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Thinking about Thought

September 24, 2008

I like to think about thinking.

Metacognition is one of my favorite pastimes and I always assumed that others practice this, too. I recently learned that this isn’t the case when I tried to describe the process of retracing thoughts to their origins. I’m not sure if I can describe it here but I’ll try.

Have you ever reached a thought and wondered how that thought entered your mind? You begin to retrace your thinking pattern back as far as you can to reach the original thought. One notion leads to another in a chain of ideas. The chain can be very long and sometimes it’s impossible to get back to the original thought.

Stories seem to work in the same way. I am inspired to start writing because of an idea but this thought was developed from other thoughts. Sometimes the heart of the story is a byproduct of thinking processes. Occasionally, I can get back to the initial spark of inspiration. Other times I can’t.

Sometimes ideas seem to pop up out of nowhere. I expect nowhere is the subconscious. Each thought is connected to other thoughts, even though they seem disjointed.

I’m curious. Do you think about thinking? Are there patterns of thoughts that can be traced back to a certain origin? Are any of your thoughts completely unattached to others? How does thinking affect your writing.

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5 Comments
  1. September 24, 2008 9:41 am

    Great post – I really didn’t understand Metacognition, so I had to look it up. Fascinating!

  2. September 24, 2008 10:28 am

    I’m with Bobbi, I had to look that up, too. :D

    What an interesting, thought-provoking post, Tammi. Thank you for writing it!

    I’ve experienced this, though not on the same level. Sometimes, when my family is sitting around the dinner table and my youngest son blurts something out (which he does on a regular basis – he’s quite amusing, actually), we’ll ask him, where that thought came from.

    It’s fascinating to listen to him retrace his thought process back to where it prompted his random thought.

    In addition, I think retracing our thoughts back to the origin tell us a little something about ourselves and our thought process, too.

  3. September 24, 2008 12:14 pm

    Interesting post, i do think about thinking and I am intrigued by where some ideas come from.

  4. September 24, 2008 6:20 pm

    Yeah, I do this a lot. Especially when I come to a memory that hadn’t entered my mind in a long time.

    Like something reminds me of another memory, and something from that memory reminds me of something else and the chain leads to something far out from the first memory, indeed.

  5. October 7, 2008 12:52 pm

    oh, just bane of my existence, that’s all. i suspect anyone introspective is susceptible to this. but, it sure can be fun. :)

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