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Complex Thought or Complexity of Thinking

Updated on October 5, 2014

The Mind Boggles

There are degrees of intelligence and degrees of learning and many from the lowest degree of intellect can have a high degree of learning whereas the highest degree of intelligence may have the lowest degree of learning. While that portrays the extremes there are all stops in between and many more combinations of possibilities.

That is the mix and that is the dilemma and that is the trouble with the human mind. There is no fairness of place, no non discrimination and no consideration other than what suits the mind of the individual and the confused brains of those who might brainwash us into their way of thinking. But how do we escape the trap and decide for ourselves what path we should take, what is right and wrong in our world and what should we, as individuals, be doing with our lives? How do we affect others and what is the output of our inner self that others will criticise and ultimately judge us by?

Intellect is gauged in many different ways and it is the sum of who we are and what we do. It determines motivation, success or failure, education or lack thereof, abilities to perform, the management we give to things and the difficulties we face. It allows peace or creates anxiety. It determines our path forward and it allows us to shrug off the ridiculous and engage in the common sense notions we are all capable of. But how do we measure it within ourselves? To what yardstick are we attached to and is it the right one for a happy life?

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Renee Descartes (public domain image)
Renee Descartes (public domain image)

Am I Really Alive

How do I know?

A 17th Century French thinker named Renee Descarte, who is claimed to be the father of Modern Pholosophy, examined this very question. He noted "I think, therefore I am, or I am thinking, therefore I exist" (part IV of Discourse on the Method), as a solution to understanding whether or not we can determine if we are alive. But all animals think and it is no measure of intellect but it most certainly does indicate that one has a brain and is alive.

But the question is how do we use that brain and what can it do for us in the course of our being alive?

From birth to death we are in a cocoon determined by our environment. If we are isolated and dominated we are likely to be withdrawn, ignorant, uninformed and, at the very least, intolerant to outside influences. If, on the other hand we are exposed to learning, other societies and people, travel and knowledge we will likely be outgoing, opinionated (of varying degrees) , confident and useful The more learning we undertake the more self assurance and confidence we will acquire.

So to fit into this criteria we have to prepare ourselves through discipline that involves learning and above all research. That would entail courses and reading, Anyone can do it and be properly informed on any subject. Such attention to this should occur on a daily basis.

The image of Descartes is from Wikipedia

Body Awareness

Is pain a measure of being alive?

My sister when asked by me how she knows that she is alive said because she feels pain. But what is pain? It is the conduction of awareness of a symptom within the body to the brain via the nervous system in an effort to correct the problem or relieve pressure to help resolve it. That's my definition anyway. For this to happen nerves must be present and functional. But there are many cases where nerves are damaged, such as when the spinal cord is severed, and the relevant parts of the body no longer connected via the brain network continue to live on. There is no sensation, however, of pain or any other form of stimulation.

We also feel joy, pleasure, contentment, sorrow, and a myriad of other emotions. The key to all these feelings is, of course, nerves and they may be the factor that determines whether someone is alive.

That leaves us with the conclusion that in order to feel what is happening to our bodies the brain is the key. We might now be able to change Descartes exclamation to "I feel, therefore I am". But parts that cannot feel continue to live as long as there is a blood supply. Is the blood the key to knowing whether we are alive? Should it be ""I bleed, therefore, I am".

But many things are alive and active that have no blood, as we know it. The smallest life forms, bacteria, amoeba, algae, and so on, have no blood. Nor, we might add, do worms, grubs, flies, beetles, and other insects. So what gives them life? Do these things have a heart? Mostly we can answer no because they have no circulation. What about snails and fish, snakes and alligators? What keeps them alive and how do they know what to eat, where they are going, how to function and so on? Do they have a brain? Or are they governed by the environment, magnetic attraction, smell, taste, and so on.

Organised insect colonies, such as bees, ants, termites, and so on, run their lives with perfect order and a highly sophisticated political system. At the head is the queen. But does she rule or does the colony rule her? It seems like workers have an agenda that no matter what the queen might do or want they are in control. They gather food, feed their young, take eggs into a nursery situation and determine what eggs will be workers and which ones will turn into queens or drones. In other words these small short lived slaves are really the bosses. They are alive and active, great community providers and they work on nothing but smell, feel and taste, that we can see.

But underneath there is something else. Its called instinct. Every creature born has instinct. First it is to survive, then it is to create the right living conditions, after this to earn a living and finally to breed. Is this how we determine whether or not we are alive?

A Responsible Life

Take Part in Community Activities

Share your thoughts with others

Make an effort to be a good citizen

Set a good example for others to follow

Be kind and generous

Take nothing for granted

How Do You Assess Whether you are Alive? - Is it something you have ever thought about?

We take so much for granted and we could be living a dream or just be a part of the evironment whereby we have no future beyond where we are at. But we know that we will probably be here tomorrow and still be around in a few years time. We know that we are influenced by the environment, sometimes hot, sometimes cold, and that we need to sleep and refresh our bodies and mind for another day. But is that being alive?

Have you given any thought to how your mind works and whether or not you can train it into better performance

Yes

Yes

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    • Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Yes, the mind is powerful, trained or not.

    • healthimage 4 years ago

      I'm convinced the mind can be improved by constant use - and not just reacting to what's around us. By often engaging in creative, disciplined thought the mind can be expanded and real ideas flow more easily. Like anything, practice makes perfect!

    • anonymous 4 years ago

      All the time!

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, but it's a very individual thing. We may read, as you may write, about the various means and methods of improving the mind. Yet each will only take to that which it is naturally inclined. Such articles help, however, in that they help widen one's perspective.

    • Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

      absoloutely!

    • Khalid-Osman 6 years ago

      "I feel, therefore I am" is somewhat as the same as "I think, therefore I am" because the first action of the feelings will only then be interpreted by the brain to reveal the nature of the feeling itself. In this regard, the nerves work as media to the mind to interpret what they feel, whether it is pleasure, pain, etc. Plants feel, but they do not have minds. They have two functionalities, though to transmit to their environment and to react oriented by the natural selection. However, they react by other biological and physical means. It is only that humans and animals have the brains to interpret their feelings and hence suggests their reactions.

      The question of the instinct is very special and it accumulates the functionality of the mind to redirect towards actions.

      I had an anticipation that persisted long with me. It is that we have already lived our first life and we have gone to another stage of live in the mind of our Great creator. So, what is this life we live it today? It is the second life among three standards of live. This anticipation was clear in my poetry book Awakening of the Phoenix. However, it is in Arabic. It appears also between the lines in my novel East to Death and my first short story book Voice of Silence, I wrote during 1970s inspired by those modern philosophies, some of which I have assimilated and forgotten.

      I feel like I am living in a dream, seriously.

    • Louis Wery 6 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

      Yes, I am trying to train myself to focus on the areas within my control instead of feeling frustrated by things that are completely outside my range of influence.

    • reasonablerobby 6 years ago

      Of course the mind can be developed. Critical thinking is an example of growing self awareness

    • MyFairLadyah2 6 years ago

      Absolutely. I do a crossword almost every day and have a personal dictionary of words that I didn't know. It's another way that I explore the world and build my neuronal connections too!

    • RebeccaE 6 years ago

      As I have matured I find pushing my mind is something that is vital to my wellbeing.

    No

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      • Zut Moon 5 years ago

        The mind is a very complex organism. I can't really say that I think about how it works. For me, I think more about my self, my soul and what I need to have have inner peace.

      • MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

        Well, according to Nemo, its all a hoax! :-D

      • the777group lm 6 years ago

        There are three very distinct questions, here. The first two are about "thinking" about the mind and the third about results is entirely dependent upon the philosophical interpretation of the word "better" - and even whether the mind can be trained.

        From a Taoist perspective (think martial arts) discipline + technique can quieten the mind so the Tao can flow. "Better performance" in that system is "un-mind", if you like.

        The Buddah takes it further, where enough moments akin to the Tao opens the "un-mind" to the "no-mind", the Void, where "personality" does not exist.

        It sounds stupid but listen to virtually any great artist (e,g, John Lennon) or athlete. Their peak moments were when their "me" was silenced - and they watched their greatest works or world records being achieved through, not by, them.

      How Much Do You Take In from Your Environment?

      This is the age of knowledge

      Everywhere you look these days there is information and places to learn. With philosophical questions like this lens proposes one needs to know how to resolve it with more than just your own thinking powers. So what do the experts have to say? Have you ever read books on philosophy? They are fascinating and take the twists and turns that help to get to the bottom of such a puzzle.

      But books do more than that. They allow expression of opinions in all areas with an input of fascinating ideas and situations that your brain can jump into and enjoy. They are a gymnasium of tools for it to exercise and grow strong. They help to build your confidence and respect for yourself, to give you self worth and the knowledge and power to defend yourself.

      They not only tell you about the world as it is but about the fanciful situations that it could be if such and such were to occur. They are a minefield of interesting quirks and perks that send sparks of enthusiasm and intrigue into your system. Unlike the normal stimulation from your personal life they help to develop strong emotions and balance out our sense of right and wrong.

      Books are the answer to many problems. They remove the idleness that kills brain power. They increase the brain's ability to overcome problems like minor pains and upsets. They give you alternatives to life's many crazy curves and they bring joy, entertainment and happiness to those who indulge.

      What about Comic Books - Do they have a place in teaching children about books

      How Good are Comic Books?

      Did you read comics as a child or even as an adult

      Yes

      Yes

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        • Zut Moon 5 years ago

          As a child yes as an adult no.

        • Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

          ...I loved comic books and worked at the newsagents sorting the papers so I got to read them ALL! I mss my daughter not having the types of comics I had as a child, now it is all lipstick and too much glamour!

        • chidchan 6 years ago

          I love manga books. I selected the stories about medicines, actions and detectives. The one I like most is Detective Conan (or Case Closed).

        • anonymous 6 years ago

          I love anime comic books because I also love to create one :D

        • Oosquid 6 years ago

          Oh yeah! Superman, Beano, War Comics, Crime Comics, Eagle, whatever I could get my hands on. Might have been better if I'd have read a few books too. :0)

        • D Williams 6 years ago

          Yes they have some benefit as they stimulate reading. Many people who read comic books went on to read more books or create art and/or comic books themselves

        • Louis Wery 6 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

          Yes, I loved comic books. Now I read graphic novels!

        • RebeccaE 6 years ago

          I recetnly began to read comics mostly for enjoyment, so now it is yes.

        • dannystaple 6 years ago

          Yes - I loved comics, and sometimes still do. They may not have the power of a serious book in terms of detail, but can still be thought provoking. I decided recently to become acquainted with Satre, and did so with a comic book like illustrated guide - it was a surprisingly refreshing way to get info, even if it lacked a lot of detail. It was also much less dry than more academic discourses.

        • reasonablerobby 6 years ago

          Yes British classics like Beano, Dandy, and Beezer and loads of DC Comics with Batman Superman et al (the last one is not related to Jor el btw)

        • Bus Stop Toy Shop 6 years ago

          I loved comics as a kid. I read loads of different ones over the years.

        • Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

          I loved comics when I was growing up, I would work at my paper round in order to be able to buy them.

        • TriviaChamp 6 years ago

          I definitely read a few comics when I was younger.

        • norma-holt 6 years ago

          Yes, they fascinated me in all the right ways too. My children were introduced to them also from a very young age.

        • Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

          Loved comics when I was a child!

        No

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          • MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

            Well, certainly not Archie and that is all I read

          • the777group lm 6 years ago

            They didn't have comics in the part of the world where I was growing up.

          The Beginning of the Thought Process

          Every parent knows that the earlier a child begins to read and recognise everyday symbols and sounds the greater the chances of success in later life. That's why flash cards have come into being and other educational programs that aid parents in this quest.

          Children are often portrayed in the media who are so far advanced at early ages that they become celebrities. One child of 2 recently featured on Australian television could name the capital cities of every country in the world. Mozart, at the age of 3 wrote his first symphony. Other children can go straight from kindergarten to High School and some complete university studies when their peers are graduating from college.

          What makes a child so brilliant? Surely there is more to the story than early education. Yes, I believe that children carry knowledge from one life to the next, as happened in my case. This knowledge allows for great adaptability without much learning at all but the mind still needs the resources to get the input that will shine through. This is where parents can play a great role in early childhood intervention.

          Do you really know how much your child is taking in. Snuggle up and start reading because children as young as a few months old will appreciate the pictures, the sounds, the images and the closeness of a parent during this special time. Read more about teaching babies to read by clicking the banner


          One of my biggest handicaps was understanding what non English speakers were saying. Now that is not a worry because I learned many languages and greatly improved my understanding and knowledge of countries and people

          Kids love the excitement and images of comic books. Drama and hope, bad versus good, the unimaginable turned into reality and the sheer joy of the creative pictures work on a child's mind. They teach not only reading but style, art, and focusing on a subject for longer. They also add a different dimension to the emotions and creative discussions that children engage in with peers. Its all magic but its all good fun. This well respected company also sells toys and other things

          Books, Books and Books

          Books make a home. Rooms with shelves of books speak volumes about the occupants and their awareness of the world.

          Bear This in Mind.

          Reading is the basis of all knowledge. It is the oldest vehicle to conduct information from person to person, from country to country, from mind to mind. It is the number one requirement for service to your country and for safety and security. If you can't read then the world is a closed shop with few opportunities available to the illiterate.

          Still images from Dreamstime - click here

          Please leave a rating - thank you

          Cast your vote for Complex Thought or Complexity of Thinking

          Comments

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            • jptanabe profile image

              Jennifer P Tanabe 6 years ago from Red Hook, NY

              Love books - our house overflows with books. If I were rich I'd have a library in my house (and an art gallery and a music room!).

            • profile image

              RebeccaE 6 years ago

              thisi s a lovely and informative lens on books, and something that has made me rethink my views on the power of books.

            • Kylyssa profile image

              Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

              I'm curios as to the reason you feel people should limit themselves to five or fewer books per month? Some folks can't slow down their reading enough to make five books last a whole month. Or do you think people read too much these days?

            • norma-holt profile image
              Author

              norma-holt 6 years ago

              @Kylyssa: Wow, did I really say that somewhere. I would love it if people read a hundred books a month instead of watching television. Maybe its the quiz. I can't get into it right now to check it out.

            • norma-holt profile image
              Author

              norma-holt 6 years ago

              @Kylyssa: that was an error as the quiz module must have changed after I submitted an answer. Thanks for the heads up

            • TriviaChamp profile image

              TriviaChamp 6 years ago

              As much as I love to read, I simply do not have the time to read more than a few books a month. Life can be busy.

              Kudos on the lens. I enjoyed it.

            • LisaAuch1 profile image

              Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

              I always have a book to read, and now my daughter who is 10 also has a library to be proud of, she is also top class in her English, and even won competitions for her short stories, We like to discuss the books as well. Not only is it a hobby but one we enjoy together. What a very thought provoking article.

            • Rachel Field profile image

              Rachel Field 6 years ago

              I'm currently reading through all the books I own because I got into a state where buying books and owning them became more important than reading them - not good when you live in a small cottage!

              Interesting lens.

            • Kylyssa profile image

              Kylyssa Shay 6 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

              Books are conversations for me. I am an autistic person, it's hard for me to carry on a conversation with a person who is actually present. While reading a book, I feel as if I am connecting to another person on a level hard for me to achieve otherwise. I read to soothe myself when I get agitated and anxious.

              P.S. I see you got the poll fixed up!

            • profile image

              dannystaple 6 years ago

              I don't know where I'd be without my books. As I've had to adjust my living space to accommodate a little one, I had to think long and hard about where old books went. I event had to think of a one-in and one-out policy. However, using the local library, and eBooks have helped. I may invest soon in an Amazon Kindle too...

            • TheyCallMeVarmit profile image

              TheyCallMeVarmit 6 years ago

              I love books. They were a way to escape a lot of things and disappear to a new place when things weren't so great growing up. Anything you want to know, everything there is to know, can be found in books. There's nothing better than that.

            • Louis Wery profile image

              Louis Wery 6 years ago from Sarasota, Florida USA

              Very though provoking lens! I love to read. I am excited about the ability to carry a library around, thanks to e-reading devices.

            • Jhangora LM profile image

              Jhangora LM 6 years ago

              Thanx a lot for adding my Lens to this wonderful page. I like the questions you ask here. Like - "How Do You Assess Whether you are Alive?" So often we fall into comfortable patterns and go about our daily living like zombies.

            • Mrmakingusmile LM profile image

              Mrmakingusmile LM 6 years ago

              Awesome lens. Thanks for making me smile.

            • profile image

              Arquinn 6 years ago

              Nice lens! Good Job :-)

              Thanks also for featuring my lens here

            • Philippians468 profile image

              Philippians468 6 years ago

              read more, watch tv less! cheers

            • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

              MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

              Thoughtful lens

            • ChrisDay LM profile image

              ChrisDay LM 6 years ago

              Food for thought :-)

            • sheriangell profile image

              sheriangell 5 years ago

              Norma thank you very much for the feature here. There is an abundance of issues and content here on this page to stimulate the thought process!

            • LisaAuch1 profile image

              Lisa Auch 5 years ago from Scotland

              i love to read, and fortunately my daughter does too, and we love exploring the library together! How wonderful to see you!

            • David Dove profile image

              David Dove 5 years ago

              The geatest gift that my father ever gaveme was a love of books and reading. Great lens, thank you.

              David

            • Rankography profile image

              Rankography 5 years ago

              Nice Lens, very though provoking - - pun intended

            • profile image

              SteveKaye 4 years ago

              I tend to snack on books, so I may be reading a dozen at the same time. And then I go back to read parts of books that I've read.

            • profile image

              anonymous 4 years ago

              I think... There is a lot to think about! :))

            • profile image

              cmadden 4 years ago

              Dare I say . . . thought-provoking?

            • whiteskyline lm profile image

              whiteskyline lm 4 years ago

              Someone already said what I was going to say - 'thought provoking' :)

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