Overthinking – threshold of insanity
When I started my EveryNow blog in 2018, I began to reread and redraft every blog before publication to make as certain as I could they make sense to others and the ideas are offered naked and free of concealed meanings, obscure convoluted expressions, or other examples of my own muddled undisciplined thinking.
The application of this methodical analysis is pleasurable and stimulating, because results come thick and fast.
I tease out into the open the logical progression of my ideas, I replace fuzzy areas of meaning with highly precise alternative words or phrases. I turn passive verbs into the active voice. I use nouns in place of -ing suffixed gerunds. I simplify concatenated sentences by trying to reduce them to simpler shorter ones each with subject, verb, object. Shake-down like this lubricates meaning and clears understanding.
The main criteria I apply is to put myself in the ears and shoes of my readers. I test every phrase, sentence and sometimes every word against its possible receipt by me as if equipped with the ears and eyes of others.
I have good reason to take unusually potent delight in this role play.
Imagine me in my late teens and for most of my twenties. I was too self-conscious of the sound of my own voice, and even of my inner voice, to be able to comfortably remain in company or in companionship. As they left my mouth, the words I spoke returned not as an echo, but with an instant direct feedback. Words from me sounded disturbing, because I could only filter my understanding through my own understanding. I could not hear myself speak as others might hear me. If I imagined my words as they sounded to others, I would imagine a room full of heads swivel in my direction, effectively shutting me down.
I guess it might end up like this for a person in long-term solitary confinement. We are all of us first and foremost gregarious. The environments with the most damaging effects on our emotional and mental health are loneliness and physical pain. When there is only one voice to pay attention to, the inner voice compensates by taking precedence, because it substitutes itself for the lack of the company and conversation of other humans.
In my late twenties, various factors combined to reset to normality the harmonious and effective functioning balance of my attention between the significant and the trivial.
(I detail one such event in this blog: https://everynow.blog/2021/02/18/a-story-of-50-years-of-redemption-and-salvation/)
From the time around these healing, self-reconciling events, I can date the beginning of my reintegration with the world of life, love and productive work. I could say I rejoined society from which I had felt isolated, distanced, unable to comprehend. This marked the beginning of a sense of a gradually rising tide of joy and gratitude for life lived.
Before this it was living to love – amusing, mildly decorative, but shallow, ephemeral, lacking in lasting significance.
After this I was, and am, loving to live – broadly capable of sensing and reaching out into the search common to all human minds and hearts for spiritual, philosophical and essential meaning to the experience of being alive.