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    • #5277

      Thinking about how to think. Possibly the single greatest non happening in many people’s life.

      If Malow’s Pyramid is close to correct, this has to be in the “self-actualization” level.

      Also not sure I believe in synchronicity, but this chapter ties together my previous MOOC (Coursera – Learning How to Learn) and the MOOC I’m starting (EDx – U.Lab/Presencing).

      To see/hear/feel our thoughts and their connections to our experience at a meta level in real time seems very powerful.

      Referring to “The second method of observation, in which the observer watches the association-process while it is going on …” On page 28 Wallas says … “Fifty years hence, students will have an ample supply of this kind of observation before them …” That would have been about 40 years ago.

      Does anyone have details about studies looking at the association process?

    • #5283

      Could you say a bit more about your experiences with MOOCs? I’ve heard about them but not tried any, and don’t have enough slack to try it now, but would appreciate hearing what they’ve done for you.

      • #5284


        The quick answer: MOOCs provide an opportunity to learn new things. I exited formal education in 1984. I’ve also been self employed since then. That means I’ve dealt with the “Suscheck Conundrum” before I met Chuck. Loosely … I have money for training but no time when I’m working with clients or I have time but no money for training as I don’t have work.

        In spite of the conundrum, over the years I managed to participate in a handful of great workshops. The most recent in person workshop was HSD practitioner.

        As MOOCs exist online, I can participate in one while working at the client site. What else do I have to do in the evening? (I do other business related stuff, but I have 1 – 2 nights a week where I have opportunity to work on self-improvement.)

        I’ve completed:

        • Complexity Science
        • General Semantics
        • Learning to Learn
        • Model Thinking
        • Scaling Up Excellence (Esther Derby and Doc Norton were in my working group)

        For various reasons I did not complete Social Networks and Social Psychology.

        This reading group harks back to the early 1990’s, the Compuscene era when I was the “Cat Herder” in the Study Hall section of the Software Development Forum.

        What excites me about the Edx/Prescening 2.0 MOOC is the built in coaching circles. The Scaling MOOC had work that required our group to meet and that was more fun (for me) than doing solo work, and it helped solidify the material.

        Before I exited formal education, a professor had “What you know fills you, what you do not know fills the universe.” I now call this the Tim Trap.

        Does this help explain MOOCs? If not, perhaps we should have hangout/chat.

    • #5287

      This chapter struck me with the realization that I’ve never recognized “thought” as a human activity that could, possibly, be trained. Aside from the idea that knowledge and self-awareness could influence thought, “thinking about how to think”–like a trainer thinks about the art of running–was an interesting moment of reflection.

      What captured my interest the most was the difference between thought invoked by an instance/memory, as opposed to thought triggered while experiencing a series of events.

      The distinction recalled a semester studying under a brilliant causal-inquiry researcher here in San Diego, Robert Briggs. He introduced me to his Cognitive Network Model of Creativity theory that posits brainstorming (part of the art of thought?) can be improved by triggering new “frames” in memory.

      In other words, it’s quite similar to the idea that memories are invoked by an instance or event – a set of frames called forth in your short term memory. But, if we string stimuli together or change the images associated with the event, new ideas could be created. These new ideas might be helpful in generating creative thoughts. When applied to brainstorming sessions or problem solving events, good things happen… although not yet where the theory could be “proven”.

      His brainstorming research seems to suggest a lot of truth in Wallas’ exploration of what the “art” of thought could be.

      Link to Briggs’ scholarly article on CNM:

    • #5290
      Agile Otter

      I finally got to this on the plane (twice).

      I like how Wallas pointed out that all human activities, even simple motions, have been observed and trained and theorized about.

      Of course, there was a lot of talk about primitive (nonverbal) thought, and the difference between that nearly-unconscious thought and fully-conscious thought — is it visual? Verbal? is it a thought-feeling? Is it a “force marker”? Whatever you can say, it makes it clear that intentional, PFC-occupied, rule-following thought is not the only (or the only useful) kind of thinking we do.

      The big question that seems to take most of the chapter is looking at what it is that leads a mind from one memory to another.

      What is the nature of the connection, or what are the natures of the connections?

      Again, this seems to me to strengthen the theme that not all thinking is intentional, trained, logical rule-following, and should not be considered in a mechanistic way.

      The title of course suggests that we’re exploring untrained thought — thinking without knowing the art of it. Likewise, we could be exploring the way that I draw pictures, and then talk about how a trained artist would do it.

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