A few nights earlier, we had a very long and passionate albeit circuitous and repetitive debate, which ended only because we were too drunk and tired to go on. Which is to say; that I’m pretty sure this has happened across ages and will continue to happen whenever a set of conscious people come together.
The great debate on thought vs action.
The question of whether action is greater or thought? itself is flawed. It inherently wants to put one over the other, so that it can be put on a pedestal and eulogized.
I believe this argument stems from the fact that humans have over the years lost the capacity to view the bigger picture and tend to treat issues/beliefs/views as binary objects. 0 or 1? Good or Bad? Black or White? Intellect or Emotion?
Well, life/nature/universe isn’t so simplistic. It is a complex jungle of ambiguity and interdependence and that is what makes it so intriguing, so beautiful, at least I think so.
Now, I am not going tell you something that you don’t already know, I only hope to bring to the surface few things that have been pushed under the eyeline by the trappings of the modern world.
Why is balancing thought and action a challenge for many people? Why don’t they see it as manifestations of the same need to fill a void? One is a mental action; the other is a physical one.
I believe that “pure thinkers” think that thinking is doing. They think that the act of thinking and “learning” is moving them closer to their end goal when in fact only thinking is blocking their “progress”. While thinkers know that they have to eventually “do” in order to reach their goals, they think that the act of thinking always precedes the act of doing.
Similarly “pure doers” give emphasis to the process rather than the plan/objective. An approach that is fraught with danger and can be best exemplified by governments and govt. style thinking, for instance the PDS.
In reality, the act of thinking and the act of doing are inter-related and share a symbiotic relationship. Thought and action are more similar than they are different. I think the feeling of imbalance between thought and action is itself a symptom of a greater internal in-congruence
How much time should you spend thinking vs. doing? Where’s the point of balance between analysis paralysis on the thinking side and excessive impulsiveness on the action side?
There are no set rules or measures. It should suffice to know that both are equally essential.
While I was trying to see what other people feel on this issue, I found these lines on a blog.
A professor once said to me that “thoughts” do not truly exist until they are articulated, through some form of expression.
Accordingly – if there is no action to express a thought through a medium of exchange, then there is no thought, and by extension, no actual thought.
So what does this mean for artists?
To answer this, I think it is important to examine the purpose of art and the role of an artist (an issue that I’m not entirely qualified to comment on and something that itself could lead a plethora of doctoral thesis, but for the purpose of this post, let me try and present a crisp answer)
Art critiques the society we live in, exposes the lacunae in our current social structures and systems, preserves a few moments in our history. It evolves. It also shapes the future.
Artists, observe, internalize, interpret, promote and essentially create.
So an artist cannot exist if he doesn’t think. His is ‘astitva’ is in creating i.e. doing. One isn’t greater than the other. One cannot exist if the other doesn’t