In chapter 2 we ended with a Goethean poetic discussion of the first inkling of the inner arising of thinking. “I can only reply that so far I have not been concerned with the results of scientific research of any kind, but simply to describe what everyone experiences in his/her own consciousness.” “To object that the above discussions have been unscientific would be like quarreling with the reciter of a poem for failing to accompany every line at once with aesthetic criticism.” In chapter 3 we use a method of science --introspective observation-- to analyze the thinking process, which “everyone” may not necessarily experience unless they make the effort.
What does it mean to think? Various views are given in Chapter 3 by observing thought itself. Which views do you agree with?
THINKING MEANS to think about an outer object
3-1 THINKING MEANS to observe things and events, and think about them. There is nothing exceptional about thinking, it is an everyday occurrence,
3-2 THINKING MEANS I am conscious, in the most positive way, that the concept of a thing is formed through my activity (effort).
3-3 THINKING MEANS I am absorbed in the object, my attention is fully turned on it. While my thinking contemplates the object, I pay no heed to my thinking activity.
THINKING MEANS to enter the inner realm of thought (pure thinking takes place in the conceptual realm)
3-4 THINKING MEANS I never observe my current thinking. My thinking contemplation is directed afterward on my past thought.
3-5 THINKING MEANS I observe my past thought processes because I know it more immediately and more intimately than any other process in the world. Just because it is my own creation I know the characteristic features of its course, the manner in which the process, in detail, takes place.
3-6 THINKING MEANS linking thought with thought. In linking thoughts I am guided by the content of the thoughts, not by the material processes in the brain.
3-7 THINKING MEANS I am absolutely certain, for I am the author of my thinking's existence. Whatever other origin it may have in addition, whether it come from God or from elsewhere, of one thing I am sure, that it exists in the sense that I myself produce it. I qualify my existence by the definite and self-sustaining content of my thought-activity.
3-8 THINKING MEANS I can remain within the realm of thought. What is hovering in the background is only thought, not something entirely different.
3-9 THINKING MEANS I create thoughts. Then I gain knowledge of what I have created. Were we to refrain from thinking until we had first gained knowledge of it, we would never think at all. We must resolutely think straight ahead, and then afterwards by introspective analysis gain knowledge of our thoughts.
3-10 THINKING MEANS our thoughts are self-supporting and self-subsisting. It is supported through itself, not through something else. Thought can be grasped by thought. The question is whether by thought we can also grasp something other than thought.
3-11 THINKING MEANS we have a firm basis for the understanding the world. But first we must look at thinking in a completely neutral way. Before other things can be understood, thinking must be understood.
3-12 THINKING MEANS we produce thoughts which are facts, and it is meaningless to speak of the truth or falsity of a fact. I can, at most, be in doubt as to whether this thought is rightly applied.