I have just been watching an interesting TV program about robots we have today, their intelligence, outlook etc. Quite thought provoking. It may appear disconnected, but what I started to think about after it was how do we think in general.

Everybody knows that we barely use 10% of our mind potential. Basically, it means that either our decision making is slow or the quality of the decisions leaves the room to wish more. Here’s the connection… Did you notice how you think? When we think, well I do it this way at least, we talk to ourselves in our minds. When we read, most of us does the same. It appears that the speed of reading and thinking is artificially limited by the speed of our speech. It gets us to some several interesting conclusions:

A. If we had no speech, we could either think faster or couldn’t think at all.

B. We feel comfortable in our environment because other speakers think at the same speed with us. The one doing it faster is “the genius”, the one slower — you know.

In my opinion, one possible way for improvement could be cutting our mind off the physical abilities. But how the hell we would learn the result of some computation if we didn’t say it loud in the mind? I suspect, that it’s the place where our intuition connects to our thinking.

Intuition is something that is used to foresee the future, and silent thinking, as I call it, to process the facts. Both work silently and emit thoughts and conclusions we could use. Hope the chain of conclusions isn’t broken somewhere.

One other random thought: what if what we call “reaction” is something that’s connected too? What if in the critical situations we manage to make decisions without doubling them in speech what makes our movements faster yet still well-coordinated?

Pretty good pile of random thoughts, hah.

Comments from the past

Andrew Golikov on 07/02/2006

Take a look at this… :) It will be funny listening (in russian) for you I think (ftp://files.zipsites.ru/books/audio/Education/Gordon/Myshlenie o myshlenii.mp3) … kind of “Thoughts about mentation”.

Aleksey Gureiev on 02/07/2006

Wow, that was unexpected. I’m very pleased and equally impressed that my ex-coworkers remember me and find time to follow what I’m writing here! ;)

Also, I noticed that there was a small mistake in the second paragraph. Certainly, “…everybody knows that we barely use 10% of our mind potential…”, not almost 90%. Too many bones in my tongue. Corrected…

Thanks for the link!

Jeremy Bettis on 02/14/2006

I know that I can read much faster than most people around me, is that because I speak to my mind faster? or have I removed the psuedo-verbal phase of reading?

I have a theory that at some point as you are reading along, you stop repeating the words out loud in your mind, and simply convert the optical images to thoughts. This may be in some way related to the concept of “being in the zone” as described by Paul Graham and others. (http://www.paulgraham.com/gh.html)

Aleksey Gureiev on 02/15/2006

Well, I’m not a pro in this area, but what I know for sure is that the first stage in learning of how to read faster is to force yourself not to pronounce in mind what you actually read. So I’m inclined to think that somehow we are limiting ourselves with this connection. And at the same time, this connection helps to align the minds of neighboring people in terms of speed of thinking which positively reflects on the communication.

Just for a quick example… My personal observation is that programmers feel comfortable among other programmers, but once they get into the company of “normals” it quickly becomes pretty irritating to them to communicate their ideas to others. Why? IMO, it happens because the programmers are used to “talk” to computers at absolutely different speed, they tought themselves not to make loops in explanations and always have straight chain of arguments. The “normals” think differently, do more mistakes and sound boring, always repeating what they’ve just said. I can feel this every day. :) But since I understood the roots of the problem I have become a little bit more patient. I understand, that to “normals” the programmers sound weird and there are no better or worse people — just different.

Thanks for the link! I’m reading the writing with great pleasure.