On thinking, part 2

By Daniel Stockman (Flickr: Paris 2010 Day 3 – 9) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, somebody had to (use an image of Le Penseur).

Back today with just a little more on thinking and feeling – and a few observations on the early rhythm of my thoughtvectors experience so far.

Thinking about thinking over these past few days has been an interesting meta experience. (And I’ll note here that it is something we rarely ask of our students, though we should).

I have enjoyed reading the posts of others in the community. (A quick aside on that rhythm part…although I know there is the syndicated ‘All Blogs’ location on the course website I find I am connecting first with posts shared to Twitter. Perhaps that is a function of my own time constraints where I am trying to engage in fits and snatches between work tasks…too much moving around to deeply dig into all of the feeds. I hope to do that, perhaps on the weekend)). I keep seeing words like ‘messy’ and ‘flow’ and ‘uncertainty’ and such in various posts I have read so far. I especially loved Gardner’s assertion that thinking changes you…your mind…the WAY you think.  I so identify with Giulia’s recognition of an array of possibilities that emerge from thinking too paralyzing to write about. There is Laura’s poignant story of thinking-feeling-knowing. Beautiful.

I’m still thinking.

I did have another observation/thing I wonder about…about thinking. For me, my thoughts and words/language are inextricably linked. Duh. Of course they are. I think… in words-mostly. I construct thoughts…in words. But, there are other ways of ‘knowing‘…aren’t there? Like muscle memory and playing the piano. …requires thinking, few words. Or sensing the mood of my family – something I think, intuit…eventually I NAME it something….but a different way of knowing. This is a messy description…but I wonder how much my thinking and the thinking of others with greater language facility than me think differently. Or do they? How much do we construct meaning, and eventually learn and know based on words/language?



2 thoughts on “On thinking, part 2

  1. A note on your quick aside, Cindy. I suspect (hope?) that there will be a cluster of folks on the overall #thoughtvectors network who are connected mostly through Twitter. That’s kind of an empirical question that we’ll be able to check with some simple social network analysis and data visualization.

    Glad you’re on this journey with us. Should be a hoot!

  2. As for the question of the relationship of thought to language, well, that’s a corker, and one that gets asked in various ways by many folks. I wonder if some kind of pattern recognition, and the awareness of that recognition, precedes language as a kind of proto-thinking. It’s probably our memories that truly particularize consciousness and thus make it useful, or distracting, or both…. And I dimly remember patterns of recognition from early childhood, particularly faces of course, but also music, environments, stuff that may be just up from, oh, canine consciousness but with strong hints of what’s to come.

    Some of the studies of the way babies pay attention are fascinating in this regard.

    John Medina’s “Brain Rules” investigates some of these questions. But then again, so do Vannevar Bush and Doug Engelbart (the latter spends a good deal of time on the Whorf-Sapir hypothesis, which has now been largely disproved, I believe).

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