The Feeling of Thinking
Sometimes, when I am thinking on a topic of interest, creating an image or writing for an assignment (ds106 Daily Creates, for example), or even reading a novel with interest; sometimes my nervous system seems a little bit more charged, my heart is pumping more blood to my brain, I might even be a bit unaware of my surroundings. The physical/emotional feeling involves excitement, speeded-up sense of time, lack of concern for bodily comfort, and maybe even lack of sleep. If I’m really in hot pursuit of a thought topic, I’ll even dream of it, with recurring little snippets in some kind of unusual sleep mode.
In the process, and in line with our current reading, the associational trails come flying from all directions, pointing in all directions. Thought vectors in concept space.
If I need to write a new test or research assignment for my students, in just the right mood, perhaps with just the right music in my ears, I can create quickly and accurately. My brain seems to automagically go from one statement to the next. In creating multiple choice answer distractors, I think of all kinds of puns and strange choices along with the good ones. My feeling is absorbed, focused, high-functioning.
A few years ago, for National Novel Writing Month (write a 50000 word novel during November) I wrote an autobiographical non-novel. The process of forced recall of the events of my life provided me with much more material than I could use, faster than I could type. Every time I sat down to think and type, more thoughts and memories and stories and images would rise to consciousness. Just try it. Think of some event or conversation from years ago, and think about how you would describe it. I bet the thought vectors will lead to memories of the other people involved, their reactions, similar settings on other occasions, perhaps alternate solutions/actions/statements that could have been implemented.
I don’t know how a three-pound blob of organic material can have all these thought vectors, and why billions of them seem to work more-or-less the same. It’s fun to think about…