Wallflower Words is a series of Proof (v.) posts dedicated to beautiful but under-appreciated and seldom-encountered words. Those that are never invited to dance at the parlance party; those that deserve more exposure than is currently afforded by contemporary trends in popular English. This is their turn on the dancefloor.
The Word: Koan (n.)
Huh? In Zen Buddhist theory and study, a koan is a paradox proposed for the purpose of confounding the mind into an unthinking stupor, whereupon the stupefied mind becomes so stupefied as to enter a whole new level of conscious, awakened thought.
And? Well, at 3.28 on a Tuesday afternoon we could all do with more mental stimulation, lest we be trapped forever in The Long, Dark Tea-Time of The Soul.
We might also like to remember that there is a moral to every story.
We might ALSO like to remember that animated introspective thought might never produce a finite answer.
And I need a name for that process of suddenly realising the answer to 14-down in the cryptic crossword a full 5 hours after I began puzzling over the clue.