Archive for October 2012

Are You a Great Thinker?

October 25, 2012

Are You a Great Thinker?

By Steven J. Callis

Simply titled, “The Thinker,” this bronze statue was created by Auguste Rodin in 1902 as one of several characters in a gateway project at the door of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a museum in Paris, France.  It has become an internationally recognized symbol of meditation.

There have been great thinkers across the centuries, many of whom are studied in the textbooks of our high schools and colleges.  Were they really “great thinkers,” or did they rise to fame because of their thoughtful conclusions about a particular area of interest?  What is it that makes one a great thinker?

The ability to think is not based on intellect or levels of education.  Every person is a thinker, and there are many “great” thinkers whose conclusions never become famous.  Great thinkers do not always agree with one another on a particular topic, but the quality of their thoughts are not based on being right or wrong, rather on their convictions of truth.

Great thinkers are not swayed by popular opinion.  Believing they have discovered a truth, they choose to stand by that truth at any cost.  Great thinkers are not swayed by emotion.  Their desires and ambitions are held at bay by the truth they have discovered. Great thinkers invest time and energy to study, research, and experiment in their journey to a conclusion.  They consider the thoughts and studies of others rather than relying solely on their own instinct or intellect.

More succinctly, great thinkers are truth seekers and truth tellers.  Discovering and transmitting the truth is more important to them than fame, fortune, pride, and personal preference.  We all have been blessed with the powerful instrument of thought, and the freedom to express – and influence others – by those thoughts.

“The Thinker” reminds us that this freedom is not something to be taken lightly.  Every person has the capacity to be a great thinker.  Nevertheless, some persons are prone to make decisions, even major life-changing decisions, based on opinion or emotion or assumptions without working to personally discover the truth, or the best alternative in a choice.

Whether it involves a job promotion, making a major purchase, developing personal relationships, electing political officers, following a philosophy or religion – we have no excuse for ignoring the responsibility of thinking for ourselves in the quest for truth.  Let each of us assume personal responsibility for how we use this marvelous gift of thought.