Humans get pretty cranky when they forget the original reason behind why they’re working so hard at something. I do. But it’s easy to have happen, since working on anything that involves time, effort and thinking generates a lot of data, and that data winds up falling like a thick blanket of snow over the original thought.
I marvel at people who can somehow see through all that snow/data and re-acquaint themselves with their original mission. I tend to get lost in the minutae. And like anything, it’s the minutae that actually builds the concept that becomes the idea that leads to that ah-ha moment. Without all those tiny particles of data, no concrete ideas could form about anything. To me it’s like the neural form of what coral do, laying down each little bit of calcium data until there’s a reef.
But it’s sooo easy to get seduced by that data. One can procrastinate till doomsday about finalizing the results of all of that work, and I think that’s because it’s far easier to keep hunting for more information than to make sense of it all, in the end.
It may be that some people are simply better at being information hunter-gatherers, while others can look at that data and miraculously see patterns while everybody else sees noise. But like eddies in currents, a lot of that data can form sub-patterns – sometimes those are useful and tithe to the whole, once you’ve had a chance to look at it from far enough away. But other times they just lead you down the garden path and completely derail your ability to come to a rational conclusion.
What am I getting at? Dealing with any form of complex data breeds its own language, and by that I mean the internal language each of us creates in our own minds relative to the data we’re creating or discovering. We develop a short hand form of internally describing nodes of information, and I personally have to careful of this, because my short-hand can wear a groove too deep to then get out of easily, if I have to alter my thinking about how I’m going about something.
Having said that, it’s a wonderful feeling to completely immerse myself in complex software, or a ballet class, or writing a piece of music – anything that consumes my mind fully, and makes time completely irrelevant. That’s not lost time, it’s time spent in another dimension.
ANYTHING that engages the mind to the extent that almost all other stimuli are ignored should be viewed as a precious gift. I’m not advocating drugs, I’m talking about ideas.