The man who couldn’t think

The man came up to my son and I outside the theatre tonight and asked me about the hockey gear I was holding. I explained it was a gift to my son who would be playing hockey in May. No, the man said, hockey was ending. I tried to explain to him that it wasn’t. He listened very hard, and I could see from his eyes that he was trying to piece this together, but in the end he came back to telling me that hockey was done. He could not think through the additional information and work it into his understanding of the world.

When I was younger, I would have said that the man talking about hockey was deficient somehow. That he wasn’t normal. I believe now that this ‘normal/ not normal’ thinking is deficient and when I think that way, I am not thinking myself.

We are all struggling to understand the world we are in with the facts we have and the abilities we have. We all have varying capabilities to understand, and each of us has our own weak spots. I know I have sometimes been the man who couldn’t think. I have been the man who, when told sometime obvious, could not process it like others could.

We all think what we can, with the brains we have, the memories we retain, the facts we are given. There comes a time when each of us runs up against some limit of our brains, either temporally or permanently. There comes a time when we too become the person who cannot think.

Thanks for reading this

3 responses to “The man who couldn’t think

  1. gossipgirlnetherlands

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  2. Another great post. I think in a lot of ways our current views toward mental illness mirror humanity’s earlier views toward physical illness (e.g., leprosy). I like how your post links (what most people would assume is) mental illness to a more common experience.

    • smartpeopleiknow

      Thanks, Tom.

      It’s easy to say: group A has mental illness and group B does not. Certain forms of mental illness are in that group. But other forms of mental illness are really a wide spectrum of how our brains work, and different people are spread across that spectrum.

      How we think and how our brains work is fascinating, and it is better it is understood, rather than feared or stigmatized. IMHO, anyhow.