Monday, January 5, 2015

A bit of reflection and reevaluation

So, for the past month, I've started writing several articles, and envisioned several more. I started writing Ethics Part III, and envisioned using it as a springboard to talk about the Police State and what has been happening in Ferguson, New York, and across the country. I've had some new insight on a theory I call Wealth-Energy Equivalency, and the economic implications of it, and I have been wanting to do an article on it for a long time. I've had idea after idea, but I've also had some other, more personal things on my mind which have stopped me from putting them into article form. Mostly, because I have become aware of an issue in my own writing and communication style.

I've always known that I have a tendency to be 'wordy'. Brevity is not my forte. As a result, I will often go back over whatever I write and 'trim the fat' to make it shorter and more concise – with varying degrees of success. But I have recently discovered some things about myself, and about other people, which have brought to light a deeper issue. People, by and large, do not think the way I thought they did. And, more specifically, they don't think the way I do. I'm not merely saying that other people have different opinions, values, experiences, aptitudes, and perspectives than I do. That should be obvious to anyone, because everyone is different. I'm saying that the way I file and process information in my mind, the actual mental functionality, turns out to be markedly and fundamentally different from the way most other people do, and I was never aware of it. And this, of course, has been reflected in my communication style. I made the faulty assumption that other people did, or at least could, digest information in more or less the same way I did.

Please don't misconstrue this as a snobbish statement. I'm not meaning to imply any superiority or inferiority here – only difference. There are advantages and disadvantages to this difference. And the basic difference seems to be in the role of the subconscious. I have learned that many people, seemingly the majority, do most of their thinking in subconscious leaps and connections. It seems to be the 'default' way that people think. I... don't exactly do this. My thinking process tends to be very conscious, very systematic, and very detailed. I make intuitive leaps, but even these are very conscious and deliberate things, and I can easily follow and cross-examine the reasoning associated with them. However, this also means that thinking about anything, for me, requires intensive levels of concentration and can be quite demanding of my attention. If brains were cars, the average brain would be an automatic transmission and mine would be a stick shift.

Because my brain tends to be conscious and meticulously systematic in its processing, the way I see things can be very different. Specifically, my idea of simplicity is very different from other people's. If someone were to ask the average person for the simplest possible definition of a car, they might say something like "A machine that people use to go from one place to another." That's very simple for most people. It isn't very wordy, it uses simple language, and it gives the big-picture idea of what a car is. But for me, this isn't simple at all. To me, the above is so ambiguous and frustratingly complex as to not even qualify as a definition of a car. The word 'machine', for instance, is so general that it can refer to just about anything, from a wheelchair ramp to robot. And does a car cease to be a car if it isn't being used to go from place to place? Is it is what it is because of what it does, or because of something intrinsic to it? And this is not even touching on details like how it moves, what it's made of, how if functions, etc; which are all essential to defining a car and contrasting it from other things such as a chariot or an airplane.

Please understand, this is not me overthinking the statement. This isn't some way that I choose to view it. This is how my brain processes information. It is the only way I know how to think. I now know there are other ways that people process information, and I can sort of emulate them indirectly (at least well enough to come up with the above example), but I'm overall not very good at it (it took me an entire days worth of pondering to formulate and settle on the above example). My brain simply does not subconsciously make many indirect or generalized connections the way other people's brains apparently do, but it is in turn great at consciously making direct and logical connections and refining out the details and patterns that other people have great difficulty with.

I understand things from the bottom up, taking the details and the simplest equations from which the whole is fractally derived and using them to piece together the larger picture. The 'big picture' way that many other people seem to see things is extremely difficult for me to wrap my brain around. When I see the 'big picture' it is indirectly as a fractal of the fundamental details. That is to say, to use an analogy: I cannot see the forest, but I can see the trees, and I can understand the forest only by observing the trees. And, more importantly, I see the minute and exact details which define a thing, from which the whole is derived, as being of crucial significance. And this has been the crux of my own difficulty. Because, as I have learned, others often do not. Such detail, to them, is boring, trivial hair-splitting that seems irrelevant to the 'big picture' idea. "Who cares if that tree is a conifer, it's a forest!"

And so, my attempts at communicating ideas, I have realized, are not always as effective as I'd like them to be. I look back over this very article as I write it, and I see within it many examples of this. If I tried to fix them, I would end up trashing the whole article, rewriting it a million times, and failing at it in the end (a process I have often gone through). And it is for this reason that I feel I need to reevaluate. I'm not quitting the blog (though posts may be more infrequent), or withholding commentary elsewhere on the web, but I know I need to find a better way to convey ideas to people so they are easier for them to digest, even if that means using a different medium. This will be a learning curve for me. And, by the way, I always welcome feedback.