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#151875 12/13/05 11:07 AM
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IMO, this thread is one of the most interesting we have had since the Time thread. I know that when I have something to write, whether an essay, poem, letter, story, etc., I see it as being in a pot on the backburner of my mind, simmering away. I write better on a keyboard, incorporating the rhythms of the words, the construction and the keyboard. I don't know if I explained that very well, but that's the best I can do. I also work on the pottery wheel without being aware of thinking, just feeling the clay "speak" to me.

#151876 12/14/05 12:16 AM
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Heidegger wrote something called "What Is Called Thinking." God help me, I never read it, 'but someone I know who has' told me that Heidegger says, and his Crenolin, Hannah Arendt agrees, that it *is* possible that someone who never wrote might still be the greatest thinker, but no one would ever know. Of course, we got a good chuckle over that. But I guess that makes him jut the opposite of the late Wittgenstein who, I suppose, would say that such a statement doesn't mean anything. All of which really does have something to do with what we've been talking about, or think we've been.

#151877 12/14/05 11:20 AM
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I suppose a lot of the difference of opinion on whether we think in a language is dependent on what our definition of thinking is. If you believe, e.g., that what we do when we direct our legs while crossing a stream on stepping stones is thinking then, no, we'd best not be thinking in any language or we'd slip and fall on the first stone. With this definition any linguistic connection is just following along with the non-linguistic thinking we do. If helen or Elizabeth Creith were to stop and vocalize about what they were doing when knitting it might resemble what TEd was doing when he was deciding where to set his saw.

#151878 12/14/05 12:52 PM
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Intellectuals who propose that "someone who never wrote might still be the greatest thinker, but no one would ever know." fail to acknowledge, that they wouldn't be here except for ancient people who could 'think' like animals, --and were successful hunters...

i suspect (having all the grace of an elephant in a china shop) that if i had to hunt food to survive, i would be dead in six months (if not sooner!)

It seems evident that many illiterate people function very well in our society, (but how many of us have the skills to survive in a stone age society--or even a simple hunter gatherer society?

When life depends on the ability to make twine, and fashion the twine into an effective snare, or into a net to catch a fish, or into a foot strap so we can shimmy up a tree trunk to harvest fruits or nuts growning out of reach--which of us would survive.

We have reached a very comfortable point in society, we don't need basic survival skills, (and many of us don't have them!)

who is more clever? the first being who realized that plant matter could be split, and then piled, and then woven into a mesh to make a net (and successfully harvest fish) or any modern day intellect who spends hours parcing a paragraph?

We can easily pooh-pooh 'simple machines' like the wheel, the lever, the screw, the pulley. but these remain, wonderful technological acheivements, made by, (for the most part) societies that had no written languges. and i do think writing/reading plays an important part of 'thinking' in language.

I don't think the screw(as a tool) grew out of 'discussions' or focus groups, or 'teams' of designers with talking points and bullets. It came from thinking--and the person doing the thinking was thinking in images.

and i think we(US/UK/western european culture)often fail to acknowledge or value this sort of thinking.

but (to para phrase a quote) societies that value their philosophers more than their plumbers, will soon find, neither their ideas (or their pipes!) hold water.

#151879 12/14/05 01:51 PM
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Re: Connie's statement I write better on a keyboard, incorporating the rhythms, I am wondering whether anyone else gets caught up, as I do sometimes, in the rhythmic sound of the keys being struck? If I start thinking about this, I invariably start making mistakes as I try to keep the rhythm going.

As to how I think, I'd say mostly words, but there are also "pictures", some of which are ineffable. (hi, var.) With enough effort, though, I can put anything into words because for my job, we had to. For ex., we couldn't put something like, "He looked upset", and leave it at that; it had to include a description of facts, such as "His head was lowered and his mouth turned downwards at the corners".

As to looking at pieces and imagining the whole--I absolutely cannot do this! I need to see the whole thing, or at least a picture of it, first; and then often I can "see" the parts in my head, and how they fit. (Speaking of things I am relatively familiar with, that is: say, toys or furniture. Definitely not a car engine!)

#151880 12/16/05 03:35 AM
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You can prove to yourself that it isn't you who is doing the thinking.

(1) Think of something that you can't remember; a name, a place, a etc.
(2) Tell yourself that you need to remember that something.
(3) Stop thinking about it.

Later when you suddenly remember what you couldn't remember earlier, ask yourself who was it that was doing the looking for the answer.
_____________________________________________________________________

Speaking of "thought processing" this guy is terrible at integration but astoundingly amazing at word retention.

Nasa tries to figure out real-life Rain Man's brain
Robin McKie, science editor
Sunday December 11, 2005

The Observer

It took Kim Peek just over an hour to read Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October. Four months later, when asked to give the name of the book's Russian radio operator, Peek quoted the entire relevant passage.

It was a prodigious feat. Yet for Peek - the real-life 'savant' on whom Dustin Hoffman's character in the film Rain Man is based - such recall only gives a glimpse of his powers. He knows 9,000 books off by heart; he can direct people around US cities from maps he has memorised years ago; and he has total recall of the dates of all major world events.

Now studies of Peek's abilities are being used by scientists to shed intriguing light on the human mind, and to open the way for men and women to exploit far more of their intellectual potential, as the latest issue of Scientific American reveals.

'Kim's story tells us that the human brain is far more flexible than we had thought,' said Darold Treffert, a psychiatrist and co-author of the Scientific American paper told The Observer. 'Like many other savants, he has suffered disability in one area of his brain, but has compensated by acquiring remarkable new abilities in other areas. This shows we all have considerable hidden intellectual potential. By studying Kim and other savants, we can learn how to tap those powers.'

This potential has been of particular interest to Nasa - currently carrying out lengthy electronic scans of Kim's brain in its attempts to understand how astronauts are using their brains while on deep space missions.

Kim - now 54 - was born with a malformed cerebellum, at the base of his brain, and lacks a corpus callosum, the thick bundle of nerves that normally connects the brain's two hemispheres. As a child he was assumed to be suffering from severe mental retardation. Only later was his condition found to be more complex. He had superb abilities at arithmetic but could not deal with the abstractions of mathematics. In 1988 he was given an IQ rating of 87, well below average. Yet some of his subscores were in the genius bracket, while others plunged into the mentally retarded range.

Kim has poor physical co-ordination, cannot button his shirts but has remarkable memory power and has started to develop as an accomplished pianist in the last two years. This latest development - in a man in his 50s with large chunks of his brain missing - is particularly significant, added Treffert. 'His brain is still adapting to his condition, even in mid-life.'

One key to understanding Kim's condition is that his right and left brain hemispheres are not connected. Our left brain, in which our linguistic prowess has its centre, tends to dominate our right. That has not happened with Kim, however, suggesting the possibility that his right brain has been allowed to develop more freely and reach a greater potential than normal.

Kim displays little personal interest in people outside the arithmetical details of their lives. When I talked to him by phone in his home in Salt Lake City last week, he asked for my birthday. I told him. 'Ah, you were born on a Sunday, your next birthday will be a Sunday, and you are scheduled to retire on a Thursday,' he replied, correctly.

'He remembers 98 per cent of what he reads,' said his father Fran. 'It's like downloading data on to a hard disk - except his never crashes.'
_______________________________________________________________

Last edited by themilum; 12/16/05 05:24 AM.
#151881 12/16/05 05:31 AM
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>ask yourself who was it that was doing the looking for the answer.

you were, of course.

the answer to this "riddle" is suggested in your own "rain man" story. when you can't recall a name or some thing, you've probably just lost the neural pathway to that memeory cell; and while you're busy doing something else, your brain establishes a new(?) pathway.

#151882 12/16/05 04:05 PM
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Quote:

>ask yourself who was it that was doing the looking for the answer.


you were, of course.

the answer to this "riddle" is suggested in your own "rain man" story. when you can't recall a name or some thing, you've probably just lost the neural pathway to that memeory cell; and while you're busy doing something else, your brain establishes a new(?) pathway.




You got the right string, tsuwm, but the wrong yo-yo.

The underlying point of my so-called "riddle" is that the conscious "self" is but an instrument of a non-lingual biological system that dictates our interactions with the surrounding environment.

It follows that we who think we are smart, are but a collection of cells operating under a biological imperative without any conscious control by our psyche. Agreed?

I guess I'd best stop here because it is considered "taboo" to talk religion on this "word restricted" Awad message board.

#151883 12/18/05 11:54 AM
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Quote:

Quote:

>ask yourself who was it that was doing the looking for the answer.


you were, of course.

the answer to this "riddle" is suggested in your own "rain man" story. when you can't recall a name or some thing, you've probably just lost the neural pathway to that memeory cell; and while you're busy doing something else, your brain establishes a new(?) pathway.




The underlying point of my so-called "riddle" is that the conscious "self" is but an instrument of a non-lingual biological system that dictates our interactions with the surrounding environment.

It follows that we who think we are smart, are but a collection of cells operating under a biological imperative without any conscious control by our psyche. Agreed?





I can't agree. The conscious self is often not the most efficient way of dealing with the surrounding environment - cf earlier posts about survival. Why would it be maintained - or developed - by "a collection of cells operating under a biological imperative"?
I deal every day with people who tell me "my snake likes me". Snakes, now - there's an animal with a set of biological imperatives. They have a brain which deals with the four Fs - fight, flight, feeding and - um - mating. They do not have the right kind of brain to like anyone. They cannot behave altruistically. People, on the other hand, are capable of being emotionally moved by another's experience, or even by a fictional one - something that I can hardly see as being a possibility for a collection of cells operating under a biological imperative.

Connie, what you said about pottery and the wheel - this makes complete sense to me. It's what I meant when I was talking about the transition from having to think with my head when doing pottery to thinking with my hands. Same thing happens with spinning and other physical activities - once learned, they are in the body, not the brain.
My brother, who flies light aircraft, told me once that one factor in large aircraft crashes is this: flying is really a right-brain activity, like, say, pottery. It's body-knowledge. But large aircraft have a multitude of numerical dials and readouts, which require left-brain activity. In a crisis there is a split-second when the two parts of the brain "argue" over who has control. I believe this, partly because when I am fully into a "body-knowledge" activity like pottery, spinning, drawing, I find it hard to speak or follow a conversation, although I can hum or sing.

I agree - a very interesting thread. I think a lot about how the brain works, and about how people and animals think. I've said from time to time that I keep certain animals and not others partly because I can "hear" my chosen critters thinking. I know what they'll do, and I have a good idea of their moods. (Snakes have a sixty-cycle hum.) Of course I'm not really hearing them think, but observation and learning help me understand and intuit their behaviour.

#151884 12/18/05 04:25 PM
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I deal every day with people who tell me "my snake likes me". Snakes, now - there's an animal with a set of biological imperatives. They have a brain which deals with the four Fs - fight, flight, feeding and - um - mating. They do not have the right kind of brain to like anyone. They cannot behave altruistically. People, on the other hand, are capable of being emotionally moved by another's experience, or even by a fictional one - something that I can hardly see as being a possibility for a collection of cells operating under a biological imperative.



You are certainly no cretin, Elizabeth Creith, you are, in fact, one hundred percent right...in as far as you go. Yes, our current way of thinking about ourselves assigns us altruism but run with me here for a minute and I'll move you one planet closer to the Sun.

First out, I'll assume that we both agree that our brains file information by some manner of association, so permit me to precondition your belief system by bringing to your forebrain certain associated ideas that you probably already accept.

* Einstein imagined riding on a beam of light and saw Relativity.
* First, man saw the Universe revolving around a stationary Earth, then later he saw the Earth spinning around the Sun, then, almost yesterday, man saw the Sun circling the galatic center, then....
* Question: Which entity goes forth through time; the bee or the hive?

Now, ready? Here is the denouement.


Because we are communities of cells that move about in a eat-or-be-eaten environment and can only continue through time by interacting with other communities of our kind, we evolved a language to help us fight off the bears (so to speak).

Our language initially served only to transfer survival information to other colonies of cells like ourselves and vice versa. But from this humble but grunting begining, came systems of culture that protected us from bears and other systems of culture that were lacking in refinements and soon the social system became more important than the isolated celluar colony.

In summary.

Our biology drives the car; our sense of touch, taste, smell, hearing, and seeing, are our sensor gauges; and our language - which begot our sense-of-self as a tool - is merely the mechanical power-train and engine that moves us through the streetways of our Culture.

It is good to be born into a good Culture.

Oh yeah, I amost forgot, I tendered the colored snake like twofold. One, to say Merry Christmas,
and two, to point out that words like "like", like all words, are merely functional and have no ultimate meaning.

Last edited by themilum; 12/18/05 10:36 PM.
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