Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Thought Experiments

Albert Einstein used the term, 'Thought Experiment' to describe what many, if not all, of my former teachers termed daydreaming. I prefer Einstein's description personally as it has a relatively positive tone.

With but a few exceptions I fear, most employers would disagree and rather see an employee hunched over their work, furiously abusing an innocent keyboard than glimpse them reclining and staring into space.

When I did manual labor in the past, I found that I could conduct many thought experiments throughout an average day, not needing my higher brain to lift, carry, pull, drag, cut, chop or mix. As a result of that, I was prolific at writing and a budding artist during that time. While I made a living with my muscles, I produced intellectual material with ease.

A strange thing happened when I ventured into the world of Software Development, a reverseal of the creative vs. the physical as it were, that quite caught me by surprise. While pouring my creative energy into designing and coding software, there was little time or energy left for writing or for art. As a result, the rough draft of a novel has gone unrevised, I have in my possession a half finished painting that will not be finished and I've written less in the past decade than I used to in a month.

Would I change this you ask? Emphatically, NO! Not for a minute, not for a second even have I ever thought, "I wish I was still working in a warehouse or a kitchen."

Rather than go back to manual labor to give my mind more time, I decided to simply set aside time for me. Not necessarily to be creative or do a certain task but just time to be. What happened surprised me. I didn't have any desire to just veg on the couch or play endless hours of video games, hell I didn't even want to watch Lost! No, I began to create again...to fill the time with nothing but thought, ideas streaming in from the ether. To my surprise, many of the ideas and concepts have increased my efficiency at work and made me a better software developer. That, however takes a back seat to what those few minutes a day have done for my personality. It turns out that not every attack must be repelled. Some comments and emails, when ignored, lose their relevance and power. This holds true regardless of how much vitriol is contained therein.

This post and the train of thought that spawned it are, as all thoughts, transient and relevant only in this instant. Stay tuned...things are getting interesting again...