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brownlemur's avatar

Do our thoughts become us?

Asked by brownlemur (4081points) March 20th, 2008

Sometimes I think that if others could actually hear my thoughts they would look at me as a completely different person. (Probably in a negative light.)

Do you believe that we are manifestations of our thoughts and ideas, or is it more complicated than that? For example, if someone asks me to look at his baby pictures, I might be thinking, “Oh, great…more boring pictures,” but I might look at them and be genuinely interested.

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14 Answers

oneye1's avatar

the bible says we are as we think and Jesus said if you hate your brother your the same as a murder

brownlemur's avatar

Yes, but what do you think?

trainerboy's avatar

For the most part, our thoughts reveal us. They reveal what is really going on inside.

oneye1's avatar

I beleive its if I tell myself I’m never going to be able to do this or that I’m going to not even try most times mean I have become what I think

Riser's avatar

Excellent question Brownlemur. I believe our thoughts can evolve into actions that externally reveal our character, however it still requires a conscience element in us to make the decision in the first place therefore I believe it’s similar to “art imitates life, life imitates art.” Our thoughts imitate who we are and we imitate our thoughts.

SCP's avatar

interesting subject you have brought up. The decision we make wether through actions or words really defines us externally in this world. Its your decision to express yourself to certain degrees to others. This is why some may think of you different than others.

aaronblohowiak's avatar

@brownlemur: when considering the topic of “our thoughts” i think it is important to make some distinctions. first, not all thoughts are really the same type of entity. For instance, some thoughts are judgments “this is a threat, this is nurishment” some thoughts are perceptions “that is green, that is hot”, some thoughts are memories, some are internal dialogue about how we relate to the world (including the speculation about others..) and some thoughts are what i’ll call “basic drive” (bodily processes, if you will.)

now, some of these thoughts play a greater role in what we are. notably, the sense of “i” has very little to do with weather or not that pillow is soft or smooth or red or purple or maroon or is it more of a rust…indeed the thoughts that tend to mold us are those thoughts concerning how we relate to our world.

how we relate to the world breaks down into two things: our model of the world and our value system.

our model of the world breaks down into direct perceptions and assumptions (some people might say beliefs, but that is a sticky word, so i will stick with assumption. anything you can’t experience via direct sensory input, we’ll call an assumption.) You may assume things like, say, general relativity, gravity, the intention behind that note your boss sent you, the fact that your land lady expects the rent. we’re constantly making assumptions about our world based on our perceptions. any programmer will tell you, your code is only as good as your assumptions.

In a lot of ways, it is more the assumptions we make about our world than our perceptions of the world that effect who we are. If i use perceptions to extrapolate big assumptions, i am (artificially) expanding my model of the world. when your model of the world and the world itself are out of sync, you make bad decisions (or make good decisions by chance and the whimsy of chance.) So, your assumptions do matter because they inform your decisions about the world and make up most of how you think about the world (you cannot purely rely on sensory input and function in modern could not have any faith in communication whatsoever, for example.)

A bad assumption that you’re convinced of can be quite costly (as we tend to fit new information into our existing worldview instead of challenging our worldview in light of new information.)

Our value system is the complex graph of ideals and judgments; favoring some things and disliking others. Our value system influences and is influenced by the assumptions we make. Our value system is reflected in our actions and our emotions, as you can witness right here on the site after getting to know some of the regulars.

So, our assumptions are manifest in our decisions and our value system is manifest in our decisions and our emotions. Through our decisions and emotions, people perceive us and create a model of us in their minds.

So, to finally get to your question… Yes! Our thoughts do become us! What we are is defined by the decisions we make based on our assumptions and our value systems.

Now, if you have a thought but it doesn’t really reflect your model of the world or you are doubtful of its correctness enough to not let it be the deciding factor in a given situation, then you may disregard that thought. As my brother says: you can chew on a thought without swallowing it.

Part of being a free thinker is having lots of thoughts. Some of more merit than others. The difference between correctness and depravity is not a lack of deranged thoughts but a failure to recognize and treat them as such.

I apologize for the length of this post, i dont have the time to make it short.

Vincentt's avatar

> Sometimes I think that if others could actually hear my thoughts they would look at me as a completely different person.

I’ve experienced this myself (in a positive light, however).

I used to be a quite introvert person due to some problems with the friend of my mother, however, he left. A few weeks ago, a year after he left, I wrote down my thoughts on the whole experience on a personal blog, which received a lot of positive replies from the people I know.

With that out of the way, people knew what was going on inside me and why I’d become more sociable – which, in turn, allowed me to really be more sociable. My life has changed drastically in the past weeks, and it’s awesome :)

gooch's avatar

I think most of us hide our true thoughts. I do. Do y’all?

El_Cadejo's avatar

@gooch I try to be as open as i can with people, but ill admit i do hide some of my true thoughts and feelings sometimes.

spendy's avatar

If any of you have yet to read A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, do so at your earliest convenience. Quite the appropriate answer to this question, IMO. It’s an answer that will take about 10 hours to read, but worth the time.

onesecondregrets's avatar

Look into the Secret, and the law of attraction. I believe our thoughts do create things in our life. Positive thoughts manifest positive things, negative thoughts manifest negative things..if you think something positive and it doesn’t result in something didn’t BELIEVE in what you thought. More often we BELIEVE our negative thoughts more than our positive thoughts, therefore more negative things tend to happen. But if you believe in your thoughts when you think in a positive way..well you’d be surprised what happens.

DariaCano87's avatar

I think that at times we do become our thoughts.If someone asks you a question,you may think negatively in the beginning but then after thinking about it for a little while,you may actually really get interested in it.At other times though,we are able to seperate ourselves from our thoughts which I believe is a really good thing.

wickedbetty's avatar

I believe it will be by our thoughts that we are ultimately judged by.

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