Wisdom By Henry Thurman Analysis

1775 Words 8 Pages
To live in a static state of mind is to restrict the joy one may find in life. Oliver Sacks, Maggie Nelson, and Robert Thurman all suggest that one’s perception of the world, as well as the flexibility of their state of mind, directly correlates with how they exist within it. Specifically, Thurman’s work “Wisdom” claims that it is necessary for one to abandon the idea of having a fixed and strict self but rather open up one’s mind to become a flexible thinker, allowing one to create human connection. In her essay “Great to watch” Nelson argues that one must break away from the banal life society accepts as normal and reject a fixed mental state that we are trapped in. Throughout his interactions with those who were born blind or became blind …show more content…
Nelson similarly discusses the significance of becoming a flexible thinker to help create a better world. However, these authors have different pathways to achieve this flexible mindset and ultimately lead a better life. Specifically, Sacks marveled at how the brain could radically shift and adapt to sensory deprivations. In fact, medical studies have found that when the visual cortex is not “constrained by any visual input,” the visual cortex “becomes hypersensitive” to external forces (Sacks, 337). It is this exact adaptation and flexibility that is crucial for one to create a new way to live in the world. And when those who are blind opened up their minds, their other senses “assumed a new richness and power” (Sacks, 330). It was this adaptation and flexibility that allowed this new mode of independent being to come into existence. Thus, to become a flexible thinker, Sacks claims this process involves the brain using adaptation techniques to allow one to create a new relationship with the world. And while Nelson agrees it is necessary to open up one’s mind, she discusses a different pathway to establish this. Nelson argues that one must ignore rapid image flow found in media and instead focus on art to establish a still mind, which in return will promote …show more content…
But soon, these moments pass and we fall into banality once again. Nelson briefly quotes Sontag, who “declared that we live in ‘an age of extremity,’ characterized by ‘the continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror’” (Nelson, 306). We live in this continuous cycle of extremes, but neither are productive ways to engage with the world. And choosing to stay in this cycle reflects a static mindset. Only when we break this cycle will we become flexible human beings. Nelson goes on to say “that distraction by the banal obviates a necessary focus on the all-too-real-calamitous” (Nelson, 306). The banality of life, and the plain routine that many follow, acts as a distraction to the true terrors happening around us. We, as a society, become unconcerned with tragedies. We focus on daily rituals instead of global crises. And thus, it is crucial to find some way to empower society to critically think about how we relate to the world. To help do this, Nelson argues we need a “third term” to act as a mediation tool between society and the world. Specifically, art can act as this mediation device. The main function of this mediation tool is to of course “mediate, but not in the sense of imitating or representing a reality from which spectators are barred” (Nelson, 308). And one can feel

Related Documents