The other day I was discussing with a friend the (a) problem with young people. Some schools are just not teaching them how to think. They go to college and quickly learn how to swim downstream. There is no independence or creativity in their thought processes. If they have a strong-minded professor, they will soon learn to approach everything the way that he does. That's why people who have mental health issues are so interesting. They have a totally unique way of thinking. Give THAT some thought! But be careful, thinking can be dangerous.
A psychologist once told me (honestly) that he believed that I had sustained some brain damage at some time during my life. I know that my friends who read this will all be laughing, shaking their heads and rolling their eyes, but this is not funny. In fact, it's possible that it was the cause of my becoming a problem thinker.
It started out innocently enough. I first began to think at parties now and then, just to loosen up. After awhile though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone--just "to relax," I told myself. But I knew that it wasn't true.
Thinking became more and more important to me. Finally, I was thinking all of the time. I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself. I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Freud. I would come back to the office dizzy and confused. My mind was obsessed with questions like, "What are we doing here?"
I was having problems at home too. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my spouse about the meaning of life. She said that I was scaring her, and she began to avoid me. I could now see that we were just not well matched. We were like two opposite Polish people repelling one another. Soon, my wife began spending some nights at her mother's house.
I eventually developed a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me into his office. He said, "Stormy, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. It's disrupting the whole company. You just don't fit in anymore. If you don't stop thinking, you will have to find another job." That gave me a lot to think about.
I came home early from work, and I confessed, "Honey, I've been thinking..." "I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!!" Tears ran down her face as she quietly said, "It's getting serious, Stormy. You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking, we won't have any money!"
"That's a faulty syllogism," I said impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door. I wanted some books. I was in the mood for some Nietzsche and Voltaire, topped off with some Solomon. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors. They didn't open. The library was closed. I fell to the ground weeping.
To this day, I believe that God was looking out for me that night. As I clawed at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for psychology, theology and philosophy, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster. Which is why I am what I am today: a recovering thinker.
I never miss a TA gathering. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video. Last week it was "Porky's." Then we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last time we met.
I still have a job, and I still have a wife. After I became used to it, life just seemed easier as soon as I stopped thinking. I know that my TA mentor will be concerned about me writing of my experiences, but surely just one thought won't hurt. Oh, alright, there have been several thoughts in this blog, but none of them really mattered.
Here's thinking to you, kid.