June 28, 2010

Abstracting the thought process to a higer level : about facebook and twitter status updates

How do you generally think ? as in how do you see things when you are thinking about something. It is a known fact(you can check for yourself) that whenever someone thinks he/she uses the natural language he/she is most comfortable with, to represent the thought process implicitly. So when I look at a lady, and If she is beautiful, the first thing that flashes in my mind is "too good" or "gorgeous" or "beautiful" or just "WOW". So the thoughts are in a language. Now lets see what this greatly misleading blog post is all about.

Higher abstraction ??
Yeah, that is exactly what I am talking about. Now there are some instances when we think about things not directly at their level, but how about how they would be expressed to someone else or a similar way. For example, if you are trying to lie that you did not have your breakfast. When you plan the lie, what flashes in your brain is not the absolute representation of the thought in some language, as in you won't think about "I did not eat breakfast", rather the thoughts which appear are : "The breakfast was not good, so I did not have it", "I did not  have time", "would he/she/they believe it" etc. So here you are thinking at a higher level which consists the lie, but is abstracted around other things like whom you are lying to, what are the other situations. So this is called abstracting the thought process to a level beyond the simple natural language representation of thoughts. Indeed this form of thinking is more common that the basic form.

Wasting yourself !
Now what has actually happened with the advent of SN and micro-blogging sites like facebook and twitter is that, people have started thinking about everything they do and everything they intend to do in the terms of these services. So a person addicted to these, before going for lunch, would think about how he would put this up on his facebook wall or update his status on twitter (about lunch !), he does think about every aspect of the lunch, but not really about his lunch, but how he would talk about it. So this is a even higher abstraction of the thought process. Now why is this wasting yourself (if you are doing this), it is really simple, you are wasting too much time, you are thinking about too many things and considering too many factors for say something as simple as going for lunch. Unfortunately all this happens passively and is often really tough to detect the symptoms, as the thought process is mostly just mental, not a visible process. So check if you are already doing this. Better later than never.

It does help !
You would be surprised, but this kind of thinking does really help in some corner cases. Think about a situation when someone is trying to put up a technical thought on one of these sites. He/she has convert it to really simple terms. You might have heard or seen this line somewhere or the other : "If you can explain it to your grandma, you have understood it", so it works in a similar way. For example, I bet most people ("most") on my facebook friend list are no better than my grandma at understanding a few of my thoughts, so when I try to update something out of excitement, I have to convert it into really layman terms. That in some cases (not exactly my case) helps in understanding, what they are thinking about, better.

But there are really few useful things about this habit, and the good effects can easily be substituted with other solutions, so better check if you are already addicted !