Again, thanks to my sense of procrastination, I had hoped to publish this blog entry last Friday whilst Saturday’s post would be… um… Saturday’s post.  


The next time I decide to… ah… cut short my walk home through the park, remind me to make sure I leave enough time to get home, eat and have three hours before bed. 

On a related topic, I don’t know what it is about the dark that brings out the philosopher in me but I tend to do a great deal of my thinking whilst out walking at night, in bed, in darkrooms… y’know, wherever there’s an absence of light.  I suppose that with a lack of external focus, cognitive functions turn inwards and thoughts turn to the intangible world; the world of theories and ideas. 

It starts innocuously enough – either a thought that has been rattling around my skull gets a full workover or I see/hear something which makes me want to analyse that action and pursue related ideas.  It can even be a deviation from the norm which makes me wonder what could be occurring.  As a walk lasts an hour or more, I can get a fair amount of thinking done and once every couple of months, I might be lucky enough to make a major breakthrough in reasoning.   

But I can’t seem to do this in the one place where I need to – at work.  The office environment (especially open plan) just isn’t conducive to sitting down and having a think.  Official advice is to put aside some “thought time” every day/week/whenever is appropriate but so few people actually do.  It’s tough to even attempt such a feat.  If people aren’t hollering down the phone, keyboards are being bashed, conversation drifts over the tiny desk partitions and the sub-standard air conditioning ramps up the ambient temperature causing drowsiness and an inability to concentrate. 

Dunno about you but I resent it when work thoughts intrude into my private life (though not the other way around, of course); I figure I’m paid a salary to put in an appearance in the office for approximately eight hours a day and thus that’s work time whilst the rest of my life is my time.  I had to give a presentation to another team on Tuesday afternoon and found myself rehearsing what I was going to say, making mental revisions all throughout the weekend.  Should I take the time off in lieu?  I’d probably be shot for even suggesting such a notion. 

However, one of the few meetings I do enjoy are brainstorming sessions where all sorts of whacky notions can be explored.  In one Star Wars book (during the Legacy of the Jedi “Nonology”), Kyp Durron explains the concept of the Teras Chi whilst trying to bluff Cal Omas over what precisely took place in a meeting.  In this (theoretical) construct, the Teras Chi is a nominated individual who should take up a diametrically opposing position to the flow of the discussions to ensure that all sides of an argument are considered.  I liked this idea so much that when I’m having a mull, I reserve part of my time to the Teras Chi idea just to ensure a problem is examined from all angles. 

And in another random thought, this decade promises to be quite an exciting one.  In an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation (The Neutral Zone), Data explains that as a medium, television dies out in the 2020s and whilst derided at the time, I cannot help but feel that he’s correct.  A quick glance at the viewing figures for TV channels has shown that the most popular programmes have taken quite a tumble.  Coronation Street, the most consistently watched programme of the 1990s pulling in figures of around 18 million is lucky if it can attract half that.  Oh I grant you, the rise of video gaming and multi-channel satellite has diluted the potential audiences to a great extent but I personally believe that so much television these days is just awful that people are switching off in disgust and pursuing other activities.  We’ll spend our way out of the current recession because there’s nowt on TV.  During my evening walks I pass many restaurants and cafes and see they are packed out. 

More people either out of their houses or doing other activities can only be a good thing for human progress as we’re no longer held in television’s enthral and people are more willing to do… stuff.  Mind you, as my friends are all in their late 20s to late 30s, is this more of a generational issue?  I remember my parents at that age being more socially active.  Then as they got into their 40s they watched more until they separated.  Perhaps not the best example to run with.  I’d consider junking my Sky subscription except it has its uses, not least when it comes to keeping housemates amused.