Stating the Obvious | Conclusion



Our investigation has shown that there can be value to stating the obvious. We’ve seen how it can allow us to re-access our thoughts, and to reconsider our relation to them, something that can be handy in combating premature cognitive commitments; we’ve also considered how it can act as a device for arresting the flow of thought, or as a way to bring to mind things we may have forgotten.

We briefly touched upon the ways in which the concept of stating the obvious may be devalued, inasmuch as it clashes with prevailing ideas that are seemingly inherent in current capitalism-engendered modes of thought, those that champion gain, through, amongst other things, the pursuit of knowledge.

Despite what commonplace assumptions may have us believe, it is worth remembering the value that we have explored here, especially if we are at all concerned with controlling and defining the way that we, as individuals, experience the world.

Earlier we considered Thoreau’s quote on the soul growing through subtraction, not addition; an idea that is prevalent in Eastern philosophy, and is exemplified in the following maxim from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu: “In the pursuit of learning [knowledge], every day something is acquired. In the pursuit of Tao [wisdom], every day something is dropped.”8

We can gain knowledge through stating the obvious, or having the obvious stated to us; but perhaps, more importantly, stating the obvious allows us to pursue wisdom, the kind of wisdom that comes, not through gain, but through loss.