Doublethink: What’s Up With the Blog’s New Title?

Doublethink and Schrodinger's cat
I’m adding a picture of my brother’s cat because 1. she’s adorable, 2. I mention Schrodinger’s cat, and 3. pictures of cats make everything on the internet better.

I hate titles.

Well, I love clever, well-written titles, but I can never think of them on my own.

And I think it’s pretty difficult to title a blog because you want to be clever and interesting while encompassing all of the stuff you want to talk about, but it always just feels like you’re being lame.

And I knew I wanted to write about books, but the problem with writing a clever title for a book blog is that book bloggers are word people, and have already taken a lot of the clever blog title names. So, what is there to do?

Reference a book, of course! When in doubt, quote a classic, because it makes you seem smart and classic books are pretty awesome.

So, I started Googling books I’ve loved in the past. I started with the title “Words, Words, Words” because I really love Hamlet, and there’s a scene in that play when Hamlet is asked what he’s reading and he replies, “Words, words, words.” I loved that scene because it’s funny and so clever, but it’s also sort of just Hamlet (pretending to be or actually being) crazy, and that wasn’t totally what I was going for.

So, naturally, I looked into good quotes from 1984.

When I saw the term “doublethink,” I knew I liked it. Doublethink is the idea that you can hold two contradictory ideas in your mind at the same time.

In the novel, this is a way that people are kind of mind-controlled because they are told to believe different things that don’t make sense, but they blindly do because they don’t want to get caught by the Thought Police.

But I think the idea of “doublethink” can be used in a different way. It often fits the way I like to look at literature because there can be so many different and complex ways to look at the world, including sometimes contradictory ideas that makes equal amounts of sense to you. Sometimes I’ll start to make an argument on a book, and come up with an entirely contradictory idea at the same time – and both seem equally valid. Like, for instance, if Hamlet is genuinely crazy or putting on an act.

And I think sometimes the author wants readers to have that Schrodinger’s-cat-type moment of crisis, where you don’t know whether the cat is dead or alive until you probe the question further and really discover what your truth is.

These paradoxical answers to confusing questions make you ask: what do I actually think about this? And the author won’t give you an answer, or really a solid way to figure it out, because these are the ideas that are messy and need more than one story to figure out for an individual person.

(In this link, it says what I’m talking about is cognitive dissonance, but I believe you can have that moment of crisis and find a solution in contradictory ideas, rather than only feel disconcerted by that contradiction – if that makes sense?)

So, I thought, even though some people might think I’m into Big Brother mind control, if I explained my reasoning for the title switch, it might give more insight into what kind of discussions I’d like to start on this forum and the way I like to think about novels.

Let me know what you think of the change (or my philosophy behind it) in the comments below!


2 thoughts on “Doublethink: What’s Up With the Blog’s New Title?”

  1. Well, I don’t know what your blog was called before, but I love the idea of doublethink in internalizing books, and especially with Hamlet. I’ve never been able to decide if he’s mad or faking – both, neither? Totally doublethink. Great blog title.

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