Speed of Mind`

Yes?  The topic is the mind, not the brain, the thing that thinks and feels, not the organ that houses it.

The mind is generally divided in the conscious mind, the unconscious and the subconscious mind.  In this essay, I ignore this fact but focus on the speed of the mind.  I am not concerned with what part or parts contribute or are involved in mental activity.

Without saying, the speed of the mind strongly depends on the organic condition of the brain, how well it is nourished, the composition of the fluid the brain floats in and a cocktail of particular chemicals located in and around the transmission lines between the brain cells.
The topic I postulate today is:

“The faster the clock speed, tact or beat of the mind, the lower its ability to remember.”  

What do I mean by this?  Allow me do provide you with some information.

The Process of Sensing

Several components enable us to sense what happens around us.  Sensory organs are the receiver of external events.  Via a transmitter, it is connected to a nerve strand.  The transmitter changes the signal from the organ (touch, smell) into an electrical signal at a specific potential, which allows the sensed event to be carried by a strand of nerves to the brain.

Our sensory organs are constantly bombarded with signals (or call it information) from around.  Generally, they absorb those messages indiscriminately, up to their maximal absorption rate and capacity.

Allow me to explain with the example of the ear.  It is my favourite sensory organ, the one I know most about.

Did you know, the ear never sleeps?  We hear everything around us, all the time, a mishmash of sounds at different volume levels.  The ear cannot discriminate and say: ‘I like this sound and not the other.  I do not want to hear this sound.’ Even sometimes, we may wish so.

However, determined by its construction, there is a natural gain limiter built into the ear, preventing damage (unless regularly abused).  The same design also limits our hearing range, high sounds too slow sounds.

The next limitation is caused by the nerve fibres connecting the ear (and any other organ) with the brain.  Those fibres have certain limited conductivity, like a line of electrical wire.  Meaning: ‘Not everything the ear hears is transmitted to the brain.  Some is lost in transmission.’

Altogether, we have six or seven senses, and they all send their information to the brain, simultaneously.  Who is going to sort it all out?  Initially the brain, then the mind.

The Processing of Sensory Information

I have given you already a bit of a clue.  The brain does the first sorting out.  The nerves from the sensory organs (and all other organs, too) are connected to particular parts of the brain, which are specialised in processing the information from the various organs.  Too easy.  Still, during a given period of time, the brain can handle only a specific number of data bits.

The mind, too, has only a limited ability to absorb and process information.  This differs from person to person.  Some people can grasp a lot of information and respond quickly.

Some are slower and need time to understand what they have just heard, seen or received through other senses before they can make sense of it and respond.

Unfortunately, in our society, the slow absorbers are often considered as dumb, stupid, an unjust and ignorant judgement.  As a fact, their responses can often be more to the point.

Often these people feel forced to respond as fast and smart, copying what is portrayed on the television shows because they believe it is normal.  They forget these people are selected for their ability to talk fast and expressive.  What they say, the smart conversations, come from scripts, thought out and written by groups of writers, which can originate from all variations of thinking speed.

And why is it, people with fast processing speed having a lower ability to remember?  Sorry, there is still some way to go, before I can begin to explain.

Initially, I will have to define a few words and concepts so you can see where I am coming from.  Otherwise, you would hear me make statements, and for the rest of the time, we would argue about, who is right or wrong.

To remember means: to be able to repeat at any time something a person has learned before.  A bit like a parrot… there are many forms of learning.  This is another topic.  Mostly, we learn through repetition.  Unless the experience of receiving information is strong, incredibly strong (at a getting hit by a train level), mostly, we forget soon.  

About the way, the mind picks up information, experiences and sensations.

When we are awake, the mind never stops.  Just like a recorder of video and sound running continuously.  It records everything.  Literally, everything.  For example: you sit on the train and are not much occupied with yourself or any task at hand.  You look around.

There is a group of young people over there, dressed a bit over funky.  A woman with a baby, her pram is blocking the passage.  A boy hangs from the handles on the bars at the ceiling, like a monkey, I wish I would have his energy.  It just goes on.

You feel the warmth of the sun, annoyed by the glare, and the sound of the rumbling of the carriage wheels.  So much, and more, all in a very short moment.

Initially, the mind does not know, what’s important and what not.  It absorbs as much as its “recording” speed allows.  It also jumps from one thing to another.  It’s a bit like having a strongly directional microphone attached to a sound recorder.

All the sounds are there at the same time, but pointing the microphone towards one or another sound source changes, which event is recorded.  The parts are recorded adjacently, but they do not belong together.

When you listen to the recording later, some section could be so short or unrelated, you cannot remember what they mean, or which other bits it belongs to.  You may not even remember this sound event ever occurring.

The more “active” the mind, more it jumps from one event to the next.  The snippets are shorter and shorter and reduce on significance “potential” and therefore are harder to be found again and reconnected to one continuous event (remembered).

Especially simple things are harder to remember


Amadeus W.

24 July 2012

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