tolerance brings thinking—and good ideas linking.

Thinking brings knowledge—saves going to college.

Knowledge brings understanding—sensibility expanding.

 Understanding brings wisdom—and where it comes from.

And wisdom makes life bearable—happily declarable!


Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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