The Scientific Indian

Is there a difference between thinking and thinking hard? I mean, thinking is thinking. How can you say if someone is thinking hard or not?

Well, I am going to first call on Newton to tell you what that difference is. Newton said, `If others would think as hard as I did, then they would get similar results.’

What does Newton mean? Let that question throw sparks in your mind, meanwhile let me call Einstein, or more accurately Abraham Pais who wrote a great deal about Einstein with much insight. In his book Suble is the Lord, Pais often insists that Einstein thought long and hard about certain fundamental physical ideas and prevailing contradictions. He thought for many many years before his annus mirabilis papers. Now, anyone who makes himself or herself familiar with Einstein’s astonishing body of work would not fail to grasp the enormity of what he did. He set the course of physics that we are still sailing on.

So, thinking hard isn’t just thinking hard but THINKING HARD. T.H.I.N.K.I.N.G H.A.R.D. It is never letting something go out of focus, never resting, wiring something to the centre of your consciousness, surrounding it with no fear, engulfed by it that breathlessness is the normal state of mind, courageously walking into the dark holding nothing but a burning desire. Thinking hard is not easy, that is why those who think really hard do great work. Thinking hard means dropping all else, all the vacations you had planned, all the good work you intended to do, all your amusements, everything, except that one thought. Buddha did it and he attained a heightened state of consciousness that has guided and still guides a substantial number of humans.

This post is really just a tip, or dregs as Richard Hamming would say. Now that I’ve dropped Hamming’s name, I suggest that you read Richard Hamming’s great talk[Bellcore, 7 March 1986]. I read it just now for the first time today (via HN) and I am inspired.