“IN DEFENSE OF THINKING” by Tony Casson

“Wise people think before they act;
Fools don’t – and even brag about their foolishness.”
Proverbs 13:16 NLT

“We do not what we ought;
What we ought not, we do;
And lean upon the thought
That chance will bring us through.”
Matthew Arnold “Empedocles On Etna”

One wouldn’t think that thinking itself should require defending. That is, unless one has observed the nature of humans in general, and the nature of humans who are incarcerated, in particular.

An enormous amount of thought, time, energy, and money, both ‘real’ and of the jailhouse variety (i.e. stamps or commissary items) is wasted – and there really is no other term for it other THAN wasted – fighting the effects of our behavior AFTER the fact because we find it impossible to think about the effects of our behavior BEFOREHAND.

Simply put: WE DO NOT THINK BEFORE WE ACT.

Since it would appear that we do not engage in that activity nearly as often as we should, there must be a reason. Therefore, since there is a reason to NOT engage in it, I find myself compelled to defend thinking in general, and thinking before we act in particular.

In a prison environment, one is constantly surrounded by people. There are precious few moments of privacy or solitude and even those are subject to interruption and are therefore not moments of TRUE privacy or solitude. Since there are always people around, if one is inclined to do so – and I AM inclined to do so – one can observe human nature as exhibited by the sea of humanity that surrounds us and, hopefully, learn something from it.

One thing that stands out among the many observations that I have made is that there are a LOT of men around me who seem surprised at the length of their sentences. As a result, the thought, time, energy, and money that I mentioned earlier is spent trying to find some magic loophole that will shorten, or eliminate, the time spent behind bars.

The obvious seems to escape all who have been relegated to spend a portion of their lives on the unfortunate side of the fence: Had we thought about the potential for prison as a result of our actions BEFOREHAND, perhaps none of the thought, time, energy, and money that is expended trying to UNDO something WE DID to ourselves would need to be expended.

In other words: THINK BEFORE YOU ACT!

Let me repeat that in a different way: Think BEFORE you act!

And another: THINK before you act!

Now THOSE are thoughts worth thinking and well worth defending! Look at it this way: It is easier to not let the cat out of the bag than it is to get the cat back in the bag after it is let out.

Oh! Wait a minute. That’s sort of like cruelty to animals, isn’t it? Poor analogy.

Let me think about that for a moment. 😉

God bless you all.

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