The Third Thought

“The man who acts at once, on first thoughts, will make many mistakes, both in theory and in practice; it is seldom that first thoughts are best, though then indeed in quite a different degree when it is a matter of doing something good. One should do it on the spot! The man who acts on second thoughts, the careful man, lives more securely; he will have fewer disappointments. Second thoughts can of course include an indefinite number of thoughts. Decision really lies then, in the third thought, that outweighs all the others, the first and the second. And so right living implies three thoughts. Might they not be distinguished by the fact that first and second thoughts are almost always ‘inspired’, and only the third follows upon a conscious, logical judgment? Far from it, the third thought may well be ‘inspired’.” (Theodor Haecker, 1950, Journal in the Night)