Hobby and on Various Kinds Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

As a child, Golding's habit of 'thinking' is really a habit of questioning assumptions, while his teachers, friends, and parents do not. His is a broad and humorous use of the word thinking stands in contrast to the notion of thought or philosophical introspection in the Robinson piece. Robinson offers a very specific definition of thinking: "we shall consider mind chiefly as conscious knowledge and intelligence, as what we know and our attitude toward it -- our disposition to increase our information, classify it, criticize it and apply it."

In Golding's essay, 'thinking' can mean everything from learning, to listening, to showing consideration before acting. "I know what I think!" cries his bully of a schoolteacher, while Golding's implication is that the man has not 'thought' -- that is, deeply reflected -- upon anything in his life, he merely transmits received truths. But Golding is less interested in showing the fallacies of the Western tradition of mind/body dualism than he is humorously depicting the lack of intelligence of those who presumably 'know better' within society. Robinson denies both the mind/body distinction and the notion that we can 'know' our consciousness very well at all, given how much is relegated to subconscious thought. Robinson notes that mind is after all the product of one's brain, which is an organ of the body. But for Golding, the mind/body distinction is shown as false through more instinctual than theoretical approaches. Golding's interest in the mind/body link dates from childhood -- beginning with his fascination with half-nude Venus, and the twitching, angry bulge of a neck of his teacher, his curiosity in thought leads him to try to seduce a schoolgirl, attempting to dissuade her from her Methodist convictions. Golding calls this 'second grade' thinking -- the beliefs that rationality alone can convince someone to change his or her mind or that ideas are advanced without emotional, subjective motivations.

What is really important is not intellectually persuading a girl or anyone else to lose their conventional assumptions about marriage, Golding learns, but to put aside the importance of rational persuasion entirely. Much like Robinson, Golding ultimately embraces what is physical and elemental. He travels full circle, once again giving voice to his ideas through the use of an anecdote rather than abstraction, unlike Robinson: "If I were to go back to the headmaster's study and find the dusty statuettes still there, I would arrange them differently. I would dust Venus and put her aside, for I have come to love her and know her for the fair thing she is. But I would put the Thinker, sunk in his desperate thought, where there were shadows before him - and at his back, I would put the leopard, crouched and ready to spring." While both men articulate similar philosophies, Golding's style seems to better embody the idea that what is personal, vital, elemental, physical, even sexual is superior to philosophical abstraction.

Works Cited

Golding, William. "Thinking as a hobby." The Norton Reader, Shorter Eleventh Edition. Ed.

Linda H. Peterson and John C. Brereton. New York W.W. Norton and Company, 2004.

124-130. May 28, 2009.

http://www.smartercarter.com/Essays/Thinking%20as%20a%20Hobby%20-%20Golding.html

Robinson, James Harvey. "On various kinds of thinking" The Mind in the Making.

May 28, 2009. http://www.fullbooks.com/The-Mind-in-the-Making1.html

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Golding, William. "Thinking as a hobby." The Norton Reader, Shorter Eleventh Edition. Ed.

Linda H. Peterson and John C. Brereton. New York W.W. Norton and Company, 2004.

124-130. May 28, 2009.

http://www.smartercarter.com/Essays/Thinking%20as%20a%20Hobby%20-%20Golding.html

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