This week I wanted to understand the thinking process better, so I said to myself (a clue): “Think of a cow”.
Obviously a real cow cannot fit inside my skull, so I was curious as to what would happen. I expected some image of a black and white animal with horns and a huge udder 🐄 to somehow appear on the screen of my mind.
I saw three things instead: the letters ‘c’, ‘o’ and ‘w’.
Somehow these letters signified bovine meaning.
I had to really insist for an image to appear.
Then I thought of my wife. This time four letters appeared, starting with ‘w’. The appearance of my beautiful bride was only a secondary consequence. I got into trouble when I related this story. 😩
My thinking is not pictorial. It is linguistic, a set of boring grammatical constructs.
And nowadays in English, instead of that wonderfully nuanced Dutch.
The rich fabric of everyday life is transformed, abstracted and reduced to a sequence of letters obeying syntax rules.
Thinking is silently talking to myself. Letters and words, mostly without a real referent in that wonderful universe that I am immersed in.
It is said that 100 years ago the average human would have 5,000 thoughts per day. Now it is 50,000! Mainly tiresome and pointless repetition.
And no pictures!
Spending time in the world of thought is like living in a hex core dump. That’s how a computer spits out it’s memory contents when it encounters a syntax or logic error.
Why would I?