In order to first understand what active and passive thinking is, we have to understand what a thought is. According to Webster, a thought is “an idea, plan, opinion, picture, etc., which is formed in your mind: something that you think of”. This is quite a broad definition of thought itself. I would define a thought as an electrical impulse in an individual’s brain triggered by an external stimulus. Given this definition, thoughts aren’t just “random” occurrences as many people seem to believe. Every thought that an individual experiences has been “implanted” in their brain in some way, shape or form by external stimuli. These stimuli could be something as simple as a mother commenting about a certain bias she has in front of her child (a certain prejudice or misconception about something) or it could be as complex as watching a video on YouTube and the information it passes to the viewer is heavily biased. The thoughts we have as a result of those are what would be classified as “passive thoughts”. It is essentially living in the moment and fully experiencing a certain stimuli.
Active thoughts, however, are much more complex than passive thoughts. Active thinking is a form of critical thinking. It is analyzing information that is being projected to the individual by external stimuli. This is much deeper than passive thought. Instead of ignoring a thought, which if not analyzed is sent to the subconscious part of the mind, this allows an individual to analyze why they are having said thought. The resulting product allows one to fully understand oneself and their thoughts. We are constantly receiving information from external stimuli. Passive thinking is constantly happening. Until one actually analyzes a thought influenced by an external stimulus, it is left in their subconscious, until an event arises, which forces that thought from their subconscious to their conscious, manifesting into something greater that they have to deal with: an intrusive thought.