July 7, 2004

Thinking about Thinking

This past Saturday morning I finished the Steven Johnson book Mind Wide Open. I really enjoyed the book and may go back and pull out parts to store in my own notes.

But, there is one thing that kept niggling me as I read past the section on neurofeedback, which was used to improve concentration and attentive focus. I kept wondering if I am pulling all this information in, how it gets synthesized. The book did bring out some answers as many often focus on differences from what is already stored in the mind. I completely agree with that and I often work in that mode. But, as I read, my mind drifts to memories or to related items. This drifting is where it seems to get stored in memory and I will pull out the information weeks, months, or years later. This drifting is also where I often find unique answers and view problems or current solutions and find improved was of doing the same thing. This is also why I tend to read broadly across topics as well as deeply in areas I am passionate about.

The problem with improving focus is how would my synthesizing take place. Do others read in the same way? In college I had an office hours discussion with a professor complaining that I often had to reread paragraphs and pages as I had found my mind drifting, which was inspired by what I was reading. The professor and his office mate felt this drifting was a very good thing as it lead to better examination of what is known to one's self as well as fostering creative solutions. All more to think about.

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