Of course, there’s a lot to be said for thinking things through, but sometimes ‘plunging-off’ forms of thought have great value. For one thing, they can get you started on a journey, whereas if you thought it all through you might never begin.
A few times I’ve embarked on some venture and was later grateful to have lacked the foresight to know what was involved, or I’d have been overwhelmed at the outset. Striking out in blissful ignorance of what you’re taking on can be liberating, and how much human discovery would never have occurred if there’d been a start-to-finish thinking things through?
‘Yes, Adam, but have you thought it through?’ The answer would invariably be no. I never think things through. I never have. I never envisage the end before I plunge into the beginning. I never clarify the whole. I never sort one version of something from another. I bank on instinct, allowing my nose to sniff its way into the vacuum, trusting that somewhere or other, soon enough, out of the murk, something is bound to turn up. I’m wedded to this plunging-off form of thought, and to the acceptance of muddle it implies … Thinkers-through would never go overland to the islands. They would never expect to find the islands there.’
Source: Adam Nicolson, Sea Room: An Island Life (London: Harper Collins, 2013 (2002)), p. 101
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