The Over-Thinker’s Manifesto

Rorschach drawings have reached
this odd point of being infinitely interesting while generally viewed as
bullshit. And I mean that in the best of ways. Seriously. 

At the root there
is a belief that we project our inner ‘selves’ onto our outward perceived
environment. So when we are met with ambiguous inputs/painting/scenarios, we
dictate the meaning based on our subconscious. Hence, we get these beautiful, one-to-one ratios of ludicrous claims like: This inkblot is two people having sex, or
that inkblot is a battle between light and dark. Thus, I am a paraphiliac who
really likes Lord of the Rings.

But you and I both get this feeling
that this is not what is really at work when we look into oddly uncertain
things. Or at least my tendency is to not jump to a single answer/representation
but to ‘Over-Think’ things … again, again, and most likely again.

And, just to be clear, I limit this
column to speak of my own mind and my methods of panic, but I hope and assume
that these words find others who think similarly. Maybe even all of us here
work this way to an extent. Or maybe just a few. Oh, but please be more than a
few; otherwise I’ll have a harsh awakening in a psych ward—where I’d finally
get to meet this Rorschach character on equal ground.

My thoughts are always grasping for
answers in one way or another. It is a push and pull of conclusions and
questions that creates movement and ambition. I draw conclusions based on my
own experience, I am skeptical of all statistics and I ramble aimlessly until
the only vision of a starting point, or origin, is a vague outline in the
distance. It sure looks interesting, but I have no clue what it really was,
is, or will be later.

I think about thinking until those
thoughts dissect themselves.

I’ve probably taken both too much
and too little psychology. Resting right in the middle of ignorant
self-consciousness, I am constantly touching the edges of my ignorance only to
see that there are no edges and that edges are just metaphors for something
more comforting: a model for an un-modelable country.

Wait … where was I going with this?

Oh yeah: thinking about thinking.
Or something along those lines. I’ve grown tired of metaphors. They always fuck
things up right up to the end of an argument or train of thought. Because we rely
on them for everything. “I am so close to you,” I heard someone say the other
day. “I want to be a warm person,” another student appealed to a friend. Ugh. These metaphors tear me up on the
inside, so much that I realize that a concept truly can’t “tear me up on the
inside” without metaphoric possibilities. Damn.

And even beyond that I dive deeper
(fuck, another metaphor) into questions of why and how things come into the
positions they now hold. Social justice issues deconstruct, from real people
interacting into odd theory. Physical science is less applicable as my models
grow wider in scope. Even my PE class begins to serve a greater purpose of
health, endorphins and habitual exercise.

This is truly ‘Over-Thinking’ things.
A web of half-finished ideas that all start to sound oddly linked together.
Finding the links between ideas and paths becomes an academic pursuit.
(Think about the Divine Comedy of Rorschach and friends holding desperately to a
single thread.) Documenting the links is artistic expression. Modeling and
describing the links is theory in its highest form.

I think about thinking, not in the
sense that I sit there actually thinking about my individual thoughts, but in
the sense that I look mindfully at the places my thoughts have taken me. It
produces a kind of fear. A ‘mindful fear’: mindful of the mind and its
ignorances and intelligences. All of those moments I have acted upon
assumptions I now know were so nakedly false.

Even now I am within at least 100-plus theories of the world—and excluded from a few, I’m sure. These theories written
by others tell me who I am, where I’ve been and where I am headed, summarizing
all of these rambling thoughts into a series of polite variables. The things I
am to others. The things with which I will prove myself to others. And these
theorists search for the constants.

And of these endless factors, I
wonder if I am variable or constant. Or under what circumstances I happen to be

Conner Roberts PO ’16 is a philosophy and religion major from a few places scattered around the world.

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