The greatest challenge is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Deep Thought

Las Cruces Style: Is deep thought part of your day? - Las Cruces Sun-News

Las Cruces Style: Is deep thought part of your day?
By S. Derrickson Moore

LAS CRUCES — I was thinking about all the changes (mostly for the better) I've seen in downtown Las Cruces, which got me thinking about thinking.

I don't think we do enough of it.

Most of us have routines that help us get through life.

In the lifetime of most Baby Boomers, through the Me Generation, and Gens X, Y, Z and iEverything, we've added to the trinity of food, clothing and shelter as the basics of survival.

A lot of us would add routines like prayer, meditation and exercise to the list of essentials for optimum spiritual, emotional and physical health and well-being.

In recent decades, for many, 30 minutes to an hour or more of daily exercise and regular periods of quiet attention to one's soul and spiritual life have become as routine as brushing our teeth. We all recognize, even if we fall short, the importance of spending quality time with family, friends, pets and colleagues. Social media and online time are musts for most now (and we give at home AND at the office).

You'd think, given the state of the world and our relationships, that we'd have earmarked some special time each day giving thought to thought. My 2012 resolution was to allocate some time to thinking and planning. I was actually looking forward to it. I've always enjoyed pondering and thought it would be fun and virtually effortless — something that would come more naturally than meditation, for instance. (If you don't believe me, try banishing all thoughts for 10  to 20 minutes in a lotus pose.)

But a dedicated daily thinking period is not as easy as I thought it would be. The logical time seemed to be first thing in the morning at the office, where I'm an early bird and there are fewer distractions.

But there are e-mails to deal with, phone calls to answer, interviews and photos to schedule and now, daily Tweets to compose. (I'm crediting that to my thought time account, since it takes a certain amount of thought to learn new skills, research and decide on Tweet-worthy subjects, and boil it all down to a concise 140 characters.)

I hope I'll never resort to Tweeting personal breakfast reports. There's too much small talk in the world, I think, and I don't want to add small Tweets to the minutia overload. I've given this a certain amount of thought, which led me to establish a back-up file of profound thoughts and quotes for slow-inspiration days. That's an example of how a little thought can make life better for everyone.

And while I value thought for thought's sake, purely and in solitude, I think there's a place for thought in society. Some of the most rewarding ideas can come while brainstorming with bright and loving friends and creative colleagues. True, it doesn't seem to be working for bodies like Congress these days, where the emphasis seems to be on the storm instead of the brains and think tanks have tanked, run aground or sunk after a tsunami of ill will, political expediency, obsessive-compulsive spin doctoring and, yes, thoughtlessness.

Recent studies have shown the quality of all tasks can suffer when multitasking, but there are some times when you can combine deep thinking with aptly named mindless tasks, like folding laundry. I catch up with reading and research on the treadmill and often write my columns while I'm swimming laps.

But don't count on coming up with a plan for world peace, a cancer cure or a better mousetrap while driving, attending a crucial staff meeting or any other place where cell phones are banned. And no matter how advanced she gets, Siri can't do all your thinking for you. You have to think up the questions, which many philosophers think is the most crucial function in life.

Thinking is a do-it-yourself project.

We — and the world — would all be a lot better off it we devoted more time to serious thought. 

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments — and profound thoughts — go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.