Friday, September 3, 2010

Study Summary 8/??/10 - 9/2/10

I'm not exactly sure when I officially started my informal at-home studies, so for the sake of honesty I put question marks in one of the dates in the title. It was probably after the 20th. I was still debating with myself on whether I would track my progress or not, so I neglected to keep track of the dates. Oh well. I've decided to do these summaries since it would not only be keeping dibs on what I'm up to, but also be a good way of enforcing discipline, I think. So what has been done?

Infidel and The Vegetarian Myth weren't formal study subjects, but I did construct book reviews for them both. As stated previously, I'd like to make this a regular practice. It should be good for helping me condense my integrations during the reading into a summary of what I think of the resource as a whole.

For my preliminary reading for The Logical Leap, I've only read one of the six articles I've assigned to myself, Enlightenment Science and Its Fall. I was able to vaguely grasp the material presented, but the article was so informationally dense and challenging that it took me hours to read it. It was very tiring, but it's probable my mental stamina will increase in time. I noticed that the article interested me intensely, which indicates I have an unfed interest in science. I want to be a scientific culinary entrepreneur in the long-run, so obviously an interest in science is a prerequisite.

Book-wise, progress has been coming across nicely. I've completed the prologue and first chapter of Good Calories, Bad Calories, and I've completed two chapters of The Journals of Ayn Rand, notes and all. I find that *Journals* has less to offer so far in the way of notes and information due to its type of content. More or less it comes off as more of an aesthetic type of writing, a kind that makes me document notes regarding introspection on my own characteristics. Reading her character summary for Kira of We the Living, for instance, has given me food for thought on the nature of my own sense of life. I think the main benefits I'll receive from this book are insights on philosophical and self-improvement issues, and education on clear introspection. So far it seems like it'll be a quicker read. *Calories*, on the other hand, is much more informationally dense and is going slower, but I'm finding that the slower pace necessitated by my note-taking is actually improving my reading comprehension. Instead of glancing over unfamiliar concepts as I would in a pure reading, my notes cause me to pause on every excerpt that's confusing and deal with it until I understand. It'll take more hours to get through this book, but it'll definitely offer a specialized education on the scientific method through the history of nutritional science.

Both of these books will probably get done at approximately the same time. I'm utilizing my old style of studying: Once I complete an item in a certain subject, that subject is off limits until all the others have an item completed as well. If I do a chapter of *Journals*, for example, then I must choose to either do a chapter for *Calories* or to read another David Harriman article. This prevents me from spending too much time on any favored subject, thereby advancing everything at a solid pace.

I've also come back to old realizations as to how to best filter out distractions to my studying, so hopefully that allows me to push my mental limits further without interruption. As for my goal to take a nap after having reached mental exhaustion, I've been failing quite terribly. It seems that after having one or two headaches my mental stamina has increased to the point that it's harder to reach exhaustion. I've tried taking naps, but I'm still too energized. I guess that means I need to push harder.

As for my daydreaming, I've been doing well to stay it by standing still. (Both my computer and writing/reading desks are stand-up.) It turns out that physical movement is my biggest trigger, so the more I stand still the better my concentration is. Full mental control is close at hand, though daydreaming is still needed to reduce the stress of such mental rigidity.

At this time I would consider my mini-project to be complete. From here on out it's all about installing a routine and refining the processes, which will be an endless task. My next major concern and project is how to turn my conceptual (/vocabulary) exercise into something that integrates itself right into my very way of thinking. I haven't done much thinking on it yet, but it's certainly a significant undertaking since it involves altering my everyday mental habits to be significantly different. It'll be difficult, but offer dramatic benefits which will offer dramatic advantages in the long-run.

For next week, my goals are to try and complete at least two items of everything and to be more than halfway done with the series of David Harriman articles (they're compiled here) and to begin my contemplation on how to alter my conceptual thinking.

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