Thinking..about thinking.

Discussion in 'General' started by Kalect, Oct 30, 2006.

  1. So, I was high, and I started thinking (uh oh). Ok, I guess that's not unusual, but the topic was, well, for me it was. I was thinking ABOUT thinking, how it's done, and the way different people think. Not neccesarily psychology, just the process of thinking itself.

    I began to kind of think about the way my thoughts sound in my head. I speak only English, so all my thoughts are completely in English. Well, I suppose thats not exactly weird, but it kinda got me thinking about it. Obviously, not everyone hears their thoughts in English. In fact, it's somewhat strange to me that thoughts have a language attatched to them in the first place.

    I mean, if you think about it for a minute, technically, language is foreign to humans. It's created, not instinctual. I mean communication is instinctual, but languages themselves are a human conception, when a baby is born, he or she doesn't know a language.

    So I started thinking about people that speak other languages. Specifically about those that speak multiple languages. If there are any of you that can boast such a thing (Fluent and frequent use of 2 or more languages) please, your input on this would be appreciated.

    If someone is raised speaking, say, Spanish for 15 years, and then they learn English and move to an English predominated area and use it more than Spanish, does at some point, over the years, this person start thinking more often in English than they do in Spanish? Or so they think Spanish first and translate to english because it is their first language?

    I would imagine different languages have different strengths, like anything else. For instance, does a multi-lingual person think in many differrent languages because different languages convey different things more precisely? Like passion, hate, joy, or simply an idea that isn't translated well?

    Thinking about it in broader terms, I thought about hearing my thoughts in the first place. Most of the time, when I think, it "sounds" in my head like me talking to myself, explaining my emotions or ideas as if I weren't already privvy to it. I mean, obviously I'm talking about conventional, concious thought, not subconscoius. I don't think "Breathe in, Breathe out, Breathe in, move arm 13 degrees left, breathe out" obviously most of human thoughts are subconscious.

    My thoughts, to me sound alot like reading a comic book that tells the story through thought bubbles. I find it very easy to convey my thoughts, because they are just, already conveyed to me.

    I have heard people say "You're good with words, I just can't convey my thoughts like that." But I get confused at that. Do these people not hear there thoughts as speech? I would imagine that it is typical to do so, since movies and comic books portray thought exactly how I think, in speech.

    I've never really had a thought, and not "heard" it in my head. I do have the obligatory "Loading, Please Wait...." times of silence when trying to remember something and have to actually make an effort to remember, but once the memory triggers, I "hear" it.

    All this talking about hearing my thoughts makes me wonder another thing. I swear I can hear my voice, in english, talking in my head when I think about something. Now I'm not crazy, it's not like I don't control what it's saying, I can just "Hear" my thoughts on what seems like the edge of the audible spectrum. It makes me wonder if the thinking part of the brain "fakes" sound signals to the auditory section, making it so you "Hear" yourself.

    I've heard people say things get so loud they can't hear their own thoughts, and I've personally heard my thoughts as shouting in a loud place. This would seem to support my theory, that in order to consciously think you need to have the proper "bandwidth" available to transmit thinking signals to your auditory section, and loud noise hogs said bandwidth. I'm a Vid Game Design student, not a medical doctor, so I have no real idea, it just seems that way to me.

    Anyway, I was just wanting to talk about it and get other opinions on the subject, especially from people that this sounds strange to, that are thinking "The way I think is way different than that".... well, or maybe it wouldn't happen like that for you, but you get the idea. Also people who know multiple languages, etc. And of course, if you have technical knowledge of the way the brain works.
  2. wow man +rep

    ive thought about this one time before. but i kind of forgot until just now.

  3. When I really get thinking, I try to think about things we take for granted. Like thought itself, not something you really try to take the time out to think about, because it's so common, it's just a fact of life, no real reason to need to think about it.

    The most interesting subjects to think about truely are, as they say, hidden right under your nose. I mean, if you take the time to think about alot that you take for granted, it's not so simple as we make it, not so obvious.

    We went thousands, maybe even millions, of years without the concept of gravity. Sure we always knew it existed, but till Newton actually explained it, we never really thought about it. We stick to the ground, and don't randomly shoot off into space, no real reason to think about it.

    What about color? Typically when you say "Red" you think everyone, at least who speaks your language, pictures the same colors. Scientifically that's not quite true. On a 255/255/255 Hue/Sat/Lum scale, if you put people in a room and say colors, they'll all get the same general spectrum, they'll all be "Red" for instance, but one will be darker, one will be lighter, one almost pink, one almost brown.

    If I point to my counter and ask what color is it, my brother says Black, My mom and I say the primary color is a dark green. It is marble, and has a mixture of both colors, but our perceptions differ as to which is the primary color. My brother barely even sees the green, where as my mom and I see the black as just a border to the green, like grout with tile.

    If you take a person and sit them in a room with nothing to do but study the room for an hour, then take them out and give them a grayscale image of the room, and ask them to adjust the hughs and colors of certain areas to replicate the colors in the room, and compare it to an actual photograph, dark colors become darker, light colors become lighter, and contrast is over emphasized. Everything has much more "POP out" where as an actual photo will show the contrasts are gentle, and smooth.

    Even further, if you think about different people and their different morals, and why they have them, this world is very deep and intricate, all the things we take for granted are extremely complex.

    If you teach a man as a young child a certain moral value, he may very likely grow up believing that moral without question for the entirety of his life. If in his final years, you ask this man, he may not even understand WHY he beleives it, but he will. How many times have you heard "That's wrong." "Why?" "It's...It's just wrong." That's not a reason. That's an instilled moral. People just take what they're taught for granted, and many of them never question it. I try not to live my life that way, I try to observe and understand everything I can.

    Question everything, nothing is as simple as it first seems.
  4. i enjoy your obserations. I was just reading about 'thinking about thinking' the other day. It's termed metacognition.

    i think language is a logical categorization system for explaining mental concepts around us.

    we probably began making tones with our vocal box (most mammals have these. whale calls for example) related to which activity we were doing. these sounds became the descriptive sounds we hear today.

    as we evolved, our brain capacity did too, and languge is just a natural byproduct
  5. tagged, ill read later, sounds like the shit i think about though
  6. My mom is french and my dad is english and I learned both languages simultaneously while growing up, and this is a question I get asked a lot. Which language do I think in.

    What I've noticed is that my thoughts only have a language to them when I anticipate explaining them to someone, in which case I'll be "thinking" in the language of whoever's likely to be listening. This makes sense, since what's the point of verbalizing something if it's not to communicate it? If I'm just day dreaming, my thinking will mostly be non-verbal and I'll usually be going through "mental movies" which rely much more heavily on visualization than language.

    Personaly though, I try and avoid mental chatter. Whenever you conceptualize something, you kind of put it in a box and stop experiencing it directly.
  7. Ah! Today I was just thinking about something along these lines.

    How... when... Humans learn a new language, they relate everything in the new language to their native language, or the language they first learned.

    Like back in my German course, you're learning a new language, and every word i would learn was related to the respective word in ENGLISH for me. But perhaps a natively Spanish-speaking person relates the new German words to SPANISH!

    Just an interesting thought.
  8. True I think about this kind of stuff all the time. Man too bad im dry out of weed cause I really want to think about it some more.
  9. yeah I agree with you on this because I know it is 100% true, I have thought about it many many times. Thats how issues like racism and religion (not bashing anyone but its true) comes about.

    Thats why I love how weed expands ones mind and makes them see things from a different angle.

  10. You see, I find this interesting. This was exactly the type of post I was hoping to see! (+rep for your contribution!)

    Your observations on language is very interesting, but what I find even more interesting is you say when you think to yourself, you don't use language at all. To me that's rather foreign. I can think in terms of images when I need to design a character (Vid Game Design student) or a level or something, but in terms of every day thought, my thoughts are as though I am telling a story. I let myself experience the visual of the world, and add my own audio via my thought process.

    Very interesting indeed. Wehn I try to think "silently" I just can't do it! I can close my eyes and come up with images, but I always have that narriator explaining them in my head.

    This would seem to imply we think very differently indeed, and that was what I was hoping to explore, thank you again!
  11. Hahahaha, I just got an image of some guy walking around with an audio tape providing audio commentary for his whole life.

    But seriously, I know what you mean when you say you can't just turn the voice off. It's hard as hell, but I find that when I stop trying to explain and analyse things, they just seem... more living. It's like the difference in between listening to a piece of music and trying to figure out its key and time signature, and just listening to it as it is.

    Personaly I've thought that trying to rationalize and explain things kills their beauty and cuts off your emotional relationship to them. I have a tree in my front yard that I would pass by every day for years barely even looking at it. Why would I? My mind would see it, tell me its a tree, and I'd shift my attention elsewhere. But when that voice just shuts up for even a few moments... you can just feel the tree's presence without the mind filtering it out. It really inspires respect for it.

    I'm not saying that the mind isn't a great thing, but giving it a rest can be good from time to time.
  12. Word, I can respect that.

    I do like to sit back and absorb things, but even then I'm talking to myself about it. Saying "Wow, the sky is so beautiful tonight, check out the full moon, that's cool" or some such.

    But in addition to just taking things in, I like to really think about everything, and try to do so from angles that areo ut of the ordinary. To me, part of the magic of this world is it's complexity, and understanding that complexity is power.

    I'd consider it not so much contemplating the key of the music, but rather the deeper meaning of the lyrics. :)

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