Reflections Diary 1: Thinking About “Thinking”

I think the ultimate reason I could not (and did not) end up with my former girlfriend (of six years) is due to the fact that like it or not, I could not be happy living a more surface oriented life.

I say “surface oriented” not out of my usual pedantic-narcissitic urge, but because I need a concept to make a distiniction between ‘superficial,’ and surface oriented.

We think of superficial people in a certain way and being hueristic in itself, and not a concept; we interpret it to be the black and white version: this would be something along the lines of the characters from Clueless with Alicia Silver Stone (1995). If you’ve never seen this movie, the Alicia Silverstone character typifies a certain preference for light hearted level thinking (if any), a sort of hard bound emotionalism tied to material acquisitions and in the end acting more like an animal, so-called. Meaning that any concepts beyond a myopic sense is null and void at the end of the day.

I would arrive at Samantha’s mom’s house (my ex) every Christmas to enjoy a wonderful spread of festivities. There was a great sense about the place. Great tree (I happen to love Christmas)  good food, positivity in the air even… There was even good conversation the first few times until I realized something was amiss the next time I went.

Conversation of a certain type once again: productive thinking, mean I suppose (though I cringe to say it) –intellectual style conversation.

I guess I come from a background that values conversational thinking, that is, an interactive and often collective process of elimination by trial and error. One thing I notice about many so called intellectual people is that the “so-called” part has to be noted because most are simply relaying information at each other. We must be reminded that relaying information is not a process of thinking, but of mere retrieval. Retrieval is counterfeited as thinking all the time though.

Thinking must by necessity involve a process of elimination and a potentional goal or solution to be actual human style thought.

Imagine if we considered thinking in terms of the way society generally accepts it, applied to man’s earlier survival. Imagine trying to figure out how to set a trap for a boar we must eat or starve that night and having people say things like “Well, we don’t need to always return to this subject again.”

Or think of it in terms of spitting out what we’ve heard. “Well, Joel told me that the way to set a trap is to nail in some net and rope and then tie it together from tree to tree.”

And instead of saying things like “How will this done?” we each blurt out our own memorized recitations:

“I always thought we could just put some net down and the boar could walk over it.”

“I don’t know about that, the boar walks forward, so set the net on its side.”

“Wait, what is a net?”

This is a perfect analogy to the equivalent of how most regard logic and thinking today in terms of culture being mainly concentrated against the “soft sciences” or “the liberal arts.”

I’m being a little extreme. There was a process of elimination at the Christmas dinner table at Samantha’s quite often between myself her mother and father. But what I consistently find peculiar is that it never tended to go past a certain point before the same point is merely reitterated if not completely restated. I’ve met very intelligent people who do the same thing too though…

There are people on the other hand, like my fiancé now, who are learning computers and do not really tend to put as much of a limit at all, on their discovery of new and better ways. Their brains learn, period and force them into adaptation.

But I have found to my utter continual astonishment, that most are not actually thinking very much.

This is strange because if we consider this seriously, we must acknowledge the human zombie factor. What if in reality, some people, or rather most people are actually less advanced humans. (Maybe collectively, in our public unconscious we know we are becoming more stupid and this is the way our subconscious reveals it: Zombie movies.)

And I  mean less advanced to the point of where they could be considered like the other animals. I know the culprit: culture. This includes cultural relativity, a concept of which I now have much interest.

Einstein said that relativity could analogously considered as equivalent to being in an oven for a few seconds versus being out in the open cool air for a few minutes and regarding the time to be vastly different in length. Obviously the oven is a longer perception of time.

He said “Put your head in a hot oven for a few seconds. (Something like) Observe how time passes. That’s relativity.”

At face value, it seems simple. We are so much more highly cognizant of everything around us when there is a threat present and imposing itself. Hence we are living in a sort of different space and time. I realize that the culprit in terms of epistemology and cognitive  science, the final answer to my initial hypothesis is actually probably a type of cultural relativity fueled by latent inhibition, the organisms tuning out of “extraneous” data from the surrounding environment. (The later here is an entirely separate explanation.)

When we think about things, the next time we come in contact with it, we tend to notice more, even and sometimes especially if our conclusions we mostly wrong. So if one’s habit is to think, is to reflect, is to know more and more and revise old conclusions, even ‘right’ ones–we will naturally be living in a completely different reality than other people. Like the heat from the oven causing you to notice more about what’s happening to you. Not only to the length of time, but to what we take in to begin with.

And if we come in contact with other people who are opposite to this, ignorance itself is a standard of life. An ant lives for the purpose of building more ant hills. The human survival trait that distinguishes us from the other animals is progression via our ability to make abstractions. We are the water snake able to know that the water is receding because we can build a mental model of the what at this yet small rate, something will be in the future. A water snake actually, does not because the increments are too small to notice and no abstraction of a model of the future is made, and then it is too late.

The more we do successfully in our head, the better the boar trap will be. But it is shortsighted to conclude there.

The better we will all be, but not because we can build more boar traps, or even better boar traps, but to not require the boar in the first place.

Or any number of progressive alternatives. Notice the “inside the box” progression of the “needing the boar” to “building the boar trap,” to “catching the boar,” to “eating the boar,” to “we need another boar,” rather than “let’s eat something different and perhaps easier to catch,” or “let’s kill enough boars to warm our skins.” This is like comparing Apple to PC. Ha. I mean, think outside the box people, jesus.

Do not fail to notice the point at which another’s mental process of elimination stops and conclusions start, and thinking about that subject ends. And if conclusions are not revisited, pay careful attention to just how much new information someone takes in, or not.

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