On the way I think we think...

myself: What are you uttering?

me: Words that just crossed my head when I looked at that person.

me: Oh. He’s coming.

myself: What! Why? You judgmental bastard. He was just asking for help.

me: Aye. I’m not judging.

myself: Oh you egotist you are.

me: No, seriously. Brain does this all the time. It seems to be hard-wired to simulate, or as you’re saying, judge.

myself: Whatever. He’s gone now. As you’ve been blubbering. It was biased thinking on your part you know.

me: hmmm. I know.

myself: But it does makes sense from evolutionary point of view.

me: Exactly!

Following is a thought experiment on the way I think we think. Suppose some random person is given a task completely new to him in a place he has never seen: he is asked to follow a straight path with a bush of flowers at it’s end, and to the fetch one for the next few days. He walks barefoot. The path is dry, dusty and narrow like a creek, circumscribed with grass patches on the sides.

Day 1:
He starts walking down the path, somewhat anxious the whole time, plucks a flower and comes back. During this, he experiences a new area, a dry feeling on his foot, and forms relative memories. He also recalls some of the things he had seen from his past experiences like trees on the side. At night, he recalls the task and forms various coherent stories in his head based on his new experience and experiences from the past, like running on that path or plucking a leaf from the adjacent trees. “The dry path is not very comfortable”, he reviews in his head.

Day 2:
Recalling at once all the memories linked to the chore, he reviews the task to be simple without any problems. Before starting his walk, he also recalls the uncomfortable feeling walking on a dry-dusty path. Looking to the sides, he sees grass wet from the morning dew. Curiously, he steps on it, experiences a new feeling, which he cherishes. Recalling from the memories formed the other day, he knows the whole path is circumscribed with grass. He resumes his chore walking on the wet grass to reach his destination. On his way back, he randomly steps on a sharp object unseen in the blades of the grass, hurting one of his feet. He is familiar with the feeling, which is distressing, for he had once stepped on a nail back in his home. Walking with a cut on one of his foot, he makes his way back. He experienced new things and formed relative memories. At night, he concludes that walking on grass though comfortable, is risky for it contains sharp objects that might hurt his feet. He recalls what happened and forms coherent stories based on his new experience and that of the past, like walking on the dry path as he did the other day. He reviews in his head that if he hadn’t craved for comfort, he would have not get hurt.

Day 3:
At once recalling the nail in the grass, he starts walking on the dry path again. On his way, he accidentally steps on a sharp stone covered in dust that again hurts one of his feet. He experiences a new thing, relative memories formed. After making his way back, he recalls what he experienced, forming coherent stories based on today’s and past experience, like walking carefully and looking for sharp objects on the path. He reviews that be it grass or the dry path, he should walk carefully.

Day 4:
He walks carefully throughout, mostly on grass, and sometimes on the dry path. He plucks the flower and comes back satisfied with himself.

I hope the implications were clear enough for the reader. Having experienced a new thing, we can recall memories linked to that experience, we can link those memories with memories from past experiences to form coherent stories and review i.e. introspect each one of those stories.

#continued: on-why-bees-don’t-have-lawyers