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  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007

    Default What is Traditional Thinking?

    What is Traditional Thinking?

    If we added to traditional thinking the abstract idea of change our world becomes tremendously complex. The way we manage the complexity is that we create; we create by introducing generalizations plus other abstractions.

    Philosopher, tycoon, philanthropist, author, and international political activist George Soros says in his book “The Age of Fallibility” that “Once it comes to generalizations, the more general they are, the more they simplify matters. This world is best conceived as a general equation in which the present is represented by one set of constants. Change the constants and the same equation will apply to all past and future situations…I shall call this the critical mode of thinking.”

    Soros identifies the traditional mode of thinking with an ‘organic society’. He further identifies the critical mode of thinking with the ‘open society’. Each society must find a means to deal with factors that do not conform to the will of the members of that society. In a traditional society, even though it focuses primarily on phenomena that are generally static, nature can be obdurate.

    In the traditional mode of thinking the central tenet is that things are as they have always been and the future will be likewise—thus they cannot be any other way. The status quo is fate and all we need do is learn that fate and to organize our lives in accordance. In such a world logic and argumentation has no place because there exists no alternatives.

    When we examine the nature of epistemology--what can we know and how can we know it--in such a mode of thinking we quickly illuminate the advantages and drawbacks. In such a society there is no bifurcation between thought and concrete reality. There exists only the objective relationship between knower and known. The validity of traditional truth is unquestioned; there can be no distinction between ideas and reality.

    Where a thing exists we give it a name. Without a name a thing does not exist. Only where abstraction exists do we give non-objects a name. In our modern reality we label many non-concrete things and thus arises the separation of reality and thoughts. The way things appear is the way things are; the traditional mode of thinking can penetrate no deeper.

    The traditional mode of thinking does not explain the world by cause and effect but everything performs in accordance with its nature. Because there is no distinction between the natural and supernatural and between reality and thought there arise no contradictions. The spirit of the tree is as real as the branch of the tree; past, present, and future melt into one time. Thinking fails to distinguish between thought and reality, truth and falsehood, social and naturals laws. Such is the world of traditional thought and the world of mythological thought.

    The traditional mode is very flexible as long as no alternatives are voiced, any new thing quickly becomes the traditional and as long as such a situation meets the needs of the people such a situation will continue to prevail.

    To comprehend the traditional mode we must hold in abeyance our ingrained habits of thought, especially our abstract concept of the individual. In a changeless society all is the Whole, the individual does not exist.

    The individual is an abstraction that does not exist whereas the Whole, which is in reality an abstraction, exists as a concrete concept for traditional thought. The unity expressed by the Whole is the unity much like an organism. The individuals in this society are like the organs of a creature; they cannot last if separated from the Whole. Society determines which function the individual plays in the society.

    The term “organic society” is used often to label this form of culture. When all is peaceful with no significant voices placing forth an alternative then this organic society exists in peace. In this organic society a human slave is no different from any other chattel. In a feudal society the land is more important than the landlord who derives his privileges from the fact that he holds the land.

    For 3000 years Egypt was an example such a society. This Egyptian society remained essentially unchanged until 50BC when Western society was led into a different mode of thinking by the Greeks and by Roman conquest.

    Are you satisfied with the traditional mode of thinking?

  2. #2
    Nips away your dignity Fluffywolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    9 sp/sx


    Ostriches make for good traditional thinkers.

    ...Traditional thinking gets us by, but doesn't make for those new paths the best free thinkers of the world has opened up for us. Traditional thinking is like instinctual behaviour strenghtened by reasonable thinking. So, the way I see it, the question we have to ask ourselves is; are we happy to stay as we are and only do do what we feel is right all the time. Or do we wish to make that 'leap of faith' every now and then to see what's on the other side of traditional thinking?

    I'm not against traditional thinking, but am thankful we do not have our freedom impaired by limiting ourselves to such an existance. I live for more. I live to see what's on the other side of that door.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    I think that our major problem is that our human sciences, i.e. knowledge about such matters as sociology, morality, and psychology, are not nearly sophisticated enough to manage our very sophisticated technology. If adults do not quickly become more intellectualy sophisticated our species will soon become toast.

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