Thinking …about thinking

A lot of times, folks will glimpse another person staring into space or they’ll encounter someone doing something they would never do or they’ll see the result of someone’s actions and say “What were (or are) they thinking?” You know you’ve done it. We all have.

Yet when the actual question is considered, the answer is ‘nothing’. It’s not that they weren’t thinking, of course they were. We are always thinking (even when it seems to the outside that we’ve shut off that faculty completely!). What we are not doing is thinking about thinking.

Stop to consider that for a moment.

In reality, most folks don’t really ‘stop to think’. The thinking part immediately precedes the doing part. When Bill Gates parents returned one evening after a night out, they noticed Gates had not turned on a TV or was even reading a book. Glancing around, his father asked him what he had been doing all evening. “Thinking”, young Gates replied. “Don’t you ever just think?” Sadly no, most people do not ‘just think’. They think as they do or think while they drive or think on the white porcelain throne, but they do not grab an easy chair and just sit down to ponder things.

When someone sees what they consider something stupid and asks ‘what were they thinking?’, the likelihood is that the creator was not thinking. He was doing. He’d been asked to figure a way to get people to notice his creation, build it for a fraction of what he, the creator thought it should cost and have it ready long before he proposed he could. He didn’t have time to ‘think’. Or, there was no ‘he’ but rather a group of ten creators, all with different ideas and the same type of impossible guidelines and the result was something none liked but all grudgingly agreed on. Or the ‘creator’ was simply an ‘implementer’ and the committee that decided on the outcome far removed from the ramifications of their decision.

The next time you’re sitting for three minutes at a stop light and the green light only allows the two cars in front of you to cross before turning red again, stop to consider what the programmer of the light had to work with as his operating parameters. Some town manager from the far side of the city who never uses the light wanted to appease some group of citizens or one important one and crafted this outcome.

Or perhaps, since you’re going to be there for another three minutes anyway, you could stop to think. It’s a thought!

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~ by Mad Prophet on January 24, 2012.

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