Thursday, March 12, 2009

thinking and hyperlinks

as we've seen already this week, my mind works very strangely. i can go from a simple teapot to early soviet film in one post. and even (more or less) explain how i got there. and because i just finished malcolm gladwell's blink, i've been pondering thought processes in general.

consider the following series of pictures:

our brains are processing stuff in the background all the time. as an example: i tried to consciously note all of the things that went through my mind as i just went downstairs to pour another cup of tea--a simple and rather automatic act. along the way, i noted that one of the pictures in the stairway was a bit crooked and thought about how they get that way all the time because they're in such a high traffic area. i flashed also for a moment on the ruin of pergamon that was IN the picture and smiled as i remembered the heat and sunshine and how i was wearing white linen and sabin a sundress that day. as i stirred my tea, i looked at the skinny laminx cloth napkin that was sitting on the countertop with a sprig of evergreen still laying on it and one of my precious resurrection fern crocheted stones. which led me to think of the set of my own stones that i sent to margie yesterday. that in turn made me think of some of the stones upstairs in a dark corner of the bookshelves and i wondered if i should have included any of them. i went up, cup of tea in hand and looked at the stones and saw a shard of ceramic with numbers on it that i found on the old base in subic and i remembered the little bottle of sea glass gathered on a beach near there in the philippines. which made me think about how the treasured and revered sea glass is really trash that some jerk has thrown into the ocean in the form of glass bottles which then break and tumble in the waves until they are smooth, pretty pieces of tumbled glass that wash up on shore and which people actually sell on etsy. which made me think of my list and how i need to just get my eyeball pillows up on etsy already.

it has taken me nearly an hour to write and gather pictures for the above (while doing laundry and lighting two fireplaces and a dozen other tasks), but the whole chain of thoughts probably took under 30 seconds in reality. because our minds are fast. they link things and make connections. i've been thinking for awhile about hyperlinks and whether they map this thought process and reflect it. and that's part of why i set all the hyperlinks above.

of course the whole concept of hyperlinks is manmade, so it no doubt reflects something of a human thought process, since it is born of it. (why am i always getting myself into chicken and egg circles?) but is it an example of that sense i get of the internet as taking on kind of life of its own--evolving us (and perhaps itself) to the next level? or is it just a topography of thought insofar as thought can at all be mapped? how many thoughts did i actually have along the way during those 30 seconds that i didn't catch hold of, that couldn't be mapped? would my topography simply have blanks, or would i be able to fill them in if i could tune in to that unconscious level?

that's some heavy pondering for a thursday and i'm definitely not done thinking about it. how about you?


Molly said...

Ooo, ooo, ooo - don't have time to properly respond right now but just to quickly say: I call them thinkylinks and have been pondering them for ages - will definitely elaborate soon.
And also, seriously your house is beautiful! Love the pics on the stairs ...

Samantha S said...

Wow I love your pictures.

Barb said...

I love this post especially your comment on "Our brains are processing stuff in the background all the time". Funny on my blog this morning I talked about something similar that I have been pondering for quite a while now.

Good thought provoking post.
Barb xo

Char said...

I think it's early and my brain hurts! :)

will said...

Hypothetically speaking, but I suspect you are still in the exploring phase of life.

paris parfait said...

Glad to know it's not just me who goes from one thing to the next in the space of a few seconds. Yes, we are always processing things in the background. Sometimes I note something in my subconscious mind and later bring it to the light to examine it further. But I woke up with a headache today, which hasn't gone away, so that's all I can bring to the table, at the moment. P.S. Get those pillows up, already! :)

tangobaby said...

I think the best part about thinking is all of a sudden realizing that you DO.

And beach glass... how my sister and I used to love hunting for it on weekends with our parents. Thanks for that memory.

Laura Doyle said...

You are certainly one of my favorite people right now. I have had a similar experience/conversation in which I narrated similar trains of thought to my husband, using all the same types of words and transitions that you did. He looked at me as if I was a goddess, or at least some new species of Man. Then I told him that all of it was the product of only 30 seconds and he nearly died of amazement. He claims his brain doesn't work that way. I wonder if he just isn't aware of it or if I really am just strange. If so, at least I can be strange with you. : )

Oh, and this is addressed to Bill (in re his comment). Bill, what phase comes after exploring? Nevermind. Don't answer that. : )

Bee said...

As I was reading the paragraph about your thought process, I realized that I was visualizing a sun . . . in the way that children often draw it -- with beams of different lengths radiating from the center. A thought can have this same strong center -- and yet all of these offshoots as well.

I wish that I could read hyperlinks with the same speed that I make them . . . I don't know if hyperlinks mimic our brains as much as they just depict the interlinking and overlapping informational flow. I need to think about it more!

Really interesting post, J. It takes stream-of-consciousness to a more conscious level.

Margie Oomen said...

God I love this post . It describes what I feel happening in my mind all the time so very very well. Your photographs are amazing and I can't wait to see the stones you have or will be sending. I think I am up for the merfish challenge.

Cindy said...

I loved your post- my mind cycles in very much the same way, it is so hard to focus on any one thing whan the world (and the internet) is such a rich and wonderful place. I love, love the stones and the little bits of things you have collected... and you arrange and photograph them in such an interesting way.
My mom used to offer us rewards for certain colors of beach glass-
blue was 50 cents and red promised the highest reward of one dollar. I believe I have only found one piece of red beach glass in my lifetime.(With seven kids, I think she was just trying to keep us busy.)