Would you agree that for better understanding one needs to be able to construct own definitions, rather than being limited to definitions already formulated by others? I invite you to walk a thinking path with me, in course of which we will try to construct a valid definition of thinking itself. I suggest we compare results at the end of the path: sharing and discussing contribute to better understanding as well. Let’s begin.
Wikipedia's definitions (here and in other parts of the article the definitions are as of February 2015) of the terms “thought” and “thinking” never fail at making me smile. They also put me into a tranquil meditative state, as if Milton Erickson himself, the father of Conversational Hypnosis, wrote these definitions. Take a look:
“Thought can refer to the ideas or arrangements of ideas that result from thinking, the act of producing thoughts, or the process of producing thoughts. Although thought is a fundamental human activity familiar to everyone, there is no generally accepted agreement as to what thought is or how it is created. Thoughts are the result or product of spontaneous acts of thinking.”
If we get rid of the irrelevant words from the definitions, we will get this: “Thought refers to ideas resulting from spontaneous acts or processes of producing thoughts.” Or, to make it even simpler - “Producing thoughts results in ideas that can be referred to as thoughts”. Basically, the definitions are: “Thoughts result from thinking” and “Thinking is the process of producing thoughts”.
Smile is a result of smiling. Smiling results in such configuration of lips that can be referred to as a smile.