It’s a dilemma everyone faces at some point: You’re facing a dilemma. And you’re just not sure how to confront your dilemma. And you have a lot of interesting, introspective thoughts about your dilemma. And then, you’re confronted by a new dilemma: Should I write up my fascinating dilemma in a dilemma-centric thinkpiece?
Before you write a thinkpiece, stop and think: does the world need to hear your thoughts? Will it be a better place once you’ve spoken? Or will it just be a self-aggrandizing exercise in narcissism? Don’t forget: thinkpieces can garner backlash. If your thinkpiece makes you sound self-centered, people may think that you’re self-centered. Yikes. Think about it: Maybe you don’t want to write that thinkpiece after all.
On the other hand, now that you’re thinking about whether or not you should write a thinkpiece, don’t you think that other people think the same thoughts about thinking? What if your thoughts on thinking could provide thoughtful guidance to someone else who is thinking thoughts about thinking? Could your thinkpiece about thinkpieces help someone to sort out their own thoughts about thinkpieces, and perhaps even embark upon their own thinkpiece thinkpiece?
On the first hand, do other people think at all? Whoa. Getting pretty deep here. Think about it: certain philosophers argue that we can never be completely certain that other people have thoughts and feelings, because we can’t experience other people’s thoughts and feelings. So, will your thoughts and feelings on thoughts and feelings help other people sort out their own thoughts and feelings on thoughts and feelings if they may not truly have thoughts and feelings at all? When you think about your thinkpiece on thinkpieces from that angle, it’s barely worth thinking about thinkpieces on thinkpieces at all.
Of course, the opposite argument could be endorsed by the same philosophy: if your thoughts and feelings are, in fact, the only thoughts and feelings ever to have been thought or felt, then your thoughts and feelings are, in fact, the only thoughts and feelings worth thinking and feeling. Sure, we can assume that other people have thoughts and feelings that they’re thinking and feeling, but when it’s just an assumption, don’t you have an obligation to prioritize your thoughts and feelings, which you know have been thought and felt? By shouting in the void, could you, in fact, fill it?
In the end, we all have to stop and think about thinkpiece thinkpieces before we write our thinkpiece thinkpieces. There are many good arguments in favor of thinkpiece thinkpieces, and many good arguments against thinkpiece thinkpieces. So when thinking about writing a thinkpiece about the quandary of writing a thinkpiece, stop and think: what do you really think?
Gwen Lawson wrote one of the first ever thinkpieces though now it’s more of a thoughtpiece.
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