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Thinking without language?

Alan Roth alan42 at mindspring.com
Sun Nov 21 07:29:21 EST 1999

Lee Sau Dan 李守敦 <sdlee at faith.csis.hku.hk> wrote in message
news:7fpux48460.fsf at faith.csis.hku.hk...
> Anyway, your  observation is a  pretty typical one: some  people think
> more dominantly  in words and  some people tend to  visualize concepts
> more often.   I myself  fall into  the latter group.   I find  it much
> easier to  memorize and make  derivations by visualization:  a diagram
> beats a thousand words!  However, there are times that I think neither
> verbally  or visually:  When I'm  humming a  piece of  music.   When I
> recite the first  200 decimal places of pi, I do  it musically: I rely
> on the sounds and (predominantly) tones of the Cantonese pronunciation
> of  the 10 digits.   So, I  can't recite  them if  I try  to do  it in
> Mandarin or English.
I have a musical background but had not thought of using it this way,
(and I certainly can't recite pi to 200 decimal places with sheer
memorization).  BTW, I have come to realize that I feel in music. Strong
feelings are associated with melodies even when the lyrics are not
clearly remembered. It is almost as if the meaning of a "good" song is
as much in the music as in the words.

>     Alan> This was novel to me, but I taught myself to visualize
>     Alan> concepts, even abstract ones--guess what--my comprehension
>     Alan> of the world increased with practice and I suspect my
>     Alan> measureable IQ has risen too--(it hasn't been tested
>     Alan> recently, but one knows what things are amenable to solution
>     Alan> and not).
> Knowing  more methods  of  thinking  (as well  as  more languages)  do
> increase your ability to think.   At least, you have more alternatives
> to try,  so that  you can hit  some more  effective ones by  trial and
> error.

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