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C2V
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12 Jul 2016, 3:01 am

Socrates was once said to have coined the familiar phrase, "the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”
Similar to the ideas discussed in this here topic - viewtopic.php?t=323355 which for some reason, whenever I tried to reply to, WP "banned" it.
I found that I had, in a sense, done this by persuasion. I would test people - begin discussing a genuinely interesting idea, and be met with "tune out." I'd get "Mmm," and "uh huh," in places where they didn't fit in conversation, and just assent to everything I said, no participation or dialogue from the other person. Just the signal to shut up, really. I'd then deliberately switch to talking about something petty and usually negative, and immediately, the other person was engaged and participatory.
The cumulative effect of this is in a sense "dumbing down." You can't connect with anyone about anything actually interesting - you're restricted to basal, content-void conversation about nothing - so you stop trying.
And those parts of your mind that can grasp anything more begin to atrophy.
I've heard it colloquially described as "brain rot," and didn't realise the extent it was happening to me until I started communicating with people who are actually intelligent, bright, inquisitive, engaged individuals.
The awful thing about this is twofold in my view -
1. You realise the extent to which your capacity for thought has shrunk to an infinitesimal kernel of what it once was, due to the process of "use it or lose it." It's possible the actual neural pathways have degraded and died. It's possible you've actually got dumber. And it's probable you didn't realize, and just went along with a brainless existence, ignorant to anything more and -
2. You have no idea what to do about it in any real sense. It's clear the surrounding environment and the people in it are part of this problem, but how exactly does one cure this?
Whenever I go fishing for ideas I get fluff - volunteer with children, do something creative, get more exercise. All good things in a sense, but not exactly what is needed as there is much capacity for the same rusk in these areas too. A great cardiovascular workout isn't going to fix this. The ideas out there on how to encourage neuroplasticity and exercise your cognitive functions seem, ironically, a bit "dumbed down" such as "brain training" programs like Luminosity. I doubt that's the answer, either.
Higher education is also of little help - I can't count the number of times I've been disappointed by tertiary education, when it all turns out to be just route memorization or filler. And filler with a crippling price tag.
I did find a few places online to educate yourself for free through reading, which is great, but to fully realise the mind you do appear to need a way to actualise this - either practically by applying it to a field of work or a project, or less directly through discussion and challenge / increasing and building on ideas with others.
On knowing that you know nothing - how can one access material, people, and situations that combat this "brain rot"? What else is out there you were ignorant of, and how do you find it? How do you combat ignorance in itself, and prevent relapsing into soft-minded oblivion, talking about TV and takeout? What is the answer?
If anyone has one, feel free to enlighten!


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kraftiekortie
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12 Jul 2016, 7:24 am

Alas....there is no one answer. You have to find YOUR answer for yourself, with the help of friends and life experience. And Nature. And the Cosmos.

There's lots to learn out there. And lots to interpret. And lots to have discussions on/argue.

Paradoxically, you could enhance your intellect by discussing "nothing."



BTDT
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12 Jul 2016, 8:58 am

I actually had intelligent discussions on Usenet forums around 1997.



ToughDiamond
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12 Jul 2016, 8:59 am

Yes, an individual can have an idea that they want to discuss, but it's often down to luck whether or not anybody around is interested enough to really want to engage. I don't have any answers.



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12 Jul 2016, 9:53 am

I like to have intelligent conversation, but that does not mean your topic of choice will appeal to me. Turning then to small talk, at least we could banter because by its nature small talk is something anyone could respond to - what do you think of Donald Trump? how about that storm we had last night, was there much damage where you live?

My brother is an extremely intelligent man in his own area, and often has profound ideas or directions for study. (He works at a think tank.) Although I would like it if we could engage in meaningful topics, unfortunately I share neither the vocabulary nor the foundational assumptions of the topics he suggests. I can try to keep up for only a few minutes and maybe suggest some perspectives he hasn't heard of, but that's as far as it goes. And it requires quite a bit of mental effort even to do that.

As for your brain rot, I think the solution to that is to become deeply engaged in work that you love and that requires intellect. If you are not able to find work like this, and a community of peers with whom you can relate, you are on your own. Many people with Asperger's have sufficient social skills deficits, even as mature adults, to make such work impossible or very hard to achieve. For this reason, into the adult years, we must continue to expand our skills to allow us to achieve meaningful placements. (whether paid or volunteer)


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BTDT
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12 Jul 2016, 10:02 am

I've always enjoyed building things as a kid--this is something you can do by yourself to combat brain rot.

Nowadays I build flower beds--that way the entire neighborhood can appreciate what I've built!



BTDT
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14 Jul 2016, 10:05 am

http://money.cnn.com/2016/07/13/technol ... index.html
Here is a place where you can work on cutting edge ideas.



Incendax
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14 Jul 2016, 10:30 am

Things can get boring amongst intelligent people, because everyone already knows what everyone else is talking about, unless you are delving into very specific and technical aspects of a topic. The older you get, the more this rears its head. I cannot think of a philosophical argument I have not heard before, and hearing it again is just beating a dead horse for the thousandth time.

So the result is that intelligent people talk less to each other about these topics, and start the brain rot you are referencing.

The best solution I have seen with a positive impact? Teach younger people.



BTDT
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14 Jul 2016, 10:35 am

Teaching younger people sounds like a great idea!



BeaArthur
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14 Jul 2016, 10:36 am

Me, I just want to play with kids my own age!


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VIDEODROME
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14 Jul 2016, 10:38 am

Sometimes I'll get hooked on certain speakers, ideas, or debates I find on YouTube. Watching videos might be more passive than what you have in mind though. It is nice have conversations about intelligent topics or even argue civilly.

I think one middle ground topic might be Cinema. Movies can be discussed casually or on a more intelligent and technical level.



BeaArthur
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14 Jul 2016, 11:25 am

Intelligent conversation is a stim. It makes me feel at ease and even happy. This can be even if we don't agree, even if the topic is over my head (or over the other person's head so I have to explain a lot). It's just one of the rare pleasures of life.


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btbnnyr
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14 Jul 2016, 2:57 pm

i like to talk to people studying different things than me, it is a good way to learn things about another topic and get the most important points and interesting questions right away, and if they dont know about my topics or techniques, i can tell them


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C2V
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19 Jul 2016, 2:36 am

In my effort to do something about this situation I may have encountered a rather awkward eventuality -
Now, I don't intend to appear arrogant and I fully understand this is a result of the "small pond" syndrome, as generally I move in a very restricted way - but the people I interact with range from not all that bright on the generous end to so dumb it's anti-Darwinian on the other.
Thus in these circles, I'm the "smart one." And I didn't realise perhaps the subtle extent to which this acts on my ego until I jump in a bigger pond. Which is odd since this never happened to me at school, or university, or even in research where I had often known better than the PhDs, and certainly never in social interactions where the content is just fluff.
But I recently got into a spiritual discussion with a group led by an experienced older man, and was quite incensed at being placed in a situation I perceived as the proverbial "kiddy table" while more experienced people were separated into another group I assumed for more in-depth discussion. I've always believed in both lateral exploration as opposed to a vertical hierarchical structure, as well as the value of being exposed to advanced teachings even in the beginning, even if you don't understand them at first, because it interests and inspires you, and therefore forces you to develop more quickly. I don't generally believe in restricting a person's access to information based on another person's judgement about their perceived capabilities.
Thus the "dumbing down," to borrow a phrase from the other topic, bothered me. Bothered me that I was perceived in that group.
But once I got over myself a moment and realised what was being discussed by others at this "level" was in fact a challenge to my understanding of the topic and was not something I could dismiss as useless, and that I couldn't "top" this - well. It served as a bit of a lesson in humility, the proverbial humble pie.
And exactly what I was after.
It even made me suddenly worry about the inherent limitations of an autistic mind, as much of their insight was emotionally and socially sourced, facets I lack.
But as I noted, this was hard to find and access. Everything else I had encountered, even in higher education, had been intellectually ... soggy. Still, it inspires me to seek out more situations like this one, where I am decidedly not the "smart one." It's just frustrating that it is hard to find and even harder to access, I don't have the information needed to find and engage with these areas.


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btbnnyr
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19 Jul 2016, 1:43 pm

working or going to school in an intellectual stimulating field doing original research and figuring things out that no one knew before means for me that this is not a problem since everyone around me is very smart and engaged


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Drain and plane and grain and blain your brain, and then again,
Propane and butane out of the gas main, your blain shall sustain!