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The Tinkered Mind
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September 16th, 2019
When there’s tension in the room, nothing is better than a well-timed joke. Even if you’re all alone.
Perhaps especially when you’re all alone.
When a group of people are suffering under such tension, they are all dying to laugh out of a kind of social awkwardness. It’s almost as though we’re a little nervous about what everyone else might do under such pressure. In fact, people are so desperate to laugh that the bar is set pretty low for a laugh. An excited crowd paradoxically has a pretty low bar. It seems that no matter what, we’re always willing or wanting to laugh.
When alone, however, there’s none of that worry, rarely such excitement and we’re generally just driving ourselves nuts over something that probably won’t matter too much in the long run. Alone, we’re prone to building temporary echo chambers that can turn into torture chambers.
Then a friend or loved one enters the picture and gets a sense of what’s going on.
Lighten up, will ya?
Most often, such a prescription merely functions as a fuel to dig ourselves into a deeper pit. We’re often likely to take it as an insult as opposed to sound advice.
Someone could easily and with great justification pull the same card on this platform. Hundreds of episodes of wanna-sound-smart-babble.
If it was all really so smart, why so much?
What? . . . not smart enough to come up with something concise?
Perhaps Tinkered Thinking is simply the scenic route to some culminating conclusion that someone smarter has already phrased in language that’s more elegant.
Or perhaps it’s just a babbling scenic route to nowhere.
Perhaps we assume humor is good because it literally makes us feel good.
Certainly that’s the most obvious benefit. But there’s another.
Taking something too seriously is akin to pouring concrete into our perspective. Our thinking is rigid, almost forced, with no room to breathe.
Making fun of the situation, even ourselves is an exercise in a different kind of thinking.
Lightening up is how we get a different perspective. It’s how we drift up into the sky to get a bird’s eye view on things, to see the larger situation, and a fuller context.
If we can see how ridiculous it is to write and podcast for a faceless void on the internet, or with any work we might undertake, we can then play with it.
And here’s the crucial, overlooked point: play is the most efficient way to learn.
This might not seem self-evident to a serious adult with responsibilities, but let’s ask the question:
what sort of person has the MOST to learn in life?
And they play in large measure to learn, and this process of learning is fast and enjoyable.
Fairly ironic – funny really - that we systematically grind this superpower out of people with the school system.
So take a cue from children and lighten up. We’re all in a pretty ridiculous situation here on this tiny crumb spinning through the universe. Have fun. Not because it feels good, but because you’ll move faster, learn more efficiently.
The only requirement is that you can’t take any of it seriously.