You say you’ve met a girl who thinks really deep thoughts.
What’s so amazing about really deep thoughts?
I’m not a massive Tori Amos fan. I like her and have been to a concert or two, but I’m not obsessive or anything. I’m that rare breed of person who doesn’t have a strong opinion about her either way.
But these lines, from “Silent All These Years,” often play through my head when I’m struggling to get through the day.
No really, what is so amazing about really deep thoughts?
As someone who has defined herself through most of her life as an intellectual, my answer these days is “absolutely nothing.”
Deep thoughts are good. Everyone should indulge in some really deep, speculative, creative thinking on a regular basis. But are they really all that? Are they really any more important and noble than shallow daydreams about what you’ll wear to the next party or which Hemsworth brother you’d rather invite out on a date (jury’s still out for me)? Are they really any more important and noble than practical thoughts like what you’ll make for dinner tonight or how you’ll make this paycheck last til the end of the week? Are they really any more important and noble than switching your brain off completely and just focussing on the task at hand til it’s done?
I’m sorry, but no. No they’re not.
I am the type of person whose brain will go off on tangents and look at each situation from multiple perspectives and draw connections that aren’t immediately obvious all day long. While there are definitely benefits to this, I would say that a well-rounded, healthy brain needs discipline and moderation just as much as the rest of your body does. Indulging in Really Deep Thoughts 24/7 is as bad for you as indulging in chocolate 24/7 and, just like chocolate, the more you do it the more addictive and habitual it becomes.
I have noticed recently that often when I’m being particularly irritable with the girls it’s because they’re interrupting my daydreaming with their pesky needs (I mean, seriously? They need food again? Didn’t I just feed them, like, 2 hours ago..!?). My brain just cannot help itself. Any time I’m resting or doing some menial task (or half-assedly playing with my kids) it will scamper off down hypothetical corridors, expounding on philosophical or political theories, answering potential interview questions (you know, for when I’m inevitably famous for some reason), or constructing defences of my parenting or dietary choices against hypothetical opponents. Even if I try to relax and read a book my brain will take ideas off the page and run with them while I’m still struggling to concentrate on the rest of the sentence. This is why I generally steer clear of comment sections and other online arguments wherever possible now and regularly take extended breaks from social media. Those heated debates can leave my head whirring for days on end as I construct the perfect rebuttal (with citations, of course) for m0nkeybutt69’s pompous, misogynistic remarks.
(Love your work, xkcd)
Having strong, well-considered opinions about heavyweight topics is great. Developing those opinions through robust discussion and debate is great. Spending time reading and thinking about the “deep” stuff of life is great. But then so is spending time thinking about the mundane stuff of life, like housework, budgeting and grocery shopping. So is engaging with popular, superficial pastimes so you can feel connected with people through shared culture and experiences. So is just stopping all this thinking and simply experiencing the moment and getting shit DONE.
So sorry, but I’m not going to be impressed by intellectualism for intellectualism’s sake anymore. There is definitely a time and place for that sort of thing, but it’s not morally superior to any other aspect of life. Life is too short to waste on being deep and complicated all the time!
Really Deep Thoughts can take a number and leave when I’m done with them, thanks.
This post was triggered by the Daily Prompt from Nov 5 and is the first in a series of posts about dreamers and creativity for my Sunday Soapbox weekly feature. If you’d like to join me on my soapbox please link to your responses in the comments and be sure to pingback to this post.