Thinking about thinking

Think, think think
Let your mind go

Let yourself be free

–Aretha Franklin/Think


You mind is made up but your mouth is undone.
–Elvis Costello/Accidents Will Happen


I’ve run across the phrase “disordered thinking” several times recently at work.

It considered a bad thing to have disordered thinking. In fact, it’s one of the symptoms of schizophrenia. I want to make sure I don’t  belittle the actual psych diagnosis, which is serious. I wouldn’t want to actually have disordered thinking as a diagnosis, but I don’t mind a little disorder in my thoughts. I’ve been known to encourage it, in fact.

If your thoughts are all orderly all the time, how is there room for any serendipity to sneak in?  I’m betting that serendipity is not a big fan of order.

Not to knock critical/analytical thinking–it is definitely one of life’s essentials. It is something that should be a bigger focus in school.  A bigger focus, than, say, teaching kids to pass tests. Teaching us to think analytically is crucial in making sure we are (for one thing) not prone to believing anything anyone  tells us. Without critical thinking, there really is a sucker born every minute. Politicians, advertisers and religious leaders tend not to be big fans of critical thinking as it teaches you to question everything and apply disciplined thought processes in the analysis of what you read or hear.

There’s a balance to hit though, because too much critical thinking makes us dull. Too much analytical thinking kills inspiration, intuition, imagination and art.

Yeah, balance again. Sneaky bastard.

It’s pretty apparent where I fall on the scale. I think I used to be more analytical in my personal life, but once I started to do work that was more analytical in nature I tended to use it all up at work. What that means is that if you talk to me outside of work, I may be a little prone to going off on tangents.


I’m guessing most of you who know me outside of work have noticed that.

It’s a big part of why I started writing again. I needed a space to corral the tangents. Which is not the most rational thing I’ve ever written, when I see it on the page. What I mean is that it gives me a bit more of a disciplined approach to the tangents. In writing, I can take a particular tangent, and flesh it out a little bit in writing instead of spinning off into a million different directions. I can indulge myself in a little scrambled thinking in a slightly more orderly way.


Great. Now I’m being both tangential and paradoxical.

Oh well.






On an odd, random note: spell check tried to suggest that the correct way to spell critical is triticale.  I disregarded the suggestion. Sometimes I think spell check just likes to fuck with me.