Thursday, January 3, 2013

Mental architecture, whatever that is.

Warning: this post really doesn't have a point. I suppose I'm writing it because I'm trying to work out this idea in my head, so I thought I'd try putting it down on paper -- er, blogger. Also, it might help you, dear reader, to understand any future posts and why they do not make any sense. Haha.

I can't think in a straight line. My thought process could not pass a sobriety test, ever.

It's pitiful, really. Pathetic. But true. Most people who are thinkers, the sort of people who will intentionally reason things out, who like to sit around and contemplate life, think in a straight line. At least, I suppose they do. I wouldn't really know. But it certainly seems like they do, judging from the way they talk and write and debate. I'm guessing that they think from point A to point B, and the entire point of the thought process is to see if the two points are really connected, and how. They don't want to get lost on the way, they don't want to make an error, so they walk carefully, step by logical step, and find out whether the logical process between these two points is valid and sound.

How logical. How practical. How useful for those friendly arguments where you're trying to convince someone of your opinion, or at the very least explain why you hold certain opinions. How useful for finding out the truth.

I admire this process. I admire people who are good at it. I love to listen to them explain exactly what I think. And sometimes I try to think in a straight line. It is a skill I have yet to acquire.

I don't think from point A to point B. I play connect-the-dots in my head, partly because I want to understand the universe, but partly just for the fun of it. So when one person says, "Ah, here is point A. Let us cautiously set out and logically walk a straight line and see if the path from here to point B, over yonder, is really valid, is really sound," I say, "Hey, look, two points! Wouldn't it be cool if they connected, and maybe they do! If they did, where would they fit in with all the other dots? What other connections can I make here? What if point A connected to point B, which connected to point C and also to point K (which would be extra cool because those two letters make the same sound) [no, really, my brain actually is spastic enough to think things like that]. And how does this affect my picture as a whole?"

So apparently I'm a big picture person, to the max. The details bore me. While normal, more logical people are trying to establish the truth, I'm making theories and getting more and more off-topic every moment. If I try to focus in and figure the connection out, even if I succeed in staying detailed and not mentally leaping and bounding and praising God for the forest and not for the trees, I lose sight of where I'm going. I get lost in the woods, and I wander around aimlessly getting myself all confused. Again, I can't think in a straight line.

Then I get frustrated, give up on that, and zoom back out to play connect-the-dots again.

Friends, it's inconvenient.

Someone asks me my opinion on predestination. I try to answer. Before I notice what I'm doing, they ask, "Wait, are we talking about the perseverance of the saints?"... Nooo... Of course we aren't. We are talking about predestination. Only I somehow decided that the two were interconnected, so I randomly switched without telling you why or even hinting at how I thought they were connected. So I try to get back to predestination, but within two sentences, I notice that I'm talking about Aristotle's concept of "the good," and why I disagree with him. My friend does not see the relevance. Frankly, I'm not sure what it is either. I'm pretty sure there's a line between those two dots. I glanced over and thought I saw one. But I never took the time to walk it out and figure out exactly how they were connected, if in fact they were at all. I was too busy skipping from thought to thought like a stone on the water. And as far as explaining the connections... well, even if I could, that would take too long. I want to cover as many dots as possible in as little time as possible.

So I'm bad at explaining things. And honestly, sometimes I don't know what I think, because my head is so full of theories, and proving them isn't as interesting to me as making them in the first place.

Once, I took a personality test and looked up my result to see a description of my "type." One website called me a "mental architect." I thought that was interesting. Also, disturbingly accurate. I'm too busy building a big picture, a structure for my way of looking at the world, at the universe, at life, tracing from point to point to point, to focus on each individual line.

(Photo credit) Oh look, it's the architect from one of my favorite movies ever, and her name happens to be Ariadne... What a coincidence, right? ;)

It's fun. It's glorious fun. And you know, somehow, it must be a good thing. It must be useful. God would not have given me a spastic brain unless it was going to turn out to be some sort of good. So even though it's as inconvenient as all get-out, I'm hoping it's a talent of some sort. But I still want to try and develop the discipline of slowing down and cautiously taking the mental sobriety test of walking  point A to point B, without skipping off to other concepts as soon as I decide there might be a reasonable connection. It takes me years, usually, to figure out exactly how the connections work, and even then, it's usually because I just finally gathered enough dots that they filled in the line better, and I found I could explain it. It took me years to figure out what I'm telling you here, and it's still a struggle for me to stay on-topic and not go enthusiastically making random connections without ever explaining how they work. Writing is useful here. Especially when you're writing to an audience that expects you to make sense. (Gosh. Talk about pressure.)

So I'm trying to learn. I'm trying to figure out how to slow down in my brain and pass a mental sobriety test. But if I post things and you find that I'm not making sense, just laugh and shake your head and imagine me gleefully playing a game of connect-the-dots in my head, or imagine me looking up, all awed and fascinated like Ariadne in the picture above.

1 comment:

  1. ...and this is why we understand one another. My personality test assured me that logic found no place among my mental capabilities. A sad truth, especially when pounding out a Smith essay, but there it is.

    As a side note, I feel like I'm reading my writing when I read yours. It is the strangest sensation. Yet again this confirms that switching our brains out might result in little noticeable difference.