Jump to content

Thinker's Anonymous


JenellYB
 Share

Recommended Posts

Found this in a comments post to a yahoo article, posted by a "Debbie H"...Started to leave the last line off in posting it here, but....well...

 

Thinkers Anonymous

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then — to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker. I began to think alone — “to relax,” I told myself — but I knew it wasn’t true.

Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time. That was when things began to sour at home. One evening I had turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother’s.

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 lunch time so I could read Thoreau and Kafka. I would return to the office dizzied and confused, asking, “What is it exactly we are doing here?”

One day the boss called me in. He said, “Listen, I like you, and it \hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don’t stop thinking on the job, you’ll have to find another job.”

This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early after my conversation with the boss. “Honey,” I confessed, “I’ve been thinking …” “I know you’ve been thinking,” she said, “and I want a divorce!”

“But Honey, surely it’s not that serious.”

“It is serious,” she said, lower lip aquiver. “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. She exploded in tears of rage and frustration, but I was in no mood to deal with the emotional drama.

“I’m going to the library,” I snarled as I stomped out the door. I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche. I roared into the parking lot with NPR on the radio and ran up to the big glass doors… They didn’t open. The library was closed. To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night.

As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, 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 meeting.

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 meeting. I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home.

Life just seemed … easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking. I think the road to recovery is nearly complete for me.

Today, I registered to vote Republican

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Funny - but, as these things happen, frighteningly close to mark for me.

 

I have long held the idea that far too many people suspend their "thinking" (i.e. reason) in order to justify their faith. Lately, I have had the opposite problem, I've been "thinking" so much that I seem to have suspended my faith. *sigh*

 

(I, too, have been paying attention to debates and am terrified!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I think disparaging another person’s political views and affiliation is just as unacceptable as disparaging their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or race. It is perfectly acceptable to hold opposing views without attacking or insulting those that have a different perspective.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What if those political views and affiliations differing from my own ARE disparaging toward, hate-inciting toward, and out right harmful to those of some gender, sexual oritentation, religious beleifs, or race, or socio-economic group, or age group, etc?

Is the acceptable position to say, well, I don't want to hurt those people myself, but I should be polite and not attack or criticize those that do so and their belief its ok to do so?

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

I think disparaging another person’s political views and affiliation is just as unacceptable as disparaging their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, or race. It is perfectly acceptable to hold opposing views without attacking or insulting those that have a different perspective.

 

Javelin,

 

I don't know if it's "just as unacceptable". Firstly, things like gender, sexual orientation and/or race are not a choice. Holding to certain political views and/or religous doctrines are certainly more a choice than a genetic certainty like the aforementioned. So disparaging another for a choice they make is a different thing to disparaging another for something that is not in their control, IMO.

 

Secondly, I think it is possible for somebody to hold a 'wrong' view. Extreme examples might be Hitler, Mugabe, genocidal Hutus, etc. Who am I to judge? Well I am just me, but I feel quite comfortable judging somebody else's views when they are harmful to others - which might include homophobia, flat-earth theorists, or perhaps white supremacists. The story in the bible of Jesus cleansing the temple has Jesus fairly well attacking and insulting the money changers who held a different view to Him.

 

Interestingly enough, Jesus is attributed with being disparaging to others on several different occassions:

Luke 11:40 You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?

Mathew 23:17 You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold?

Luke 24:25 And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

 

So whilst it is possible "to hold opposing views without attacking or insulting those that have a different perspective", I don't know if it should be a rule. As Jennel puts forward, sometimes such attacks and/or insults are warranted to shut down harmful and hurtful politics. Should we not attack the opposing views of the white supremacist who would like slavery reintroduced, or the views of a hermit kingdom regime that sees people imprisoned for the mildest of words of dissent against a political tyrant, or the views of religous authorities who condemn a woman to death by stoning for having sex outside of marriage?

 

But I agree with Nick - the last sentence of the post was beneath the rest of it. Of course, I'm sure the last line could be adopted for any group whatsoever that one would want to disparage.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with javelin.

 

When my father-in-law realized that he was no longer in community that tolerated his racist, sexist jokes he changed all the jokes to be jokes about his own people, Danes.

 

I haven't participated in many conversations where attacking the other was helpful. Certainly politics is always trying to prove me wrong. No position is absolutely right so we should have some humility. Being right doesn't win arguments.

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with javelin.

 

When my father-in-law realized that he was no longer in community that tolerated his racist, sexist jokes he changed all the jokes to be jokes about his own people, Danes.

 

I haven't participated in many conversations where attacking the other was helpful. Certainly politics is always trying to prove me wrong. No position is absolutely right so we should have some humility. Being right doesn't win arguments.

 

Dutch

 

I just want to make it clear that in my post I am referring to attacking 'views' not individuals. Similiar to my comments concerning disparaging remarks about one's views vs one's genetic makeup (choice vs no choice), I also think there's a difference between being disparaging toward a view and being disparaging towards an individual.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For whatever it's worth, I've seen the exact same vignette with the line at the end:

 

"Today, I became a Christian."

 

I've also seen it with: "Today, I became a Southern Baptist." Honest, I have. On the exChristian forum.

 

The last line is, obviously, the punchline to this humorous little ditty. Yes, you can stick any group label in there that you consider to be opposed to thinking and rationality. This vignette is simply telling us, through via negativa, to think about what we believe and why. But even here on TCPC where we definately have some smart people who have given serious consideration to their faith/philosophy, I occasionally read disparaging remarks against thinking, against the process of questioning what we believe and why. There is definately a place for "just being", being present to the moment and to our lives and the lives of others and sort of letting go of all of the "stuff" (to describe it nicely). Imo, we should trust God enough, ourselves enough, and life enough that we don't have to over-analyze everything we say and do. But there is nothing at all wrong with thinking about the basic structural paradigm of our lives and wondering how "on track" our mind is with our heart. We can make good and needed course corrections that way. If we don't, then our "unthinking" can lead to the famous seven last words of the Church: "We've never done it that way before." And down that path, there is no growth.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Its interesting that this thread should revive just now as it has, in light of a frustrating real life situation I've been trying to help someone deal with the last several days, that, at least in my opinion, examples some of the dysfunctional failure to think ideas through that *some* of us percieve as having become "characteristic" within the views of *some" political/social communites in our present society. Before relating that example, some points that see, relevant to me here.

 

To oppose, even outright attack, "different views" some others may hold is NOT to attack those others as persons, and as also pointed out, views, beliefs, attitudes, choices of behaviors is NOY comparable to any inherent "difference" in personal characteristcs.

 

To oppose, even outright attack, views, attitudes, beliefs as those things are acted out in ways to affect others is also not to attack anyone's rights to hold whatever belief they choose....it is when those things are acted out that I think others have a right, sometimes even a moral obligation, to respond to them. If someone holds a beleif different from my own, that maybe I'd think foolish or dysfunctional or whatever, that's really none of my business...but, how they may act out of them to affect others, or myself, is.

 

Now, to move this back to "thinking/not thinking" rather than as it has, drifted off into a whole 'nother area,that of choices of beleifs, poiltical affiliations, etc......Now, no doubt beliefs, views, etc, influence thinking, but that is somewhat a different matter from whether or not someone actually bothers to think through something before they act or set it forth as an idea that will affect others. And, I certainly agree that because this 'weakness' is inherent to human behaviors, its wise to examine one's own reasons and process in having decided someone else isn't thinking too straight, someone else's thinking process seems to be dysfunctional. But I don't believe we should, or should be expected to, just accept that there's no basis for any of us determining that it is ourself that might be the dysfunctional one in any comparison to another.

 

Reality is that there are times and situations in which anyone's thinking can become dysfunctional, whether as a primary and permanent state, or as a secondary state arising out of some strong emotional arousal that clouds good judgement and thinking. Of the latter, I've come to think of that state as one of "going stupid." Stupid here as from original context, stupor, not that of a degrading term applied to someone of literally impaired intellect or brain function. Even really smart people cat "go stupid." on occasion. Some might call it "temporary insanity."

 

Classic examples, being caught up in the emotional throes of a passionate infatuation, or anger, rage, or fear. But people also get caught up in patterns of dysfunctional thinking out of extremes of things like selfishness, greed, and lust for power. And, of course, there are those things such as being caught up in mob mentality, jumping on a bandwagon, etc, in which they let themselves "go stupid" in following along with a crowd without giving independent thought to what they are doing. And, I think an awful lot of this kind of thing is going on right now in our society, being both expressed in and whipped up by the present socio/religious/political climate.

 

Now, for the example of failure to think as I've encountered in the past several days. It pertains to (what I percieve as) irrational fervor within *some* segments of our present socio-political climate....the obssession with subjecting "others" they believe are "unworthy" of what they might get, to mandatory drug testing in contexts that, under a guise of something else more "honorable", is really about inflicting further hardship, inconveneience, ever humiliation on people already suffering hardship, an added condition that serves as just another hoop "someone else" has to jump through. The failure to think through the real consequences of applying such ideas, such as the simple financial costs of creating a whole 'nother level of beauracracy in our system, fraught with all the usual dangers of beauracracy, risks of dysfunction, causes a failure in common sense, that these things may neither address the "problem" they intended, which may not have even existed to begin with, and may create whole now sets of problems they didn't think about, that can just as well rebound and negatively affect them as much as anyone else.

 

I suggest you consider the example I just encountered, as it may very well affect any of you at some point, as well.

 

The present situation I've encountered involves the health insurance that has just gone into effect connected to my son-in-law's new job he began several months ago. This is no "discount rate" policy, btw, they are paying dearly for it. They have been struggling with trying to make use of the prescription drug benefit connected to that insurance, and encountering problems that made no sense. Both my son-in-law and daughter suffer reading disabilties, so trying to read and understand the problem clauses in the insurance policy as seem involved was where I got brought into it. My daughter has ongoing health issues, including being in remission in thyroid cancer, and having adult ADHD and bi-polar to a degree that severly impacts her life in not kept under control with medications. Not only does that particular prescription drug "coverage" (I can only use that term sarcastically at the moment) require prescription be filled through an affiliated "mail-order pharmacy", which process signfiicantly delays getting the prescriptions even filled, but after 8 days waiting for the 5 prescriptions, all for very neccesary long-term meds for my daughter, that never arrived, the insurance company dropped the bomb on them that filling ANY of her prescriptions, a monthly drug test will be required before they can be filled! So here we are, it is now 10 days since her doctor prescribed the meds, she still doesn't have them, and is told cannot have them until her doctor also orders a drug test, and the results of that test submitted to and approve by the insurance company. AND, this will be required for every month of refills for her, AND the cost of the drug test, since not ordered as "medically neccesary", is out of their pocket! Never having heard of such a thing, and thinking surely my daughter and son-in-law had this mixed up somehow, when they explained it to me, I got into it to both read the policy and try to work this problem out with the insirance company.

 

Outcome? A clause that sets the requirement of a drug test in every month for any family member is being prescribed any drug that is narcotic or subject to abuse, before ANY of that family member's prescriptions will be covered under the policy's prescription drug benefit. And the Adderall for my daughter's ADHD is on that list. She doesn't even have the option of paying for the adderall herself, with the insurance paying for her other medications. As long as she is being prescribed Adderall, theis requirement applies. And yes, that drug test is at the expense to the policy holder. Until that requirement is met, they will cover NONE of her prescriptions, even those critical to her thyroid cancer, and keeping it in remission.

 

Where did this come from? How did it happen? It is because among the concessions conservative Republicans won in negotiating their votes for approval of the Affordable Care Act, "Obamacare" as they like to call it, is this clause authorizing insurance companies to implement this policy in their prescription drug benefits, for the supposed purpose of controlling costs associated with drug abusers using the prescription drug coverage to supply their drug abuse! It was an idea that had significant support from within *some* segments of our present socio-political climate. *Some* people actually believed this is a good idea.

 

Is it unreasonable for me to say *some* aren't thinking their ideas through very well?

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

WS, a very good point. that you can find this same ditty ending with "Christian," "Southern Baptist" or whatever as well.....ANY time we get caught up in anything involving emotional fervor, such as going along with a crowd, an ideology, some irrational desire for something, that demands we suspend thinking, turn off our brains so as to accept without question, the result can be even very smart people "going stupid."

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be sure, there are times when just turning off the thinking awhile is not only comfortable, but even neccesary, to let the mind rest and restore, in the same sense sleep is neccesary to a let the body rest and restore. Though I think it still wouldn't be a good idea to catch your needed zzzzzz's while driving down a busy highway. :huh:

 

. Thinking about when its important to really think, and when we can let down and let go for awhile, is in itself a thinking challenge!

 

Jenell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

terms of service