Assigning Meaning and the Thought Chain

Not my picture

Not my picture

Why would a fallen leaf I came across this morning remind me to post an update on job success? Besides Killer J looking for an excuse to boast, I’m also fascinated by the way the mind works, so I’ll give my best shot at explaining. The brain can process complex, seemingly unrelated concepts almost instantly. A chain of thoughts can zip through the brain in the blink of an eye, connecting something as obscure as a fallen leaf to my desire to inform my loyal readers our company sold its newly developed crisis response system to our first customer.

This type of thing happens to all of us because our brain assigns meaning to our thoughts. This meaning derived from the original thought can be a pretty complex subject, and then the next thought that occurs in the thought chain can have a pretty complex meaning attached to it as well. If the meanings assigned to these thoughts were typed out, you’d end up with one thousand words. Our brain kicks ass, though, as it encapsulates these lengthy concepts in to a representative snapshot. A picture is worth a thousand words, and our brain quickly takes and processes a lot of pictures.

Today’s thought chain ended up as follows: I saw a fallen leaf in a place where it wouldn’t make sense to find a leaf. This reminded me of Paley’s Intelligent Design argument about finding a watch in nature. From there, I thought about intelligence itself, which prompted me to think of my post on regulating brain waves. When I wrote that post, I was listening to a song by How to Destroy Angels. I’m usually not somebody to get in to lyrics, but I was able to relate to this song in a different way than the artist intended. My brain trudged onward, and linked the song title, “How Long?” to a question posed to me by the guy we sold our crisis response system to. He was wondering how long our training would be. From there, it was a hop, skip, and a jump to post this ramble on my blog today.

In writing this, I’ve proven my point to myself. I’ve written close to four hundred words, and it’s taken me ten minutes. All this stuff zipped through my head in less than one second. Pretty cool!


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