Theoretical thinking and practical life

Theoretical thinking is just a thought without experience or actual study of the fact. This kind of thought imagines that matters proceed very naturally, without obstacles on the way, following certain rules that this thinker put in his mind.

It is exactly like a person who says that the distance between two countries by sea is so many miles. If the ship sailed at a specific speed, it should arrive on such a day, at such an hour… The ship then gets into the actual fact, where it could be hit by waves or wind and fail to move, resist with difficulty or change its direction. It might arrive after days, or it might never arrive!!

The actual fact is full of obstacles and hindrances that nobody knows, except the one who has experienced the practical life in its minute details.

The one who thinks theoretically sits at his desk and writes thoughts, just thoughts… and will be puzzled why they did not work!! He might criticise and blame. He might even go as far in his criticism as to accusation! … He would, at least, accuse others of negligence, carelessness or lack of knowledge!!

In these theoretical accusations, he would not be aware of the practical obstacles, as the saying goes, “Woe to the thinker who is worse than a fool.”

If this person was aware of the nature of the situation and the practical results and obstacles, he might have connected his thoughts together…

One obstacle may change many wise plans…

A practical person who has faced reality and experienced life would perfectly understand that matters do not proceed according to his plans and preferences?

He knows the ground that he walks on… He assumes some plans, this is also taken into consideration… Any failure he faces will add to his experience and knowledge and make his future thinking more practical…

The theoretician might think that reformation is carried out by issuing a number of orders and decisions… while the practical thinker asks what would be the effectiveness of these decisions…

When he takes a decision, he follows it practically to see its line of progress. Does it move naturally or stop? If it does stop, why? What is the solution? Does it need any modification?

My brother, do not be theoretical in your thinking. Do not be hasty in criticizing others, but study the facts and be practical.



— Pope Shenouda III