Not overthinking is one of the ever present internet memes. I’m going to have a little bit of a rant about this. Step back now if you aren’t in soap-box mood, because this drives me nuts. I see precious little evidence of overthinking, and a lot of evidence that a lot of people amble carelessly through life doing far less thinking than is a good idea.
We need to think. We need to consider the consequences of our actions and the way our behaviour impacts on others and shapes our own future options. We need to consider our lifestyles, and the choices available to us rather than living in a reactionary way from moment to moment.
Spontaneity can be good, but the person who has no idea of their inclinations, feelings and intentions and no awareness of their unconscious and its impulses, can end up doing some bloody awful things spontaneously.
No past, no future, only the perfect now is probably fine if you’re sitting in a monastery surrounded by other people who are dedicating their lives to peace and enlightenment. If you are living in the world, this whole logic cuts you off from the consequences of your own actions. And sure, that can save us from awkward feelings like guilt, shame, and responsibility, but that’s a really questionable outcome.
Any tool can be used badly. If we use our rational minds to imagine every possible thing that could go wrong, or to over-interpret every tiny thing said to us, then yes, we will drive ourselves and the people around us crazy. Thinking deeply is a tool to deploy with care, and to develop the wisdom to know what to really dig into and what to let go comes from… wait for it… actually thinking about things.
In the meantime, how about we think a bit more about the ways our culture functions. Let’s think about the economic structures and who they are killing, let’s think about how the drive for profit destroys the planet, let’s think about human suffering, and non-human suffering around the world and how we might change that. Let’s think about the consequences of our lifestyle choices.
You’ll be happier if you don’t do this. You’ll be happier if you refuse to look, to know and to consider. You’ll be happier if you can pretend nothing is ever your fault or ever your responsibility. Underthinking is all about the ease of not dealing with the consequences, and the happiness that comes from being oblivious. It’s a happiness that kills. Underthinking is how we get to be the zombie apocalypse. It’s long past time to wake up.