Dec 15, 2009

Counter-intuitive thinking stabs me in the eye and then makes my life a whole lot better

Here's my new favorite reference source: The Encyclopedia of Counterintuitive Thought. Okay, so it's not an encyclopedia. It's a list - a pathfinder, if you will - of bizarre ideas put out there by people like the Freakonomics guys that includes things like "Drugs are good for you" and "Ann Coulter should be a feminist icon." (I think the person who wrote the second one had maybe already taken the first one to heart, but whatever.) On the list is this entry: "Conventional wisdom is right." That one gave me a stabbing pain behind my left eye, because if conventional wisdom is right then all the counter-intuitive ideas have to be bullshit, which means the whole list should spontaneously combust, right? But then the list is all about how counter-intuitive ideas give the finger to conventional wisdom, so how could the one about c.w. being right be right?

So then I realized that grad school hasn't done me any good at all so far, because I can't even wrap my mind around a simple logic problem without wanting to puke. Which is where I was before I started grad school.

But here's the point: the list had some take-aways that I will definitely use during the rest of my schooling, and maybe even well into my career.

1. Being smart doesn't get you ahead. This will help me stay zen-like and all shiny happy when I blow a final like I did last week in Management.

2. Watching TV and playing video games make kids smarter. This is lucky, because we just bought our kids a Wii for Christmas, and now I get to play it with them and increase my GPA at the same time.

3. Plagiarism isn’t a big deal. Surely this means we no longer have to cite anything in any style, which can only be a blessing for all concerned. Except maybe the authors. Cry, cry. World's smallest violin, etc.

4. Critically acclaimed authors are terrible. I will remember this if I ever work in a public library and have to do reader's advisory. "Put down that Zadie Smith book right now! It's crap! CRAP, I tell you!"

5. Delaware is one of the country’s biggest problems. A big help with the whole graduation/relocation thing.

6. Impulsiveness is superior to careful consideration. What a relief, because all these years of careful consideration have gotten me nowhere. So what if I spent my time doing what I loved and married a wonderful guy and had fantastic kids and found friends I adore and got into a great graduate program because I had a stellar undergraduate record? Clearly I'll do better being impulsive. Maybe even reckless. I think I'll go out right now and max out my credit card.

7. Laziness should not disqualify one from being president. Impulsive AND lazy. My future library boss will never let me go.

8. Civilization should be destroyed. Well, that one just goes without saying.

And here's one more: Amateurs are better than experts. So now I can be all superior and snarky to my professors but I'll still get A's because I'll be making myself so smart with video games and TV. But it won't matter because being impulsive and lazy will trump being smart. And when civilization is destroyed who the hell will care anyway? Especially if you live in Delaware. Then you'll be all like, "Woo hooooooooo! Bite me, world! I'm not the problem. YOU'RE the problem. And now you're DEAD!"


Katy said...

I'm practically laughing too hard to type this comment. Awesome post, PB - except that I happened to really like White Teeth! Just sayin'.

Becky said...

You always have such an interesting way of putting things. Love the humor and love your brighter-side perspective.

Bill said...

Very funny! And so true! I'm running impulsively right now to buy a flat-screen TV and a bazooka to do my part to end civilization. Oh, and my first stop is definitely Delaware.

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