Gary Rinsem

Maximizing Minutia

This is from my book "What Color Is Red?" Most of the book was written at anchor in the Indian Ocean. There was nothing else to do for two months. Below is the opening to the longest chapter. We were reading many contemporary stuffed shirt philosophers. The influence shows here as I emulated their style. Style ignored, implement the message... message... message... Is there an echo in hear? Maximizing Minutia. Maximize the concept. Make it your mantra...

Introduction to chapter ten "Maximizing Minutia"

For a decade the people I asked were those for whom I held an emotional or romantic attraction. That's the wrong audience for this pursuit. I needed to ask people with a shared intellectual curiosity. My subject matter found that venue in the silent crew.

The subject is "do you think in words?" The answer must be no. You can't think in words. Words are nothing more than the mind converting thought into communication. Words most often fail miserably. You can't convey thought in words, only the content of thoughts. Even that much is difficult to do well.

Fourteen to twenty-four was the decade. I asked many people if they thought in words, but found nobody able or willing to discuss the subject. I quickly learned that their reaction still told me much about them. You only need to consider the implication of their answer. Yes or no or Huh? The answer doesn't matter as an answer to the question, the question behind the question is always answered nicely. It will tell if they think, or more accurately, if they know when and how they think. The answer tells if they've thought about thinking. The whole response can often reveal if the person is willing to think about thinking, and talk about it.

While in the company of twenty-two open and free thinking women, a lone man comes to see the universe from a different perspective. We twenty-three have been intent upon contemplating the subtleties in various aspects of the human existence. Our motto for intellectualism is "Maximizing Minutia." That's what we're attempting to do. No detail is so small that it can be overlooked.

With seemingly endless avenues to travel, philosophy offers a trip for everyone's interest. Twenty-three of us have each chosen different routes and constantly share the roadside attractions. Sometimes it's impossible not to get sidetracked, and my road recently sidetracked the entire group for numerous weeks. I'd brought up the question before, but it got little serious response. The question gains significance when put in proper context. "Do you think in words?" is the question which answering will define philosophy. Philosophy is nothing more than "thinking about thinking." In modern philosophical study, the first thought examined should be the nature of thought. Do you think in words? Under the minutia spotlight it's a much deeper philosophical study. Like the sub-disciplines of determinism, there are many points to consider and it's this chapter's intent to minutiate them. Yes, I think that's a new word.