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I often go off in a lateral tangent



personal • 02.07.09  

I was thinking about how thick I am. Thick in the sense that it takes a while for me to process information. It seeps in slowly. I would say however that I'm porous thick as opposed to opaque thick. The seep does get in there eventually. And once it has it is fairly well processed. The things I understand I understand quite deeply. I have a good feel for what I know.

This contrasts your more standard type of thick, the opaque kind, where information bounces off and doesn't penetrate. It is also different to the minds of those who process quickly. They have a sharpness really quite unlike my slow-burn instrument.

Where does lateral thinking come in here? Maybe lateral for me is simply getting it wrong. Because I don't understand things right away I go off in some other direction. Is that all lateral is: missing the point? Even so it's still interesting. By the time information filters down through my processes all kinds of cul-de-sac influences have weighed in and altered the original input making it different to what it would otherwise be.

So even if lateral is getting it wrong, the error is good in a way as it produces the altered take. The error is part of what makes for potentially more original thought. It helps me arrive at another synthesis.

Those I know who are quicker on the uptake tend also to be more conventional I notice. They absorb quickly with less effort and then they're on to the next thing. Knowledge tends to be off the top off their head without alteration. Their work is often a restatement of what's already been laid down.

I’m not saying I am especially original. Just less conventional than I would otherwise be were I not so thick.