Observations on how you think...

As the title suggests, I have observed the way I think (which is quite unimpressive lol) and was wondering if you guys could try to explain how you think, ie. when reading or contemplating philosophy.

Whenever I read my mind seems to almost totally ignore the meaning of the words that I'm reading. However, when I'm very calm while reading, I get sensations and feelings related to what I'm reading ie. when I read about the will to power I feel a pleasurable and painful swelling sensation in, or going to, my head. This sort of thing happens to me very often.

Another time I was reading an introductory book on Sartre. I was reading something about good faith and bad faith (it's been a while, so I can't remember what it was all about), and since I was in a less 'feeling' sort of mood, I likened this 'faith' thing to multiplication of positive and negative numbers. This sort of thing tends to happen a lot also.

As a result, I tend to read something, and then not think consciously about it. This has helped me with Nietzsche, whom I could probably never tackle on a more conscious level without the aid of severe learning... but I have had reasonable success with him by not thinking about his work consciously. Things just pop into my mind all the time.

I'm sure that this is all kinda vague, but I'd appreciate comments (non-sarcastic, and the like), and attempts at explaining how you guys 'think'.

Sounds like you might have a tumor...

Oh wait... non-sarcastic.....

When i read i think the words as though i were saying them, and if they are significant enough, i remember them. Otherwise i don't.

If my mind is on something else, my eyes go over the words, but i dont think them, and thus don't know what i "read."

I def do not get any swelling, painful, pleasurable or otherwise. Also i'm not sure what you mean by the term "severe learning." The two words don't seem to go together.


With severe learning I mean that I would have to force myself (not pleasurable or desirable) to learn many things that I'm probably not interested in. For example, I started reading Kant's critique of pure reason... I didn't last long... I would consider it severe learning if I sat through the whole of that book.

BTW, the swelling feeling is sort of like the sensations you get when meditating.

Anyway, thanks for replying.

I don´t have any insights to contribute, but this is a fascinating topic.

I agree too. I feel as though i have a contribution, but can't really... think of it. (although it was a bad joke, i'm serious about it being a good idea).

I've been studying a (small) bit of cognitive science lately, mainly on learning theories.

I am of strongly opinioned that the program vs. association argument (ie. Kant vs Hume) is moot, since both are likely to be taking place. But i'm definitly a fan of Chomsky and his contemporary, Pinker, who are STRONG advocates of cognitive programming being responsible for a great deal of what goes on in your mind (in their cases, with language specifically).

I've been wondering if it is actually possible to increase one's IQ (whatever that means, i don't mean just a score necessarily).

G-theory would seem to indicate that it is possible, and not all that difficult given the right tools, but (i'm far from a cognitive expert) it seems as though this is not a currently accepted theory?

Obviosuly fluid and crystiline intelligences seem to BOTH prevail in the mind. So the key is in developing their pieces, which i think is possible (although memory may be a tricky one).

Cognitive recognition speed can be developed (it seems) as well as all the other factors like spatial awareness, etc. However, positive SAT/IQ scores and strong academic performance are not good indicators of success or happiness in life (statistically). So what is missing between the two, i wonder... I think imagination, as well as athletics both need to be in place for success (ie, creative awareness, and self awareness). Clearly i'm a strong beleiver in the classic "renaissance man" idea.

When i really focus on the topic, my "thought" seems to become very mathematical. I often try to break it all down into it's component parts and discern my progress.

I would really like to think better ;)


"I don´t have any insights to contribute, but this is a fascinating topic."

Glad you think so, Dogbert. :)

Vermonter, seems you answered the question I was going to ask next... Which was, what exactly should I look into to learn about how thinking works, and all the different types of thinking, and if I suffer from some sort of mental illness/disability. So thanks. Cognitive science, eh?

Also, my 'change in thinking' has been a gradual, and somewhat stressful, process. I can only hope that I'm not actually losing my mind. :D

I used to read, like you said, by follwing the words consciously, but if I do that now my mind goes blank. I've also noticed that my active vocabulary isn't as large as what it used to be, and my memory is more eratic but so much sharper when it works.

"When i really focus on the topic, my "thought" seems to become very mathematical. I often try to break it all down into it's component parts and discern my progress."

Dude, do you see where multiplication, adding/subtracting, division, 'to the power of', and the such, occur in arguments? That's what I meant about when I saw multiplication while reading Sartre's good faith/bad faith idea. Ones actions are an adding of a positive or negative number to one's other actions, and then multiplied. Answer's, or the sum, range from completely negative (lol, 100% bad faith), completely positive(100% good faith), and all the varying degrees of positive-negative and negative-positive answers. Seriously, that was what was happening in my mind, and the meaning behind the actions only gave me an inaccurate value of varying degree ie, small good faith, large good faith, etc. No, I'm not joking/lieing about this.

If anyone else has something to add then please go right ahead.

BTW, does anyone know what section of science deals with how the brain, and all its electric pulses, work. The general field is what I'm asking for... I'm interested in that too, but don't know what it's called...

Well, biochemistry, and cognitive sciences are good places for you to start.

The learning theories i discussed above were from psychological texts which could help you as well.

I have some of it written out downstairs, i'll go grab it now and see if i can offer any more.


What seemed to interest me the most was the Theory of Primary Mental Abilities, which seems to be a contemporary G-theory. This theory breaks down thought processess into categories:

Verbal Comprehension

Verbal Fluency

Arithmatic Computation

Perceptual Speed

Inductive Reasoning

Spatial Visualization

Of course these things adress primarily sheer thought, rather then necessarily, the ability to apply it in creative or useful ways.

This seems to be a pretty dominating theory, since good chunk of SAT's and IQ tests are comprised tests for these.

Knowing what i know about the nervous adaptation to exercise (my perticular area of expertise) i can tell you that the nervous system adapts to demands imposed on it, and for precision adaptation to occur, the demands must be HIGH. Motor units function best with high demands and a lot of practice. It stands to reason that nervous function in the brain is similar. And similarly, the system requires a great deal of recovery time. Remember all the incidents at big corporations like IBM when they tried to make their workers "multitask" and a bunch of people snapped under the pressure.

Essentially, my recommendation is to focus on those skills INTENSLY for short bouts and allow for lots of relaxation (mentally and physically). Make sure that some of your intellectual time is devoted to creative art (music, painting, drawing, etc) and that some of your time is devoted to athletics.

Just my own conclusions ;)


Thank you, vermonter!

I like lifting weights and doing body weight excercises for my physical component. I have a passion for writing fantasy stories (I read greek mythology at the age of 7-8, and that sorta stuck with me...), but I haven't done much writing at all lately. Might be a good idea to get off the comp. and do 'other' stuff. :D


Check out the "if you had one wish" thread. I mention a fantasy story that i wrote in there ;) I used to write and draw a lot. After that i got into music, and i was in a band for quite some time (as the vocalist).

At one point i tried to schedule my time such that i gave a value to each activity i did (ie an hours worth of whatever got me a point) and i needed to accumulate X number of points per week. I think it was like 5 points for each: Academics, Athletics, Art, and Socializing (since too much school or gym time would often preclude much needed social time, i threw that in). 20 hours per week of personal improvement.

Of course, certain things have more then one component and so can be counted twice ;) For example BJJ is both athletic and social (any team sport has a strong social component as well).

Maybe a system like that can help some people set goals and stay motivated.

Anyway... i may be going off topic. Sorry if i am.


Your points system is a great idea! I'll give it a shot.

neurology. if your in college you should enroll in a physiological psychology class, that will give you a nice overview of how the brain/body/mind works on a physical level. interesting stuff.

Thanks for the input, scaf.

I'm not in college/university. I just look things up on the net and learn what I can.

How do you like the system so far?


Hey, vermonter!

Well, I've been pretty busy lately with studies (I'm doing computer programming) but I've been distributing my free time to reading, writing, tv (instead of computer), and socialising a bit more (I really like my peace and quiet though). So while not entirely keeping to reaching the allocated points goal, but instead just striving, I must admit that I do feel more perky than I have for some time, and more relaxed too. I think if I keep it up I'll be generally more 'happier'.

So, thanks for the advice! :)