Sunday, 18 November 2007

Kinds of thinking

Julian Jaynes in an extract from a lecture given at a symposium on consciousness in 1985, titled "Consciousness and the Voices of the Mind" focused on the problem of consciousness and its origin in evolution.
He mentioned first that
"It is easy for the average layman to understand. But paradoxically, for philosophers, psychologists, and neurophysiologists, who have been so used to a different kind of thinking, it is a difficult thing."

What is that different kind of thinking and why it happens? Or, are there different kinds of thinking? and if so what makes them different? The average layman's kind of thinking and the expert's kind of thinking? What is the difference between these two kinds of thinking, if they are actually kinds of thinking. Both follow a trajectory that moves forward to whatever that leads to. As it moves forward it is thoroughly engaged and seldom, or never, looks back. A paradigm shift.

The layman's kind of thinking less specialized therefore broad whereas the expert's specialized and therefore narrow. The layman's kind of thinking quickly takes up the new proposal whereas the expert's kind of thinking has to accommodate the new proposal only after some drastic changes in the expert's underlying conceptual framework.

Kinds of thinking driven by the accumulated arsenal of concepts. Concepts building up in ever expanding tree structures probing deeper into reality driven by the concerted efforts of experts in a field.

Experts' kind of thinking is narrow but probes deeper into reality equipped by their advanced grasp of concepts but at the same time limits their exposure to new ideas as it is hard to abandon a somewhat cherished view of looking at things.

A layman's kind of thinking devoid of such qualms can easily accept any new ideas. A versatile mode of thinking that it is easier to adapt to the new ideas and advance them to whatever extent he chooses to.

Julian Jaynes' innovative approach to consciousness are easy for the average layman to understand and at the same time a difficult thing for the expert.