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

No comments:

Post a Comment