Friday, February 21, 2014

Talking to myself

Well I do. More people than I think might do. People you would never think of. You get the impression nobody endorse it though. Like you are the only one or one of the very rare species doing it.

On the internet you read psychology articles that it's not a bad thing in general to express feelings to oneself. It can even be positive. Except when it's a reciting of negative thoughts and I understand this. Although it's not the act of self talk that is bad here, but the fact that there is a tendency to think negatively of oneself. I do find that when I overdo it, I might increase stress. Or is it that I was already stressed out? Not the act again is responsible but the state you already are. Although maybe.. speaking loud of your thoughts is a way to make them stronger and more passionate. So maybe yes,. if I stopped talking for a while. Yes.. not source of problem, but help to calm down is to pause for a while.

But why we do it? And do all people do it too? I don't know the answer to the second one and sometimes I think many people will only open their mouth when they want to speak to other people. Or, preparing yourself for an interview or speech in front of a mirror (which I hate and never did for a reason, I don't want to see myself in a mirror speaking, it's confusing maybe, a distorter copy of myself).

Based on my feedback feeling, thinking about thinking and why am I thinking, it's obvious at first that I am strongly passionate about specific subjects that I want to talk loudly about them. As I already said, it's like the feeling grows stronger when you try to express it. I think I am more alive when I express frantically what fascinates me (or scares me) than silently thinking about it.

But then I found a more possible answer that matches the above but has more science in it. I was reading about one classical division of the brain in left and right. First you have the fact that left side is more focused on logic and speech. The right side is more abstract/feeling based. But maybe it's not what we think, that a mathematical person uses more of the left side or an artistic person more of the right side. We use both of our sides but another factor is the rate of communication between each of them through a thick pair of neural fibers called the corpus callosum. I was reading of interesting cases of patients whose carpus callosum was severed and got me into thinking about all these and what makes sense to me. Which I know, might be not right and you can correct me, as I am not a neuroscientist and maybe I shouldn't invoke science without knowing in detail. But I will just describe the feeling I have.

I know that in some people this callosum can have thicker connections for faster communication than others. There was this recent news article where they tried to analyze Einstein's brain again and found he had thicker connections than average in most parts of the corpus callosum. Which would make sense to me that in order to have such abstract theories in physics and also being able to express them mathematically, one had to combine well the left and right sides.

In my case, I find out (based on feeling and then analyzing what I feel and how it fits) that whenever I start thinking about it, first it has to feel right. I try to see/discover the whole picture of a problem like I am watching a full map from above. And then I go deeper into it's details trying to still keep the abstract big image in parallel view for comparison. What I feel as a bigger image I also want to make sense of it in logical terms, fitting well with every detail, feeling right both for my right brain and left brain. This urge is so strong that first I have the general feeling of a situation and then I try to analyze why this, that or everything. I need to explain it, to make all fit together. My brain is on fire. And I guess, starting from a feeling from my right side and passing to my left side that is obsessed with making a logical sense of it and also responsible for speech and there you have it, talking out loudly to myself.

One could just rely on logic. You could tell me 1+1=2 because it is, but if for some reason my right side didn't feel this is right then I would revolt and try to explain otherwise. You could also tell me to not think too much because it's not good. Then I should rely only on feelings. Yet, I refuse to conform to unexamined feelings. That's not how my brain works.

I even see how nicely this cooperation of both of my sides works on my programming hobby and job. With pure logic one can still be a programmer. It's only that most of the time he would simply copy what common algorithms are out there and replicate them. We can all do that. But what differentiates one is when he can focus on a problem that has not standard solution and make one of his own. Or when one has to think out of the box to optimize an algorithm with a novel approach that you can't find on books yet. But even several parts of programming (like OOP for example) need a more abstract kind of thought to understand and even evaluate how one should structure his code, what kind of code is more suited, elegant, easy to read or use depending on the problem he wants to solve. A pure logical person would just know a bunch of standard OOP designs and just copy them out of the book because everyone says they are the best overall. I sometimes think that the job of the programmer is that of a novelist and a logician/mathematician at the same time. I keep pondering about structure that makes sense and easiness of use about some of my code besides making them work.

It's not an easy life to be constantly bothered by things where overall feel and logic don't match together. Another reason why some general sayings, common opinions that everyone says (and so it must be true, eh?) bother me. Everything has to fit together. Pure feelingwise a fact seems to be true if 1) Feels right, 2) Everyone repeats it. But if you have a bad feeling about it then your next weapon is logic, trying to explain it. But logic has to be in harmony with your feelings. At least for the human affairs where things are subjective (or multidimensional, where each person is a different dimension). (It would be childish to be a cry baby just because of 1+1=2)

p.s. And speaking about arithmetics that don't fit. It's mindblowing. My logical mind cannot compute this (sum of infinite positive numbers should be positive at least, if not infinite). My abstract thought cannot make an intuitive sense of it (neither the creators of this video). Only little intuition that explains it is that you can't make sense of infinity the way we work with everyday mathematics. Seems legit (gut feeling) because I trust those Numberphile guys and all other sources mentioning the problem, also the history of different mathematicians arriving at the same result and the fact that it's friggin used in String Theory. And then you wonder how they arrived at 11 dimensions :)

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