Deep Thoughts About Thinking

Sitting here at the Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto.  My flight is delayed and I might as well blog.  I haven’t even been able to get on the computer in over 24 hours!!!!  OMG!!!  Without the mind-numbing drug of the internet, I’ve had to resort to ‘thinking’.

And because I was thinking about the latest chapter that I’m writing, which is on conscious thinking, I started to wonder about ‘thoughts’.  Conscious thinking means that you become aware of your thoughts.  Because I’m writing about ejecting negative thoughts and instilling positive thoughts, it would then follow that you screen your thoughts and refuse to let the negative ones in.  So I wondered, how many thoughts do we have a day? And how many of those are negative?

It turns out that the estimates range from 2,000 to 60,000 a day.  Why the great discrepancy in estimates, I thought?

I guess it comes down to a few things.  How do you define a ‘thought’?  What exactly are they counting when they count ‘thoughts’ and how do they do that?

A search for a definition of a thought is not much help. Here’s what I came up with: An idea; the instance of thinking; the use of the  power of reasoning; to have a recollection; to imagine or visualize; to focus on a state or an idea. And then of course a whole range of biological, psychological, philosophical and sociological definitions.

How do they determine when one thought ends and another begins?  Can they?  I came across this quote from an unknown philosopher:  ‘Thought continues as an unbroken stream–it is man’s original nature–in its ordinary process, thought moves forward without halt; past, present, future thoughts continue as an unbroken stream.”

How did they find out how many thoughts a person has in a day?  Did they get some poor volunteer to sit with electrodes all over his head for a full 24 hours or did they use the latest in imaging?  Or did they resort to prehistoric methods and have a bunch of study subjects check off every time they had a thought?  If so, what were they told to look for when deciding they ‘had a thought?’

What about when we seem to be thinking several thoughts at once?  Is it multi-level thinking or just really really fast thoughts in a row?

After reading way too many blog posts and research papers on ‘thought’, I have decided I like this definition:  Thoughts are waves like ripples in a pond, all different wave lengths and frequencies.  Which then seems to go back to the continuous stream analogy.  Which also then leads to the thought: What little pebble starts the waves rippling?

Okay, my mind is too full of thoughts.  I have decided (that’s a thought!) that I need a cup of that free latte that Porter Airlines makes available and maybe one of those yummy ginger cookies.

And in the immortal words of Scarlett, (I’ll revise it slightly since I can’t go and look for the real quote), “Oh fiddle-dee-dee.  I’ll think about it tomorrow.  After all, tomorrow is another day!”

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About futurepull

I'm a dreamweaver, a sorcerer, co-creator of this brilliant and exciting adventure of life. We're here for the experience, why not make it fun? Try new things, build castles and live in them, paint your future, become friends with eagles and flamingos and iguanas, make a million and give it away. Your future is limited only by your imagination.
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2 Responses to Deep Thoughts About Thinking

  1. nonexpert35 says:

    Hi again, FuturePull.

    I was reading your blog and noticed you had a problem with the definition of thought. I agree that the definition you found is not a very good one. But let’s start with the word’s part of speech.

    “Thought” is the past and past participle of “Think”.

    Think means “to from or have in the mind.” To form anything in the mind is the product of mental activity. The second thing I want to mention about this definition is that it is a possession—to have in mind.

    Example sentences:

    I thought you were going to blog some more. (past tense)

    The carpenters think the level is in the next room. (present tense)

    The carpenters thought the level was in the next room, but it wasn’t. (past tense)

    I thought Armageddon would have occurred by now. (past tense)

    I think Armageddon is coming soon. (present tense)

    • futurepull says:

      Thanks nonExpert. The thought I was thinking about was actually the noun ‘thought’. As in the product of the act of thinking. Although really it doesn’t matter because whether I’m trying to separate disparate ‘thoughts’ (the noun) or stop the process of thinking (the verb), the problem is still the same: there are so many of them, they flow without seeming to have a gap between them, and they are so automatic that it’s quite difficult.

      It was for the chapter on ‘conscious thinking’ (most definitely a verb) in my new book. Now that you’ve given me yet another approach, I’ll have to read over my chapter again to see how it can be adjusted. Thanks!

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