On thinking (series: notes to myself)
The rite begins with the search for silence. Not the absence of sounds. No. Mental silence. That powerful quietude that silences the world. On an airplane or at a meeting, it does not matter. If you know how to create that mental silence, the world may be screaming at you, and you would still not hear it.
Once open, your mental silence is where ideas can overcome their shyness and begin to whisper, ever so gently. You left sweet readings to attract them, tempting conversations to make them feel at home, comfortable bits of learning so that they can rest. They may accept your invitation, if you are gentle.
The sharp ear must be patient. Whitish lights appear in the grey area prepared to welcome them. You have to let the fragile points become luminous lines of significance and consequence. They may leave at the smallest sign of impatience. No abrupt movement of reason, no logical shouting. You may invite ideas, but you can’t force them.
If you are lucky, they timidly test the safety and friendliness of the space. A little encouragement and some tiny ideas merge into one, like drops attracting each other. They call others to join them, reassuringly.
More careful rearrangements of the space. Perhaps a slight rotation, maybe a few strokes, or some repartitioning, and an arrow, linking two thoughts, unrelated until yesterday, comes to be. Wait longer, more mental silence. The outline of an architecture appears to be shaping up. Bright whites against the grey. Distant, tiny ideas, feeble like old stars, murmur to each other from afar.
Distinctions emerge, and then become more clear-cut. Unseen connections decide to join, sharper. The problems are reformulated. The solutions, now emboldened, insist on being heard. They won’t stop until you pay attention. It is exhilarating. Chemistry must be playing some tricks because the process accelerates, in an escalation of bright fusions and fissions. Now, too many dots are popping up everywhere. And it’s all lines and shapes, and fast-evolving networks.
Thoughts no longer speak, now they dance, and it’s the dance that makes the music you know well but cannot quite recognise. And you travel inside constructs, visiting peaks and valleys, looking at warm lights and fantastic horizons of more intellectual architectures, questions you had not understood before, obvious points that never had crossed your mind, old references you thought you had forgotten. And faster, even faster, speeding up and then slowing down, stopping at crucial points, flying high on irrelevances, with mighty wings that seem indefatigable.
And finally, to be still, watching breathless where you’ve been and where you could still go. But it's time to say goodbye, to leave the place of silence and go back to the noise.
It is time to write down what you saw.