Means between Extremes: Ignorant Action vs. Pure Contemplation

Jun 12, 2014 by

Aristotle advocated the belief that many right actions are a means between extremes.  Here I take a set of extremes and analyze why it is that they are an extreme and what the flaws with the action are.  I then analyze the means between the extremes.  I will try to show where the middle ground between the two generally is.  Today, I will be looking at:

Ignorant Action vs. Pure Contemplation

Ignorant action is action without thought.

Ignorant action is action without thought.

Ignorant Action

Ignorant Action is acting without knowledge or thought.  Ignorant Actions is like what happens when you get behind the wheel of a car when you have been drinking a bit too much.  You start to drive because you know you need to do something, but you aren’t really in the right state of mind to act.  In the end you end up harming yourself and others.  Ignorant action is the mental process of believing that you need to do something without actually thinking about what you need to do or if you should do anything at all.  Ignorant Action is the doing something without actually thinking about whether or not it Should be done.  Congress is a great example of this extreme.

Pure Contemplation

Pure Contemplation is thinking about what needs to be done without actually doing anything.  Pure Contemplation is like what happens when you are sitting at home and thinking about what you need to do.  I need to change the oil, mow the lawn, repair the sprinkler, visit my mom, and all of those small tasks you think about but never get to.  It is what happens when you procrastinate.  You know that you need to get that project done.  You know exactly what you need to research, how the project is going to look, everything about the thinking process is complete, yet you put it off.  Pure contemplation is an excess of thought without any action.  It is knowing that you Should without actually doing it.

Reason is well-thought action.

Reason is well-thought action.

Reason

Reason is well-thought action.  Reason is like what happens when you are going out for drinks with friends and you designate a driver ahead of time.  Reason is like when you find a get directions to where you are going before you start driving there.  Reason is like the signing of the Deceleration of Independence.  It is the thinking and knowledge that we possess certain inalienable rights, and that the violation of these rights requires us to throw off such tyrannical government, and then following through with this train of thought by actually declaring independence.  Reason is a middle ground that isn’t always the same.  If you put the amount of thought into what form of government you should adopt for a new country as you did into what you will have for lunch, that would be ignorant action.  On the other hand, if you put as much thought into what to eat for lunch as you did into what form of government you should adopt for a new country, that would be Pure Contemplation.  The amount of thought is dependent on the scenario itself.  An aspect of reasoning is determining where that middle ground is.

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