Moldy Thinking, Beer of the Month Club, and Valentine’s Day

In the 18th century, the Rationalists argued that you could think your way through any problem. It’s a worldview that suggests a sort of mental purity, or at least the potential for mental purity if you’d take the time to put your thoughts in order. If I were one of these Rationalists, I might imagine our minds taking on the sort of architectural magnificence of the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, or the Parthenon.

Everything has its place, and it adds up to a stunning whole.

What if our thinking is less magnificent than we think?

When I imagine my psychology (and yours), I envision dank caverns, twisting stalactites, and moldy walls — like the catacombs you might imagine while reading Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.”

Our brains are where information goes to be corrupted — even murdered — over time.

I think this is why we have the expression “making mountains out of molehills.” Those problems were molehills before our minds kicked into overdrive and created a mountain of moldy thought.

I think this is why we often find that it difficult to defend our outrage when challenged by others.

I think when we discuss our ideas with others, we “air out” our minds when they say “that’s bullshit.”

For example, when we do guided meditation at the end of yoga class, I am always surprised to discover that I am clenching my teeth. In my mind, I was sure that I was completely relaxed.

In marriage, we are given the opportunity to talk to someone all the time. But as we get to know our partner better, it seems like less air is let in. Instead, our minds join together, which we often envision as romance, but in reality it’s just a moldy mess.

My wonderful wife gave me a membership to a Beer of the Month Club for Valentine’s Day. The first shipment just arrived and we’re thrilled to try out all these new and interesting beers. Somewhere on the outskirts of my mental catacombs, a voice is saying “Valentine’s Day was weeks ago! And this isn’t very romantic!”

It could be that my wife and I share a moldy married psyche, but it could also be that I’m making mountains out of molehills.

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