I’ve been thinking about thinking, and, even though my thoughts are free to go anywhere, thinking has stayed on my mind.
Think. Think. Think. We can’t help it. Even when we’re doing nothing, we’re thinking.
Take, for example, in the shower. We shouldn’t really have to use our brain a lot in the shower. After all, it’s a fairly simple task. But it’s where I plan the day – what do I have to do this morning? Did I remember to do this or that? What should I wear – and will I, please, no, have to iron it?
The thing is, I often think too much in the shower.
Just this morning after an already-too-long shower, I couldn’t remember if I’d washed my hair.
I’m standing there all wet, shower running full steam, but had I washed my hair? I. Had. No. Idea.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me.
Had I lathered? Had I rinsed? Was it time to repeat?
Thinking about other people is big business. I know this because Hallmark has a whole section devoted to thinking … of you.
I suppose it’s nice to receive a card that says, “Thinking of you … Hope these thoughts give your heart a tug and feel just like a warm little hug.”
And here’s another one: “Just thinking thoughts of you … When you read this little message, here’s hoping it will show that someone’s thinking of you now and wants to let you know.”
As an editor by trade, I have to say that last one is a little wordy. By the end of that “little message,” your mind has probably wandered off somewhere else. It’d be like being in the shower.
Basically, “Thinking of you” would have sufficed.
And how many times have you been driving only to realize you’ve traveled a long way and don’t remember doing any of it. Your mind wandered, we say.
You can’t even sit quietly without someone coming up to you and saying, “What cha thinkin’?”
And it’s a terrible insult when someone says, “A penny for your thoughts.”
Well, maybe their thoughts are worth only a penny, but I say you’ve got to pull out the paper money to be privileged to thoughts as fascinating as mine. Uh huh.
To someone who’s suffered a loss or tragedy, we say, “My thoughts are with you.” If they only realized how many random thoughts we had during the day, they’d probably be offended by that gesture.
And sometimes people get this good advice: “Think for yourself.” As opposed to whom, I wonder?
In college, you’re encouraged to do “critical thinking,” that is, giving purposeful and reflective judgment about what to believe in response to observations, experience or presented arguments.
To critically think, you might ask yourself questions like: What is the purpose, goal or point? What is the problem being solved? What is the solution? What are the consequences? What are the assumptions? What paradigmatic considerations limit the point of view?
This is why we don’t do any critical thinking outside the classroom. It hurts your brain.
Well, I suppose this is what random thoughts look like written down. When I think about it, which of course I am, I imagine a lot of people didn’t quite make it to my column’s conclusion.
Their mind probably wandered off. I can’t really blame them, even as I write this I’m thinking about something else, like …