So it’s a Sunday, I’m just about sobered up/rehydrated/caught up on sleep from the last few days and I think Jenna Jameson’s contribution to philosophy may be slightly under appreciated. Probably.
I’ve not written anything for a little while and that’s not very good. There are a number of reasons for this. For not having written that is, it not being very good is just an objective assessment against the goal, which is to write stuff. That tangent actually illustrates one of the first points, I get distracted very easily.
I’ll often have half a dozen different thoughts or ideas running rampant inside my head. Ask me what I’m thinking some time, see how absurd the rabbit hole goes. These are often fleeting and trivial, something I’ve read or watched piquing enough interest to warrant a second or third thought. Maybe funny, maybe sad but probably provocative in some way. Individually these thoughts don’t tend to be that significant, but recently I’ve realised that they give a pretty good indication of my mental state generally.
If there is any sort of coherence or pattern to these thoughts, recurring patterns or features, then the chances are that I’m facing a problem that I’m actually having to put some thought into. I don’t say this to suggest that I don’t have to think about problems often, more that I often don’t. I tend to process information pretty quickly and for better or worse reach a conclusion at near enough the same time. In the absence of new facts or information, I’m unlikely to change my mind.
When I do have to think about a problem, I rarely come to the answer by thinking about the problem directly. I’ll think about things that are in the same generally ballpark, wander mental pathways that lead in similar directions and then hopefully stumble across the pathway that leads to the ‘right’ answer. Doesn’t always flow that smoothly, but when it does I tend to be pretty certain in my conclusion. Problem solving, the Alex Turner way, not recommended for anyone with sense.
The alternatives to thinking around a single subject are thinking about many disparate subjects or thinking about literally nothing at all. Not wanting to spark a gender debate, but most men I’ve suggested the latter to have accepted it with a knowing nod where any woman that’s actually cared about the answer has been baffled by the concept.
I tend to think that my mind knows itself a lot better than I do. Assuming I haven’t actually had a psychotic break, this functionally means that sometimes I just leave it to do its own thing. By not pushing towards or focusing on any particular thing, it is free to take its time to settle on a subject of significance. Some of my best epiphany moments have arrived in this way.
If I find myself thinking about a wide array of subjects it broadly tends to be for one of two reasons. The first and easiest to deal with is the simple fact that I’m bored. I like an intellectual challenge and pushing myself towards a goal, and sometimes I find myself without one. I think about stuff to literally fill the space and time in my head. This is where unconnected thoughts connect in my head to produce some of my more questionable or interesting ideas.
The other scenarios in which I find myself thinking in this way are those where I have absolutely no frame of reference for what is happening and I feel a bit lost. This tends to be an exploratory thought process, my mind casting about itself for something that it knows, some fixed point upon which to start building a response. This is often where I’ll find myself falling down. I’ll start trying to respond to an issue from completely the wrong place. This tends to make for either a funny story or a bitter learning experience. It’s a coin toss which it will be for any given situation. Either way, it will be something new that gets added into the swirling morass of broken thoughts and half ideas that I’ll use to Frankenstein together my emotional response to later issues.
So next time will shed some light onto how I learn new things and the idea of being a beginner. But for now I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the workings of my brain as much as I’ve enjoyed articulating it. If not, hard cheese. As always thoughts, tangents and lecherous material welcome in the comments.
Until next time,