I'm 16 and constantly thinking about the likes of advertising, marketing, consumerism, materialism, narcissism and particularly social media. All of these topics are very negative to me although I feel as though I am over thinking them and I've reached a point where I feel as though they're consuming me as a person. Is this me becoming awake to this and disobeying societal expectations of conformity or am I being too anti-social, if that's what you'd call it?

Is thinking about such negative topics on a daily rate harmful to me if I try to use them to inform others. I currently live with my parents and if I was to move out I say to myself and others that I would practice the likes of anti-materialism, which I guess is minimalism. Are all these isms just fear-mongering things that I should only research as a side hobby?

  • -isms are beliefs. Philosophy - love of wisdom - requires knowledge and knowledge can not only inform belief, it can reasonably counter belief. Know thyself.
    – MmmHmm
    Nov 9, 2016 at 22:44
  • Aren't isms therefore just a way in which people are divided then? Dividing thus allowing room for wars, protests and violence when beliefs are compared?
    – user24113
    Nov 9, 2016 at 22:47
  • 2
    If thinking about certain things is making you unhappy, and these are issues that are really out of your control... it might be best not to think about them. The mind needs rest (meditation or something of the sorts)... so that it's fresh when we do need to think about something. Nov 9, 2016 at 23:09
  • 1
    I think being young is allowing room for a lot of arrogance in relation to not having as much experience as others on this planet, but I feel as though a lot of people conform to societies expectations as that way of living is "easier". Regarding meditation, I was planning on starting it. Do you have any good sources?
    – user24113
    Nov 9, 2016 at 23:17
  • 1
    While this is interesting, the question cannot be answered objectively as it is written at the moment. Please see the help center to see what kind of questions we're looking for here. If you can reword your question to make it fit, please do so and we can reopen this question.
    – user2953
    Nov 10, 2016 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I would answer the first question with a resounding 'yes', in this sense: that overthinking isn't a problem because of the 'thinking' but because of the 'over'. The problem with overthinking is that it takes a good thing, namely thinking, and stretches it out of its natural role in our lives. Thought, when out of proportion with our life, is especially harmful. As one of my idols, G.K. Chesterton, once wrote:

To accept everything is an exercise, to understand everything a strain. The poet only desires exaltation and expansion, a world to stretch himself in. The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits (Orthodoxy).

Often times people who have a personality that compels them to think, however noble the act of thought might be, shall find in odd moments that they are in a desperate way. I had a bit of an epiphany a couple of months ago that there is a right and wrong way of being right. It is not so much the possession of truth that matters; it is the way that you go about carrying that truth, or if you feel that you have not yet discovered it, the way you go about handling that fact.

All in all, life is about having an adventure. And to do this, you have to come to a point where you can accept that there are some things that you cannot understand. At this point it is important that instead of giving into despair, you come to terms with this fact, and play the game of life anyway.

It is natural to spend our teenage years disillusioned with the structures of society. This attitude often finds its way in even matured individuals. Our culture propagates messages of individualism and rebellion. But I think that when you are at peace with yourself you begin to find that a large part of who we are consists in what humanity is. Instead of looking at your neighbor and judging them to be a part of some dull collective, we should begin to look at our neighbor and marvel that they are quite like us, despite the worlds of difference that we think exists between us. Compassion and love are the truest signs of a healthy person.

I would suggest to you that instead of focusing on whether your thinking is harmful or not (which is a pursuit that, ironically enough, is still dictated by an obsession with thought), take a walk through some parks and speak with people you would not normally speak to. In short, have an adventure.

  • @user24113 No problem. I wrote my answer as someone who struggles with over-thought. It isn't a problem that has an easy solution. It requires of us to do a bit of soul-searching in things that are not our own souls. We grow so accustomed to our typical behavior that we often can
    – Mithrandir
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:24
  • *can't determine what the cause is of our sense that something is quite right. Hope that my answer at least helped as a mode of advice.
    – Mithrandir
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:25
  • isn't quite right, not is quite right. Jeez I'm struggling writing this comment.
    – Mithrandir
    Nov 10, 2016 at 18:27

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .