Taking our thoughts too seriously

Longer walk today. Ten miles from home via Little Missenden, Old Amersham, Chesham Bois, Chesham, and Blind Lane (map here).

At both ends of the walk though I found myself thinking of violence triggered by ideas. Near the beginning I passed through Mantle’s Wood. This wood has remained pretty much unchanged for the 27 years we have lived here but in the past few weeks Forestry England have been thinning it out and it looks like a scene from the Battle Of The Bulge episodes of Band Of Brothers.

This got me thinking, yet again, of what a grim, grinding, battle that was and how those fighting on both sides were there, in part, there as a result of ideas expressed by Nietzsche and misunderstanding of Darwin’s ideas about evolution. Without those ideas Hitler would probably not have gained so much traction and we wouldn’t have ended up with WWII and the holocaust.

Towards the end of the walk I encountered the sad sign in the photo above. Thomas Harding was a local martyr burned at the stake because of his dissenting religious views. Again someone subject to violence on the basis of ideas.

Ideas are just thoughts, thoughts that originally appear unbidden, thoughts that can lead to millions of deaths. It would be great if we all learned to take our thoughts less seriously.

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