Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Can Do It, Infinity!

I just realized something a little disappointing.

I was finding some comfort in trying to understand what's going on with the economy. Trying to understand something can be a distancing technique: something that you're thinking objectively about has less emotional impact than something you're just "going through." That's fine if it helps you "get through."

What I just realized is that it doesn't necessarily lead to a solution to the problem. It took me long enough to notice! Maybe I can understand what's going on with the economy but I can't predict what's going to come crashing down next or what that thing's going to take down with it. I certainly don't know how to turn the situation around or even slow its progress. Thankfully that's not my job and I know there are people with more training and experience and it's their job. But I like to figure things out! I tend to think that if I work at something I can figure out what best to do. It doesn't always happen that way.

It's kind of funny really. I have a feeling that I've been "solving" problems all my life by just thinking about them. In fact they've been developing and concluding and having their ripple effects with no help or hindrance from me - I haven't done anything to affect their outcomes at all! I just felt like I'd done something positive because I thought about it.

What's more, it wouldn't surprise me if at some point in my thinking process I got distracted and started working on some other, fresher problem without even noticing. Ha!

Maybe I just like thinking about problems and I don't really care if I solve them. Is there any value in that? Is it because I feel from the start that I won't be able to do anything about a problem so I might as well get some entertainment from it? Maybe it's a product of my education: when studying texts or artworks you tease out their elements but there's no problem to solve. I can blame the system! Or maybe that's why I'm better at English and art than I am at math - I'm not really interested in a solution, I just like thinking about the problem.

I wonder if this is a problem I ought to try to solve? Maybe I should think about it.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

If nothing else, what you're doing is a mental exercise that might just lead to something huge someday. Allow me to reference some overused cliches: You "think outside the box" and "see the bigger picture." You're "visual" instead of "linear."

"At the end of the day" you might not have solved anything, but in another 40 or 50 years, your mind will probably still be "sharp as a tack."

(I so lack originality.) :)