Sunday, March 30, 2014

Justifying what you think

For a moment, you can fall into the trap of interpreting this blog title in a sort of chronological sequence.  First comes the justification - the theory, evidence, reason for thinking a particular way; then comes the thought part.  Who would be so foolish to start with the thought and end up with the justification.  But I think that is exactly what people do.

I've caught myself.  An idea pops into my head.  Usually uninvited, unanticipated and without warning.  I believe that is the clearest evidence of my adult ADHD.  I can't stop them.

But later, as I mull over the idea, I seem to find all kinds of exciting, self-affirming, confidence inspiring justifications for it.  Recently, it finally dawned on my just how backward that is.

Rationally, we should all have ideas that are based in truth, or at least facts.  But it seems to me that more often than not we have an idea pop into our head and we try as hard as we can to justify it.  Exactly backwards, but I think that protects our self image somehow.  How smart could I claim to be if bad ideas popped into my head.  I'm brilliant!  I must have only good ideas!

Of course, that's stupid.  Random ideas are probably randomly good and bad.  So I need to recognize that abandoning many of them is necessary if I'm not going to waste my time attempting to resuscitate ideas that should have been dead on arrival.