Thinking is Hard

Recently I have worked my way through Henry Hazlitt's book Thinking as a Science. As I finish a chapter I realize my thinking has been of poor quality. Thinking is a conscious effort that requires a mental focus that is difficult to achieve.

For over a year I have read and studied Austrian Economics at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. At first I was blow away, the articles were in depth and contained razor sharp focus for a long period. It was difficult to follow. This was not like reading a blog, these articles were not meant for the typical reader but the thinking reader. They remain true to their purpose, to advance the scholarship of liberty in the tradition of the Austrian School. To simplify the content would mean to lose some of the meaning that many great thinkers have worked so long to achieve, no ambiguity can present.

Now I find myself wanting to know more, but to study takes time, to think takes time. It is useless for me to spend 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there. Little will be gained from short intervals splattered throughout the day. When I want to code, I separate myself from everyone to finish my goal. The same is now true in my studies in Austrian Economics. During my introductory period I was able to get by, but as they studies progress so does the demand for attention.

The world unfortunately works against me going into a state of deep focus. The time must be set aside. I find it is best to escape without anyone knowing where or for how long I will be gone. Perhaps it adds to the sense of “escape” from the world to concentrate on my own thoughts. Some of the greatest locations are the library and a coffee shop (depending on the depth of thinking, the coffee shop may not do).

There is also the problem of how to capture thoughts and how to articulate. My knowledge of the Austrian Economics affects my own actions, and in that sense it has been a worthy. Thinking by oneself can only go so far though. Interacting with others on the same subject adds to my own knowledge and brings out thoughts I would have never otherwise been able to develop. I moved to the Bay Area because that is where every other web startup was. This was a great decision. Interacting with others who have the same focus and goals is invaluable.

Henry Hazlitt goes over much more in his book Thinking as a Science, and it is well worth the read. It applies to everyone, unless you do not think. But if you did not think you would not be reading this blog, would you?