Philosopher Charles Taylor coined the term “immanent frame” in 2007 to describe the rose-colored glass through which late-modern secular cultures see the world. Through the immanent frame, the world looks fundamentally knowable on its own terms. Cultures that believe this are fairly convinced they’re better and smarter and more evolved than their ancestors, and that if there’s something about the world they don’t understand yet, their lack of enlightenment is a function of time, not metaphysics. The very concept of an “intrusive thought” doesn’t fit that worldview, because to be “intruded upon” implies not being in total control. This is what makes people with OCD seem so pitifully modern: we don’t believe in “intrusive thoughts.” We believe we are in control!

Which means those thoughts aren’t just thoughts. They’re us.