The Nature of Thought

Thought is the intellectual process of digesting personal experience, acquired knowledge and the ideas of others; it is through this process that we develop our sense of self, including the convictions and philosophy that govern our life.  Though many other animals are capable of learned behavior, none seem to share our capacity for complex thought.

Of course, thought does not necessarily lead to truth.  While our personal experience is unimpeachable, the quality of our knowledge depends upon its source and the ideas of others may have little or no foundation in reality.  Fortunately, if exercised, thought allows us to sift through these sources of information, weighing their value in the context of one another.

Our capacity for thought may be impaired by brain injury but its process is more often corrupted by trusted individuals who strive to influence our life.  The latter is especially prevalent during our formative years when we are most receptive to the ideas of parents, family members, friends and other authority figures (teachers, ministers, community leaders, etc.).  As adults, we possess the intellectual freedom to formulate our own ideas, discarding ingrained convictions and assumptions that no longer fit our changing view of life and our place in the Universe.