An Argument For Living The Inner Life Without Your Own Thoughts
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
We have a very different take, now, on the allure of the forest. It comes from the commentator Andrei Codrescu, who sought refuge in the woods of the Ozarks and found blissful silence.
ANDREI CODRESCU: You probably haven't heard me in a while because I haven't heard myself in a while. You've heard the sage advice to keep your thoughts to yourself. But I decided to go a step farther and tell my thoughts to keep themselves to themselves, so that not even I - the host of these unknown thoughts - would have an inkling as to what they are. It's a wonderful discipline. It's like the silence of a silent monk, times two.
I don't miss my thoughts. Whatever they are thinking in there, hidden from my awareness, don't harm me and no one else - far as I can tell. If an unbidden thought makes its way to me through some unsealed crack, I shove it back with a whack of the ax.
I've chopped a lot of wood this week. It's been cold, and we need wood for the woodstove. The rhythmic exercise is a wonderful thought suppressant.
I don't hold much with people who accuse other people of not thinking, as if that was some kind of crime. All I have to do is point to my hillock of split wood that will keep the house warm for a month. What's more satisfying - thinking and freezing to death, or being warm and not thinking?
I'm not cheating, either. I'm not on Facebook or in any other face, so I can't even pretend that I'm not thinking because other people are doing all my thinking for me.
I don't read or listen to opinion pieces, either. Everyone with Wi-Fi is an opinion maker these days. There are a lot more opinions than people now, which just about fills humanity's total mental space with opinions.
It used to be that there were two, three, maybe four different opinions for a single item of news. Now, there are millions - maybe billions - of opinions on every puny news item. In fact, most opinion makers don't need any news to have opinions about something. They just have them, and if there is no news to base them on, they make it up. News made up by opinions looks just like news, only they aren't in the first-person.
I chop wood. I also do other things to keep thoughts from finding themselves or, God forbid, say themselves out loud. But I won't say what they are. People might opinionate and go blogging on them.
CORNISH: Commentator Andrei Codrescu lives in the Arkansas Ozarks, near the Buffalo River.
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