Here’s a thought. Where? Can’t see it, hear it, feel it, smell it or taste it. Where is it? What is it?
Please take a minute or less to do the following: stop thinking.
Impossible, right? Now do the same thing and try to count how many thoughts come and go unbidden. Thousands maybe, all swirling together, some or maybe most lasting less than a millisecond. Some bring colours. Some bring words.
Now try this: 30 seconds of observed thinking but so not allow any words in your thoughts.
Again, impossible. Like being told not to think of an elephant.
You may be thousands of miles away but I’ve just put an elephant ‘in your head’.
I’ll leave it to you to work out whether it’s worth thinking about all of this. If you’re so inclined, add a bonus question. How are we able ever to keep a ‘straight line’ of thought, how can we ‘see a thought through’ the infinite universe of thought? How on earth do we finish or even start a novel, either reading or writing it?
Finally, here is an article I’d like you to skim through quickly. Skim because it’s specialist and technical. It reports on the ‘life’ of a single thought. Each thought, it shows, involves increasingly larger parts of the mind from infinitessimal cells, involving every part of the brain and body (i.e. not localised) and entangled in culture and the world. Much food for thought. Here’s its summary in a nutshell:
The life of the each thought in the brain includes a huge number of orders of magnitude at the same time. There are so many levels there is no way other than lists to describe all of the mechanisms acting at once—12 orders of magnitude are involved—all of them representing the very same event.
- Quantum effects
- Molecules, small and large
- Cellular motors
- Scaffolding structures
- Neurons and Glial Cells
- Networks of Neurons and glial cells
- Brain Hubs
- Brain Regions
- Total Brain
- Interactions with Others
- Science, Society and Culture