Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I Think ABout When I Think About Thinking

I am thinking that thinking is a silent conversation that I am having with myself. If my thoughts are connected sensibly they make sense. If they don't I am in danger of falling asleep. Sometimes I am thinking in a different way, maybe: The conversation that I am having with myself is going on at the same time I am having a sort of inner conversation with other people. I am meaning conversation with myself in the sense of dialogue as I am sending and receiving signals with sources around me.

For example, in church last Sunday the conversation was more complex than an inner dialogue. As the Men’s Chorus was singing Standing on the Promises I was thinking as part of a more complicated set of relationships: that with the director, the people closest by, the patterns of sounds moving in harmony, the musical notation, the organ, and the people in the congregation, as their responses to the musical presentation were noticeable to me; moreover, my responses to my noticing their responses were noticeable to me. All that constituted a parallel processing that included awareness of the singing inside of me, my pulsings and vibrations, as well as sounds I myself was making.

I am thinking now about what I was thinking yesterday. I am not in a church. I am at home, thinking about the sensations of my fingers typing. I am able to think without words, and want to get better at that. I remind myself of the book Thinking in Pictures, by Temple Grandin, remembering that there are advantages to being able to think in moving pictures. I am wondering if it will be easier to remember for example a song, if I translate the words into pictures, a closer connection than words, a living-out of it, complete with pictures, sound and integrated nuanced emotional experience. The emotional experience will give valence to the process, functioning as much more than a mnemonic aid. I say that because it will be associating the words with what they symbolize as well as rather than being stuck at the level of the symbol. A little deeper into the chain of ideas, remembering Korzybski’s “The map is not the territory!” Now I am thinking about the exclamation point after territory. That is a symbol for the excitement that accompanies the idea expressed.

Now I am wondering, which is now becoming more obviously a synonym for thinking, whether I am getting closer to anything of value relevant to the topic of What I Think when I Think about Thinking. I remember when writing about this in a previous exercise, that I remarked about possibly suppressing most of what I am writing. I can be writing about what I think about when I write about thinking about thinking, and on and on. But is this getting anywhere? I won’t know until I stop writing and review what I have written. What I have done with all this is write down as accurately as possible what I was thinking as I wrote. The editing I did was to more accurately express what I remember that I was thinking when I wrote it.