Monday, September 13, 2010

More Thoughts on My Conceptual Exercises

My little project of transforming my conceptual thinking is coming along slowly and difficultly, though a bit poorly, if I say so myself. The biggest challenge seems to be facilitating thinking as if it were spawning naturally (i.e. effortlessly, or emotionally motivated) rather than mechanically (i.e. against one's inclinations, or emotionally demotivated). Thinking about certain culinary and scientific concepts has been fun and beneficial, but some just don't tickle my fancy and have a hard time keeping my mental energy focused on them. There's a few possible remedies, plus the possible dismissal of some useless methods.

From comments of the above linked post, a reader has introduced me to the practice of rubberducking, which I am enthused about. Thinking back, I see I actually used to do this with my dog. And here I thought my thinking method of imagining myself giving lectures was original! Anyhow, I've been practicing this method with my Bowser bobble head statue and have found it helps draw out my thinking and discourages stopping thoughts mid-sentence. With practice, I hope to turn this into a long-term habit. I feel a bit bashful in doing so since the other person that lives with me might think I'm developing schizophrenia, but of what significance is it? The only real problem is that my bobble head fears disagreement, always nodding his head and all that.

In addition to rubberducking, I've also been scrutinizing the practicality of my written conceptual exercises. Given the amount of concepts there are to deal with and how much writing it entails, I've been unable to eliminate my impatience with how long the process takes. In doing my written exercises in conjunction with rubberducking, I've found that I often spoke information in greater quantities than I actually wrote down. As such, I've been thinking about ditching my written exercise altogether in favor of pure thinking, trigger lists (lists of concepts), and rubberducking. As little and as concisely as I've been writing, I don't see how writing in this case could be reinforcing my memory. By forgoing it I might actually find it easier to do the conceptual exercises more often and in the middle of readings, as it wouldn't entail such a significant or cumbersome interruption as it once has. Sure, if a concept is really difficult I might employ the exercise in order to keep track of the conceptual chain it's involved in, but I think mental and verbal methods would be sufficient. I'll give it a shot and see how it goes; I'll keep track of my formal homework exercises by tallying with slashes.

Lastly, I've been concerned about my ability to do conceptual exercises without the aid of a stimulus (e.g. a confusing word in a book or on the internet). One day while not busy at work I tried to engage in my free thinking, but I only dwelled for a short time on two concepts and then switched to more integrated subjects. How can I go about encouraging more conceptual thinking free of the presence of material stimulation? Then again, that could be a silly question on my part. In trying to make my psycho-epistemology more objective, I managed to structure myself so that I would have a hard, if not impossible, time remembering that which isn't objective knowledge. Whenever I come across a piece of arbitrary information in my mind (like something I may have learned as a kid, but forgot how I learned it) I tell myself to simply reject and ignore it since it's not objectively tied to reality. Given this, wouldn't it be silly to expect myself to be able to do a pure contemplation of concepts that aren't objectively rooted in my mind? If they aren't objectively rooted, then odds are I won't remember them. Perhaps I should emphasize my trigger lists.

That's my thinking for now. I'll try carrying a pocket dictionary with me to work.

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