What is thinking, without thinking?

Analogy of art of fighting without fighting.

A person tries to pick a fight, the victim lures him into a trap without fighting him. What is this to the analogy to the thread?

I’ll take a stab at this since it touches on my experience in mathematical research.

From what you describe, ‘fighting without fighting’ is still fighting, but just not in the usual way of physical contact. Instead of maneuvers and blows tackling an opponent head on, we use patience, stealth, and deception to win mentally instead of by brute force.

Mathematicians attacking a difficult problem often make a similar distinction between ‘brute forcing’ the problem and ‘sneaking up’ on it. Attacking the hardest problems directly, with various established techniques, often doesn’t work, just as one’s fighting techniques might not be effective against a much bigger and stronger opponent. To solve these problems one must often ‘stop thinking’, at least about the original problem. One might explore the territory surrounding the problem, think about simpler (or more complex!) related problems, or unrelated problems, or just let the logical mind give way to the unconscious, intuitive, dreamy landscape of the area, until suddenly, like a sprung trap seizing an opponent, the solution is seen.

Thus in this context, ‘thinking without thinking’ is thinking which ultimately aims to solve a problem, but which immediately aims at something else, or perhaps at nothing in particular.

And perhaps more generally, ‘thinking without thinking’ is the use of the seemingly aimless, unconscious mind to form ideas that the conscious mind may not be able to form directly.

practice makes perfect



The aim is can you see that actual fact? Can you see the problem?
Not inventings escapes from the problem, but actually facing it. Either you understand this or you don’t.


prefection needs no practice. And I don’t practice. I am.


Without thinking, what is thinking?

I dunno.

I’m afraid I don’t. Mostly because it makes no grammatical sense.

Descartes said, “I think, therefore I am.”

So to not think, you can’t be. To be is a function of “to think”. So how then, can you think…without thinking? On this logic?

Or pee without peeing? LoL :laughing:


This calls for a new set of definitions of ‘think’. There is ‘think’ and ‘feel’. Perhaps you want to ‘think’ with your ‘feel’? Like intution? Like the Jedi when he can feel when it’s about to strike and not think about it?

like an innate talent.

“Fighting without fighting” IMO is STRATEGY. You know a fight is imminent. To FWF is to disarm the fight before it began. Fighting(1) without Fighting(2) is a function of rethinking the definitions. Fighting(1) is the conceptual, the strategy, the mental game. Fighting(2) is the physical act, the strike, the drawing back to fight(1). This is how they’re interrelated.

Fighting(1) and Fighting(2) are interrelated in the sense that one can’t exist without the other. It’s pointless.

So to relate this to “thinking without thinking” you’re in a sense trying to make physical the second part of the statement, "thinking(1) without thinking(2).

Which you then ask the question, “can thinking be a physical entity?”

Because if “think” is tangible, it’s hard to suggest that Descartes logic is correct because think cannot be tangible, or else be would exist on a higher plane, because “being” is the physical extension of think(1).

“Thinking(1) without being” can’t work in logic. Because you have to be in order to think, because the reverse of this is the logical.

“Thinking without thinking”, then, is more of a play on definition rather than how you would go about “thinking” about it.

Thus far,

I am satisfied with Old Gobbo’s answer.

In ANY context, that statement will get my attention!

IF I have your attention , does that means you are willing to listen?

Attention is an emotional response. But it’s the beginning. Just because you have the attention at the beginning doesn’t mean the listening is going to occur.

Just as the car revs up, that doesn’t mean the engine is going to start running.