Tuesday, June 16, 2015

First Sight and Second Thoughts

In the Discworld books about Tiffany Aching, Terry Pratchett did something that all authors can do, and he did it wonderfully.

He put into words things that people feel and can't articulate.

First sight and second thoughts are abilities that the character Tiffany possesses. First sights is an ability endemic to the witches of the Discworld possess. It's the ability to see what's really there, instead of what your brain tells you should be there (that's Second sights, and is what normal people have).

First sights lets characters spot inconsistencies in the world, and the willpower that anyone who's encountered Granny Weatherwax before has experienced is usually enough for said character to step in and stop the elves from conquering the world/the hiver from eating minds/winter from destroying the world/whatever happens in I shall wear midnight.

Second Thoughts is defined as 'the thoughts you think about the way you think'.

Tiffany also possesses Third and Fourth thoughts, which are thinking about the way you think about the way you think, and thinking about the way you think, about the way you think, about the way you think. Tiffany also sometimes walks into doorposts, according to the wiki.

Why does this warrant conversation?

I would like to know if second/third/fourth thoughts have a real world equivalent.

Because that's something I do and it's useful and terribly inconvenient at the same time.

See, I'll want to do something, but will be thinking about how many people that will impact, and how they'll think and feel about the situation, and what that will mean, and then how I should act as a result.

And I'll think more about every action, which the ripple effect will have impact the people around me, and how they think, and what they do, and how I'm supposed to think about that.

It's an endless analysis. On the one hand, it allows me to care for and look after people in small ways that might not be considered otherwise.

On the other hand, I can't ask for help because I'll be aware of how much it inconveniences people, or just be aware of how much of an impact any action makes, as though I'm trying to navigate my way across a floor covered in eggshells, and I'm trying not to break any of them.

Second thoughts also leaves you slightly disconnected from any interaction with people. You're always thinking about how you're thinking, and often are too busy trying to decipher someone else's facial expression and words to actually respond the right way in the right amount of time.

I don't say 'right way' from a manipulative or insidious perspective. Not at all. It just takes a while to process stuff, and because you're thinking about how you're thinking and how you're acting, you become aware that there is in fact a proper way to react to any situation.

So if you ever notice me lagging in a conversation, just bear with it. I'll get there eventually.

Where it becomes more important is when I get overwhelmed with things or need to ask for help. The knowledge of how I'll impact and inconvenience people becomes paralyzing, and I'll end up trying to do everything myself rather than bug someone else.

So yeah. That.

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