On the Topic of Nerdiness

"Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people."
-Unknown
There are, as you may have noticed, two parts to the title of this blog. Overthinking, and Nerdiness. The first part was discussed in the previous post. Now it's time to discuss the second half. In this post, we'll be looking first at the confusion behind the term "nerd," as well as its companion words, and then we'll look at what a nerd really is. To begin, let's head over to dictionary.com and see what they have to say on the subject.
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit:
-Dictionary.com
...Well, that doesn't seem very nice. I checked The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, The Collins English Dictionary, and The Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, as well as the WordNet 3.0 thesaurus. Each had similar results. I won't put them here for the sake of space. It will suffice to say that I didn't find very many kind places. In fact, most of them seemed downright insulting. That's really not how the word is used today, is it?

Let's look at a few more definitions, but for some different words. For the sake of time and space, I'll be using Dictionary.com, and assuming that the other dictionaries have similar definitions. The first one will be the word dictionary.
1. a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online lexical resource (such as Dictionary.com ) containing a selection of the words of a language, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, derived forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language....
-Dictionary.com (emphasis mine)
The word "meaning" seems to be rather important here. Let's look up that word as well, shall we?
1. what is intended to be, or actually is, expressed or indicated; signification; import:
2. the end, purpose, or significance of something:
 -Dictionary.com
These dictionaries certainly don't describe what I mean when I say nerd... It isn't what my friends tend to mean, either. In fact, I most commonly hear the word used in a positive light. It looks like those dictionaries are in need of an update. But, in order to find how these words are most commonly used, I suggest that we look at the Urban Dictionary. We'll use the top three answers in this case.
1. One whose IQ exceeds his weight.
2. An individual persecuted for his superior skills or intellect, most often by people who fear and envy him.
3. An 'individual', i.e. a person who does not conform to society's beliefs that all people should follow trends and do what their peers do. Often highly intelligent but socially rejected because of their obsession with a given subject, usually computers. Unfortunately, nerds seem to have problems breeding, to the detriment of mankind as a whole.
-Urban Dictionary
The word "nerd" has a certain style to it. A certain way that people look at it. A certain way that people have always looked at it. But in today's culture of the internet, as more and more people identify themselves as nerds, questions have arisen. What is a nerd? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Does the emphasis rest on the intelligence, or on the social awkwardness? And where does the word geek come in? Are they interchangeable? Do they mean different things? Is one good and the other bad? One video in particular, Epic Rap Battle: Nerd vs. Geek by Rhett and Link, has gained a lot of attention since it was posted in late 2013. The next day they posted another video on their secondary channel, called Nerd vs. Geek: How to Tell the Difference. However, in these cases, as in countless others, the difference was left ambiguous. This is extremely common in today's culture. Everything must be decided based on whether it feels more geeky or more nerdy, which isn't really very solid. People have different opinions on what has what feel, which means that if people stick to that standard, nobody will ever agree on what nerds really are. Well, I say no more of this. Right here, right now, I am going to unlock the secrets of nerdiness, and what nerdiness means.

The concept of nerdiness revolves around an idea that I'm sure you've heard of before, though probably not in the same way that it's going to be used here. Fandoms. That's right, nerdiness is all about fandoms. But why, and what is a fandom? To put it simply, a fandom is something you care about. Something you're a fan of. Some fandoms are quite popular and have their own names. For example, someone in the Star Trek fandom could be called either a Star Trek nerd, or a Trekkie. Both mean the same thing. Other fandoms, regardless of popularity, have no set name. Star Wars has no special name of its own, for example, and Star Wars nerds are simply called Star Wars nerds.
"So this blog is only going to be discussing fictional universes?" you may ask. The answer is no. While fictional universes may come up from time to time, that isn't the point of this blog. In order for me to clarify, you need to understand that there are two different types of fandoms. Base fandoms, and classification fandoms.

When people think of fandoms, they typically think of the base fandoms. Doctor Who, Star Trek, and The Hunger Games are all examples of base fandoms. A base fandom revolves around a fictional universe or story. Something that we don't find in real life.
A classification fandom is much more common, but not understood as clearly. A classification fandom is still something that you're a fan of, but it's something that can be found in the real world. For example, computers and technology. You could be called a computer nerd, or you could be called a geek. A geek is a sub-class of nerd that has a specific focus on computers.
The reason that real life fandoms are called classification fandoms is because they can provide clarity and specificity to the base fandoms. A Star Wars nerd and a Star Wars Geek are two different things. The first refers to the fictional universe of Star Wars in general. The second refers to the technology of Star Wars.

While it is relatively common for base fandoms to have special names associated with them, it is relatively rare for a classification fandom to have one. Geek and bookworm are some of the few exceptions, but since most people don't think of real life things as fandoms, they aren't typically referred to in the same way. But regardless of the classification fandom, since all exist in real life, all can be used to add specificity to base fandoms.

So, what does nerdiness really mean? To be a nerd is to care about something almost to the point of obsession, or even past that point. If we look at the traditional usage of the term, we can see that this matches up. The ones who obsessed over D&D or Star Trek were labelled nerds. The ones who went along with societies standards, or who treated life as though it didn't mean much, were considered to be the cool kids. Looking at nerdiness in this way, one could be a nerd about anything. There could be a football nerd, for example. The idea that football players are stupid and don't spend time thinking about anything is a stereotype, just like the idea that all nerds are socially awkward. Some are, some aren't. Some football players are stupid and uncaring. But I know other football players who are kind and intelligent.
But to be a nerd about something is different than being, simply, a nerd. To be a nerd without any type of specific fandom attached is to simply care in general. To desire accuracy. To want to know more, not because of one specific topic, or even many topics, but rather, as a lifestyle.
"Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."
-Henry Ford

To Overthink, or not to Overthink

"It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it."
-Joseph Joubert
Have you ever been told that you overthink things? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't. I know that I certainly have. But what does it mean to overthink things, and why is that such a bad thing? In this first post, I will explain what it is to overthink things, as well as the purpose of this blog.
In order to explain the purpose of the blog, the topic of overthinking must first be understood. Therefore, that is where I will begin.

Imagine a scenario in which Alfred and Bob are having a friendly debate. Part way into the debate, Alfred begins to explain, in great detail, why he believes his own opinion to be correct. He brings in logic, examples, and previous comments made by both himself and by Bob. He goes on and on, building his case, gaining momentum, until finally, he has built a sturdy wall of logic that cannot be breached. Bob looks at Alfred for a moment, then says, "You're overthinking this." Having made his comment, he turns and walks away.


Pause. Let's examine this for a moment. What really happened here?
Let's start with the discussion. Bob obviously doesn't believe that the subject itself is worthless. If he did, he wouldn't have been involved in the discussion in the first place. Each time before, he has had a response to whatever Alfred said, and continued. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. (This is commonly attributed to Albert Einstein, but isn't actually his.) The point of this is that if the same thing happens, then... the same thing will happen. Big surprise, right? So, if Albert makes a comment that Bob has a response to, it would seem that Bob would tend to use that response. The only reason Bob wouldn't respond is if something had changed about the situation. It can't be anything involving what time it is, because he didn't check his watch or phone. What happened? The only remaining option in this particular scenario is that Bob no longer had an answer. Bob was, without admitting it, conceding the debate to Alfred, and saying that Alfred was correct.

However, rather than simply admitting defeat, Bob decided to make a remark about Alfred's lifestyle. Let's look at the situation again. Take God, for example. If you don't believe in God, then imagine Him for the sake of the explanation. God knows everything about everything with no effort whatsoever. From how many hairs are on my head to the exact brightness of Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, and what that means both in the Star Wars universe, and in the real world. The knowledge itself may be irrelevant, but the information is not, in and of itself, a problem. The problem arises when time is spent on it. And why is that? Because it takes time away from thinking about other, more important things. Therefore, what is Bob really saying? His initial participation in the debate shows that he doesn't believe the topic to be worthless. But he also says that Alfred thinks about it too much. Therefore, what he's saying is that he thinks about it the perfect amount, and any more than that is over the top. Nevermind the fact that he just indirectly said that he was wrong. But in order to overthink something, one must also be underthinking something. After all, the knowledge itself isn't the problem, it's the act of taking time away from something else. Therefore, Bob is really saying that Alfred doesn't spend enough time thinking about important things that really matter. And he says this without knowing what Alfred spends his time thinking about. What did he really take time away from? Perhaps, instead of taking time from something important, he took time from something unimportant that Bob spends much time thinking about. Isn't it truly Bob who was thinking incorrectly on the topic? After all, he was wrong. Therefore, either he was underthinking it, or it wasn't as important a topic as he thought, and he was therefore overthinking it as well.

Now, how does any of this relate to the purpose of the blog? Well, I believe that thought and logic are gifts from God, and that we should use them for His glory. I believe in attention to detail, and a proper use of logic. I believe that, as we think about things, we expand our minds. As we practice thinking in detail about small things, it prepares us and readies us to think in detail about the larger things. It causes thought to take less time overall, allowing us to think about more things, using the minds that God has given us. The purpose of this blog is to look in detail at the things that people often glance over without a second thought. Larger topics may come up from time to time, but the goal is mainly to get your minds moving. While we will not aim to think of these things to the exclusion of all else, we will go into detail on each topic, in order to exercise our minds; this is what the world would call, "overthinking."
The purpose is not to make you agree with everything I say, but to get you thinking, so that you can know why you disagree, rather than just saying, "that's stupid."
 
Comments, for now at least, are being left open. They will never be entirely removed, but if problems arise, I may have to set it so that they need approval.
That said, please do comment any thoughts and opinions you may have. Be respectful, but disagreeing is perfectly fine, so long as you do so in an intelligent manner.

"Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another."

-Proverbs 27:17