When a person sincerely loves other people, one never truly thinks of duty or responsibility. Duty and responsibility have been put in place to offset thoughtlessness. When a person strictly conforms to doctrine, economic theory, the “party line”, or social norms, we have a person who exists by thoughtlessness.
It seems that most people don’t question the loss of life of thousands of innocent fellow humans in places like Syria, Afghanistan, or Ethiopia. Our leaders and the commentators who agree with them encourage us to think of the deaths as collatoral damage. The deaths of non-combatants are supposedly acceptable prices to pay. We have people who are just following orders.
The question that rarely comes up is, “For what is humanity paying with such monsterous costs?” We have only a vague, nationalistic, patriotic idea about why our nations engage in such wars. We read and hear news stories about death and destruction every day and most of us give little thought about them. They have become commonplace. We might say to ourselves, “Oh well, the world is a cruel place.”
I remember once hearing, on a radio talk show, that civilization is a ship of fools headed towards a one-way destination of catastrophe and annihilation. Its many captains are thoughtless idiots who all believe it is unsinkable.
It’s easy to point our fingers at the Vladimir Putins and Donald Trumps of society. What kind of world would we have if they had been taught the lessons of selflessness and compassion? What kind of world would we have if the people who allowed such persons as the Putins and Trumps to rule had been more cognitivly aware?
In place of thoughtlessness, we could practice cognitive awareness. That is the joint spiritual and logical comprehensive wisdom of people and society that comes about through observation and deep contemplation of our thoughts and actions. This concise knowledge and thoughtfulness would apply to all aspects of public and private life.
We rightfully recoil in horror at the news of such tragedies as Sandy Hook at Newton, Connecticut or The Pulse in Orlando, Florida. These horrific crimes were not committed by cognitively aware, compassionate individuals. Why doesn’t society react with as much or more outrage when dozens of women and children are wounded and killed in a drone attack?
Thoughtlessness in criminal behavior, such as a lack of empathy, sympathy, and thoughtfulness is rightfully punished with severe penalties such as incarceration of armed robbers and murderers. If decent, civilized people understand not only that violent crime is wrong, but why it is wrong, then why do so many “decent” people believe it is OK to persecute and oppress people who are not like themselves?
Without true thoughtfulness coupled with critical thinking, we become a society of automatons who just obey dogma and orders. This is why it is vitally important to have ongoing instruction in critical thinking. We need to go beyond the multiple-choice quizzes that do not challenge our intellects and inquiring abilities. Without cognitive awareness, western democracy is doomed. Individual and collective thoughtlessness can only lead to greater, more horrific evil.