Some people imagine that only humans ask these questions but that is not so: we know that many species of animals solve problems, that they react to circumstances, that they learn.
In short, animals learn cause and effect.
Animals learn that there are consequences to their actions and they learn that some consequences are intentional and some are unintentional.
This leads us to a series of other questions:
do we make informed decision or do we make progress only by trial and error?
Do multiple errors always compound or might they produce the intended result?
If you are driving and you want to go straight ahead at a roundabout but miscount the exits and turn left instead, can you address the problem by making a series of decisions which are not the ″go straight on at the roundabout″ and still and up in the correct place?
What are the range of possible decisions?
Turn left, make a box, approach the roundabout again and count better this time?
Turn right, make a box and join the correct road after the roundabout?
Do a u-turn and re-enter the roundabout by the way you left it and then turn left to the correct exit?
Each of those options has consequences – lost time, wasted fuel, stress… can you, do you, assess those consequences and make your decision in the light of them or do you ignore them and make a rapid, unthinking decision, a reaction?
The place of unthought thoughts is not empty but many things that are assumed to be there are not.
Thoughts that are chosen for their undesirability are not unthought thoughts: they are discarded or walled-in thoughts. The place of unthought thoughts has one purpose: it’s where answers to the great unknowns may be found, if there are any answers and if we are willing to accept what we find.
Mostly, we find that there are only the next page in a long and complicated narrative.