Robert Pound: “The Way He Thought Was Slower and Deeper.”
New York Times April 20, 2010 page A-17. Obituaries: “[Robert Pound, the physicist,] did not strike you immediately as being brilliant” said David Griesinger, one of his students. “The way he thought was slower and deeper.” This insight into his way of thinking helps me understand the way I think.
I remember in Cincinnati working inner-city ministry, we did not try to be fast thinkers and talkers, like the cerebral university types. The point was to slow our thinking in order to also comprehend and account for our emotions. Like, does every thought contain a feeling and does every feeling contain a thought? How does that relate to Spinoza who calls a feeling an inadequate idea? Or to Bergson with the question, does that refer to a primary or secondary feeling? The latter is reactive while the former can initiate a work of art and can produce thoughts, actions, and a whole career in a person’s life. Obviously, that kind of a feeling does more than just contain a thought.
Detaching one’s thinking from one’s feelings gives flight to one’s ideas, which brings some gain, but what becomes lost? Relinquishing the feelings, subtracts the “emotions,” out of which the motion for motivations and actions – personal and movements – social derive. Thus Plato’s chariot remains cerebral, spinning its wheels, if detached from its horses. So hold your horses: hold your feelings in your thoughts and your thoughts inside your feelings. That way of thinking is slower and deeper.