Thursday, May 08, 2003

Academia Nuts, cont'd

The following definitions are taken from the Mirriam-Webster College Dictionary:

Worry - a)Mental distress or agitation resulting from concern usually for something impending or anticipated: anxiety b) an instance or occurance of such distress or agitation.

think - from (L) tongere - to exercise the powers of judgment, conception or inference: reason, 2a) to have the mind engaged in reflection.

Please keep these in mind while reading the following post..

Dr. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema thinks women think too much. Now, of all the problems we are faced with in society today, the last one I would have suspected was too much thought. Dr. N-H has done a study though. In her study she found that 57% of women and 43% of men are "constantly brooding about a boss' remark, an argument with a spouse or a child's C+ in school. Overthinking can lead to an increased sense of sadness and an inability to solve problems." This quote comes from a story in the Colorado Springs newspaper which apparently takes all of this seriously. However, keeping in mind the definitions above, most of us would call this situation worry, not thinking. Worry, if one takes the dictionary definition seriously is an emotional problem, anxiety, while thought involves the use of the mind -- it involves reason. We are describing two very different situations. One of which is apparently unknown to the good doctor.

But, in modern politically correct terms, it sounds better to say that one is overthinking, rather than that one is over wrought. It sounds better to encourage someone to stop thinking than to tell them that they are likely to pop off the twig from apoplexy brought on by an anxiety attack. You see, we are afraid to call things by their right name. This is why we can call partial birth abortion "intact dilation and extraction."

Presumably, the cure for "overthinking" is "underthinking" but it seems that there is quite a bit of that going on here already and no cure in sight. I have to wonder though, if this trend continues, if we won't soon have a generation of people living in this world who are so deluded as to the real state of things that they won't be able to think at all. Perhaps then we will have a state of reverse evolution and the term "Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" might be truer than we'd like to feel, uh, think.

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