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Philosophy General philosophy: metaphysics, ethics, the Enlightenment, and the human experience.

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Old 04-11-2009, 10:47 PM   #1 (permalink)
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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?
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

Herd mentality, looking for a leader, because the opposite requires us to experience individuation, but that's rare.
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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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.
Straw man.
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:50 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

Ironically, to envision the world described in the OP requires almost a surrealist's thought-mode.

A good motto for the traditional man could be "Everything ought to be fine and, whatever changes occur, everything ought to stay that way." He does not seek change arbitrarily for its own sake but rather recognizes that it happens on its own-- thus he does not need to act to ensure change and does not compromise what is already fine in the environment. Taking on risk is not the same as seeking out risk.
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Old 04-12-2009, 12:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?


The big problem for me is trying to comprehend the major step that is made by the human species when abstract concepts begin to form. It is this ability to do abstract thinking that differentiates humans from our non human ancestors.
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Old 04-12-2009, 05:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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The big problem for me is trying to comprehend the major step that is made by the human species when abstract concepts begin to form. It is this ability to do abstract thinking that differentiates humans from our non human ancestors.
Us pond scum are very adaptable.
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Old 04-12-2009, 06:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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Originally Posted by coberst View Post
The big problem for me is trying to comprehend the major step that is made by the human species when abstract concepts begin to form. It is this ability to do abstract thinking that differentiates humans from our non human ancestors.

This is fitting to believe when its already believed that we have non-human ancestors. There is a difference between thought that is limited to rationalism and thought that includes, but also goes beyond rationalism.
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Old 04-12-2009, 07:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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Us pond scum are very adaptable.
Tongue firmly in cheek.
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Old 04-13-2009, 01:11 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

Thales, who lived around 625 BC, is called the ‘first philosopher and the first scientist’. He is considered to be the first thinker to propose a single universal principle of the material universe, “a unique substratum that, itself unchanging, underlay all change.” When we think about this problem of comprehending change we recognize that there must exist something that is essential to change that remains unchanged.

When we look around us we are struck with the fact that things constantly change. Thales is said to have asked the important question does everything change or is there something that remains unchanged? If there is not something that remains unchanged then how can we recognize anything as being what it was before change? We recognize continuity as well as change. Even when we recognize that something changed appearance we are confident that something remains of the original source. Is there one primordial thing that never changes?

The questions and answers developed by Thales are extremely important because for the first time we observe a human not resorting to animistic answers for that which is observed. He did not settle for the answer “I do not understand so it must be just the nature of the gods made it happen”. He also followed a new human inclination to believe that the mind is capable of comprehending what happens in the world. Philosophy was born.
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Old 04-13-2009, 02:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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Philosophy was born.
And is that not, from then on, a tradition, a way of thinking?

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Old 04-13-2009, 04:24 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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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.

It depends on the tradition and why you do it. Take transubstantiation dogma for an example. It says something like; just because you eat bread and drink wine during ceremony it changes into literal blood and flesh of someone else and that person is automatically present because of a ceremony in doing that. Not only does science nullify that centuries of traditional thinking but it is also an absurd superstition type of thought. While turning rocks into bread was also figurative speech...and, there is nothing there that mandates anyone to make a ritual ceremony out of doing it, other than when you do it, think of me.

On the other hand the traditional thought of eat bread and drink wine in rememberance of that individual or to anticipate some kind of blessing through humility or love, or whatever, whenever you do it so that you do not forget the person is a bit more reasonable in a traditional thought...

While the presence of something divine may be there for some to experience, it does not mean or prove that it will be there for everyone just because they do it (as in the herding mentality). A traditional thought while doing it because it is a pretty thing in repitition becomes no different than brushing your teeth regardless of how often you do it. I am not sure if that is what the OP is really about, but this is in general and some examples of what I get from the OP in a religious dogmatic POV. While understanding philosophy and theology are the same idea and are terms applying to different subjects to bring comprehension. One might call it a science of truth? or a science of wisdom?, as bogus and goofy as that sounds and may very well be, especially when we cannot distinguish literal speech from figurative speech, and doing it out of remembrance verses mandatory vain repititions while yawning through the ceremony -thus the above examples.
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Old 04-13-2009, 04:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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Originally Posted by coberst View Post

Are you satisfied with the traditional mode of thinking?
Fortunately for me, I was never trained to think that way.

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In a changeless society all is the Whole, the individual does not exist.

An interesting statement and I enjoyed your opening post.
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Old 04-13-2009, 07:22 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

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Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
And is that not, from then on, a tradition, a way of thinking?

Thomas
Traditional thinking in this post is considered to be the type of thinking before humans began to do abstract thinking. In one sense traditional thinking can be thinking that has been customary for the last few decades.
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Old 04-13-2009, 08:01 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: What is Traditional Thinking?

There is no way of traditional feeling. Unless it's through the female. Men had to "tough it up!" so as not to encourage unity, oneness, divinity, love or sanity. There, a big deep breath of fresh air... How traditional is that? It's not a question, it's a feeling. Poor boys.
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