Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorization by rote learning


 "A serious man in dealing with severe subjects carefully avoids writing,"  lamented Plato about the spread of writing. He considered only unwritten knowledge to be deeper and more seasoned because it can stand up against arguments. Also, the emergence of human thought before the widespread prevalence of writing is notable. A great number of philosophers and sages — many of them well known today, Jesus, Buddha, Plato, Aristotle. Laozi (Lao-Tzu) and others — addressed the most important philosophical, scientific questions of human thought. Their questions remain relevant and in some cases remain unresolved to this day. The identity of great thinkers might be preserved for history because of writing, but their work might be just a time capsule of thousands of years of verbal evolution of thought that was solidified and frozen in permanent, written record.

To find an answer, it is essential to go back to Plato's lament about memorization and reasoned thought. Today the accepted view is that learning must be based on understanding. Finding logical connections in a new material makes learning fun, exciting and motivating. However, in any subject matter, lots of information fall outside this requirement. This is particularly true for basic knowledge that forms the foundation, such as vocabulary, or basic definitions. Rotary memorization takes a conscious effort but forms automatic associations because of long-term potentiation between neuronal connections. Also, building new connections weakens old associations, which increases mental flexibility. Instead of analyzing elementary relationships, a larger picture can emerge. This makes rotary learning invaluable.

The importance of emotion in memorization and learning has been shown by Kimberly et al. Greater emotional experiences impact mental focus to a greater extent and consequently better remembered. Also, negative emotional experiences are remembered even better than positive ones, as sensational, violent experiences compete for students' attention in school. Csikszentmihalyi and Hunter have shown that acquiring psychological capital by learning imbues long-term happiness and even well-being. Positive attitude in school work makes learning pleasurable and highly efficient, especially if concepts are actively discovered. Rote learning is viewed as an old-fashioned, shallow learning method, which has no place within the contemporary school. Rotary learning, prevalent in Asian countries, has another benefit, as a form of meditation, enhances mood and imparts patience and emotional stability. Rotary learning of course also enhances mental capital, which comes in handy when taking international tests or applies for higher learning. Patience and emotional stability as a direct result of rotary learning can take us back to Plato. Rock-solid foundation of knowledge is a great benefit during debates, because it imparts fluid, seasoned connections between material, leading to confidence. A person with a solid mental ground cannot be shaken easily. Although confidence does not grade the validity of knowledge, the debate does, which again proves Plato point. Debate creates a solid framework, on which to file away knowledge. In writing it is far easier easy to cover up inconsistencies in argument, as the falsities of immense number 'scientific ideas' of the past well demonstrate. It might also explain why the depth of philosophical discussions in antiquity was rarely surpassed until today. In the coming years, how relevant will the sea of scientific information published in prestigious journals remain? 

How to build a better society? Lively social, political and scientific conversation and debate on social media form a better community. This would naturally weed out unreliable, fake news items. A well-informed citizenry is emotionally stable and makes good decisions even at the ballot box.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Belief and emotional gravity; the opposing poles of the mental universe

Gravity curving the fabric of space

The ever-present force of gravity governs the movement of objects and dictates the posture of living creatures, plants and animals. We tend to take gravity for granted and only become aware of its importance when we lose our balance or changes of speed due to acceleration or breaking. However, the mental world responds to and regulated by the temporal field, which leads to a temporal, or emotional gravity. Gravity underlies material existence and temporal gravity gives a stable foundation for our mental world. In fact, constant change degrades the feeling of security, and can even lead to madness. In material systems gravity causes interaction. Inversely, interaction is the source of gravity. Temporal (emotional) gravity also triggers interaction through emotions. Just like gravity is a pressure, characteristic of the positive spatial curvature regions of material aggregates, temporal gravity is a temporal pressure that forms the restrictions of society. Thus, emotional gravity depends on the social environment. (In animals temporal gravity is characteristic of the ecosystem.) For this reason, enormous individual differences in emotional gravity among animals and people exist. As matter settles according to its density and mass, people also tend to separate in society according to their emotional gravity. Although large temporal gravity is constricting, its absence produces carelessness and superficiality. The pressure of high temporal gravity triggers negative attitude and negative outlook, which overwhelms with details, making problems—even the easiest ones—difficult. 

Characteristics of high temporal gravity people: 
  • A critical tendency, resistance to change 
  • Enthusiastic to start projects, but not having the patience to finish them 
  • The tendency for highly repetitious language 
  • They can be easily cheated by empty promises 
  • They are characterized by large emotional swings (personal attacks, violence followed by regret and overly nice behavior) 

Emotional gravity also depends on individual characteristics and even age. The flexibility and resiliency of young people indicate small emotional gravity. Although they adapt well to changes, including fashion trends, boundless joy, and excruciating pain make the emotional life of children intense. Temporal gravity increases with age, which also mutes the intensity of emotions, so the difference between joy and pain decreases. Since higher brain frequencies are deterministic and form detail-oriented mental processing, they correlate with a contracting mind. This is a highly uncertain mental world, which is based on fear, so it requires constant assurances of safety. However, seeking safety remains futile and hopeless over the long run. Gravity is conserved in space. Temporal gravity is also a stable force, which gives the energy to hold on, to maintain old habits, relationships, and our belongings. These are important for the feeling of security. Gaslighting, named after a film with the same title, is the intentional creation of insecurity by falsifying reality.

However, people with high emotional gravity often resort to criticism in an inherent search to test the temporal limitation of the environment. Their insecurity and neediness prompt them onto a constant search to increase control over their immediate environment, which can lead to abusive tendencies. Opposite to gravity, belief and trust is a source of emotional strength and prerequisite of intellect. An expanding, trusting mind gravitates toward positive emotional states. Even suffering and pain has a meaning for them. Belief is an inner confidence of trust, which gives courage, it allows selfless and altruism when others are in trouble and even in difficult, adverse consequences it permits adherence to moral principles. Although open and more trusting, emotionally stable people cannot be easily cheated. Belief is the stable intellectual ground, on which to formulate a system of thought in the mind. This organizational reflection of the world and society is called a worldview. What is your worldview? Does it support your goals with trust and confidence or does it undermine your future by filling you with hesitation and fear?

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The Science of Consciousness, please join the discussion
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Copyright © 2017 by Eva Deli