2013-07-30

The Case of Overthinking

filed under research and writings.

Architecture can be seen as more likely a verb, an act of doing built environment design that requires sophisticated process or set of methods including research, reading, observation, ideation, drawing, planning, management, execution and so on. With that being said, one major factor always play important role - Time factor. In the whole spectrum of generating architecture, one may choose to spend much time on any one of the stages of work, but when it comes to deadline where time-frame of work given matters, one has to commit the work given. In such complex activities as design, thinking is fundamental, but often, being seen as either overly done, or not being done quite enough. When project idea is not being think through, it may appears flaw, shallow, and pieces of ideas being scattered instead of being connected and contextual. When project idea is being overly thought, project progress may be disrupted and be persisted to move forward while the unimportance is emphasized.      

But can one really overthink? The answer is yes and no. Thinking has been an essential cognitive activity of the brain of human being whether in conscious or unconscious stages. While that being said, any emphasis on unnecessary idea in one project as a result of overthinking may not be always true as the notion of unnecessary is completely relative and not true from one observant to another. People like Einstein, and Newton would possessed different thinking perspectives and patterns that most would regard them as unnecessary at all time. Perhaps, this is one of the reasons that there is no more like-minded of Einstein and Newton to think a problem through and to do it with principle of 'thinking in own way'! 

However, the way of overthinking can be defined with time factor, where for instances, a progress of a design activity is being restricted to move forward due to activity of staying in the same question or point of interest. This is where time spent doing thinking while progress does not excel. When one spends most of the time thinking and not being productive and progressing within the time-frame given of a project, it is most likely a result of overthinking a problem or question in that particular context. 


Progressive Thinking and Productive Thinking
Ideas can be written down to allow connections being built through time in conscious, or even unconscious condition during any time of the day, even seemingly non-designed thinking related activities, eating or sleep! An act of recording ideas evolves extraction of the importance within the design context and constrain while giving mental impression on the ideas that would be used to construct connections needed to give idea and solve the design problem. The process of thinking, especially incubation can be a result of mental stimulation and reconstruction of idea according to everyday concrete reality that one being exposed to, and this does not restricted to things that mingle around a given design problem, but the seemingly unrelated things that would serve as part of connective tissues of the solution eventually! Questioning can be as useful as being creative by involving oneself in an environment which is out of his design problem bubble or comfort zone. Unlike recording ideas, questioning can be a gesture of micro constraint-setting by oneself on his own, within the time-frame of project given, and as well an act of divergent or convergent rationalization over design problem.  

To overthink an architecture design problem is an act of progress restriction within time frame given, given that most of the architecture being a manifestation of context which is tied to time factor. Without the concept of time, there is no such thing as overthinking, and to think through a problem with genuine ideas requires discipline and mindset that allows progressive and productive thinking, and most all, to think in the pattern of oneself by his own.