I've been reading/studying E F Shumacher's A Guide for the Perplexed, a philosophical book about the nature of knowledge and our capacity for understanding the world, especially in relation to "higher" and "lower" processes of humanity, (IE, prayer or meditation vs hunger or fear) and I'm hoping a Buddhist perspective can help me to understand one aspect of it better. In it, he refers to self-awareness as the level of human existence that is activated or discovered by mindfulness-meditation, by dismissing the thoughts that come from the level of consciousness. He says that self-awareness produces insights rather than thoughts. Shumacher was a Catholic at the time of writing this, but I understand that he studied and was influenced heavily by Buddhism, and I believe that is where his ideas about thought come from. I am not a Buddhist, though I have tried meditation. An idea that I have struggled with in all of this is the definition of thought. I have always considered the processes by which one would analyze or dismiss a thought to also be thinking. I would consider an insight to be a type of thought, not something higher than a thought. I am now struggling to understand whether I simply have too broad of a definition for thought, or am simply so philosophically-challenged that I have never experienced this process-above-thought discussed by Shumacher and Buddhism. Can you help me understand what the Buddhist definition of a "thought" is? Do you have a different word for the process by which one would dismiss a thought or analyze a thought while meditating? Everything beyond this point is my own speculation on the subject, for clarity or analysis. If you already understand my problem or misunderstanding, feel free to skip it.
I have wondered if Freud's ego and super-ego may shed light on this. I would say that "thought" is the word used to describe the processes of both the ego and super-ego, but I wonder if Shumacher and Buddhism would consider "thought" to be what the ego does, and perhaps have a different word for the processes of the super-ego.
I have also imagined, as Shumacher does in his book, the human being as a programmer and computer. (The programmer being the self and the computer being the human brain) The human computer carries out all the day-to-day activities we do without higher thought, while the human programmer directs the computer and programs it so that it behaves as desired. In this analogy, I would consider all communication between the "computer" and "programmer" to be thought, but I wonder if Shumacher and Buddhism considers thought to be information passed from the computer to the programmer, while directions passed from the programmer to the computer is something else.
I have included the translation tag, as I suspect my answer may largely pivot on the translation of the word "thought" from Buddhist texts into English, and whether there is a more thorough translation of it that could explain this.