Nugget: As We May Think

“The repetitive processes of thought are not confined however, to matters of arithmetic and statistics. In fact, every time one combines and records facts in accordance with established logical processes, the creative aspect of thinking is concerned only with the selection of the data and the process to be employed and the manipulation thereafter is repetitive in nature and hence a fit matter to be relegated to the machine…If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get far in our understanding of the physical world.” –– As We May Think, Vannevar Bush

 

In Vannevar Bush’s “As We May Think,” he creates extensive analogies of science and innovation relating it to knowledge and the way we go about attaining and understanding that knowledge. In this passage, Bush aims to explain that thought is never linear, meaning that it never originates from one idea nor does it ever lead to just to one other idea. This is because our brains are like an interconnected web of knowledge, ideas, experiences, perspectives, morals, values, etc. which all contributes to how we think the way we do. The beauty of the idea of thought is that it is holistic, which according to Google means  “characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.”  Our ideological way of thinking is holistic because it can, for example, be based off of our experiences, then refined by logical processes using the current knowledge we already have and/or by the morals and values we uphold, and fueled creatively by our curious nature to put the idea into different perspectives. Furthermore, our thoughts are never stationary as they become manipulated by new experiences and as we put them into even more different perspectives.

This passage resonates with me not only because it was not only something I agreed with, but also because I was intrigued by how it related back to me personally. First off, it reminded me of the academic program I was apart of in High School in which one of  its goal was to provide each student with a holistic education.  Thus, for example, we had to describe how what we were currently learning in one classes related back holistically to the other subjects we were currently learning in other classes. It also intrigues me because it reminded me of the explanation I offer for when anyone ever asks me why I chose to be a Chemistry Major — because it explains the Biology and incorporates Mathematics and some Physics as it offers a deeper analysis of science — which I feel is a holistic way of looking at the idea of Chemistry itself.

5 thoughts on “Nugget: As We May Think”

  1. Excellent points here. “Our ideological way of thinking is holistic because it can, for example, be based off of our experiences, then refined by logical processes using the current knowledge we already have and/or by the morals and values we uphold, and fueled creatively by our curious nature to put the idea into different perspectives” is so astute! I wonder how the internet plays into this motivating web of knowledge you mention..

  2. I would have to agree with you that our thought processes are indeed holistic, as attempted to be explained in many different disciplines. The mind is such an intricate vessel that with all of the technology we have achieved, we are still on a quest to understand more. I think as humans we definitely like to stick to one discipline in order to understand something as complex as the mind because it is simply easier to narrow our research goals. However, a subject such as the mind and thought process is all encompassing of an array of research conclusions and collaboration is an important tool in order to make profound discoveries. Great nugget, and definitely thought provoking!

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