Pattern Thinkers. Is my mind strange also for an Aspie?

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Nightsun
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15 Oct 2009, 3:39 am

I'm reading a lot about AS in those few week after my first discovery and I'm getting the idea that also if I have a lot of Aspe trait (and my daughter a lot of HFA trait) mine (and samewhat her, but she is too young) brain has something different.

Theory of Mind:
Actually I know that many AS have difficult with jokes and with understanding social relations.
Both of them are trait I had when I was young but that I no longer have, metaphores and things like that are unusual for me but I usually can understand them, I'm also very able in making new one but sometimes people thinks they are "too much elaborated" and fixate on the "wrong part". As for social relations I don't like being with people and it's not "natural" for me but in the same way I'm very very able to understand them and understand social relations problem, sometime people think I have a sort of future-sight because I can understand it better than many people. It doesn't come to me naturally, but I have a very good understanding. If someone of you have seen "a beautifull mind" I act like Nash in those situations, my mind draw graph, lines, and put numbers on people head looking at the interaction pattern then consciously I can trace my conclusion and usually they are better than intuitive NT conclusions.

Gestald and pattern recognition:
This is something I have an hard time to understand. They seems too much opposite to me:
"AS people is very good at pattern recognition"
"AS people focus on detail more than whole"
How can those 2 trait live together? I always focus on gestalt/whole more than details (I have a great attention for dettail because I'm perfectionist but it's not something that naturally comes to me).
For istance I'm unable to remember names, dates, locations and everything with a label but I usually understand philosophycal and science ideas on the fly because I get the pattern. Let's make a social example. If I'm in a room with other 10 guys I usually don't focus on a specific guy and sometime I miss their names but my attention is drawn to draw "force line" between them (and sometimes I can actually see them overimposed to my eyes). If I read an history book I can spot the reasons and hidden reasons and consequence of a war but I don't remember the dates or the names of generals. After having studied physics at university I'm able to mentally apply physical rules to the world, I can estimate correctly the force applied to a body looking at his speed into the air but I must open a book to remember that F=ma is the Newton law. My mind see pattern everywhere but isn't pattern actually gestald? How can an AS-like mind focus on particular and being able to pattern recognition?
My young daughter seems to do the same. She barelly speak (she say something like 10-15 words and not with the right pronunce) but she can easly spot the relation between people in a book (actually it's one of their favorite topics, looking figure books and saying: "mum, dad, granpa" spotting people relation in animals but also on a more general way. When I went to our psicologist office I saw that there is a game that she does with AS child to let them know how to "generalize" (she made them put for istance different glass kind under the glass category, different dog race under the dog category and the like) actually my daughter do the opposite, we have 3 dogs in our house and she simply call them "babu" and if she see a dog down the street she call him babu. She had a great laugh for 5 minutes yesterday looking at the first time "Beauty and the beast" because the best was a "babu-dad" for her.

I've read from "Thinking in picture" that there are at least 3 different kind of AS brain, one of them is what Grandin call "musical/math brain" and are people who think in symbols. Actually I think I can have that kind of brain, I have usually picture memories and the only time when I think in word is while preparing for a presentation (repeating inside my-self what I'll say) but when I think about a problem I see pattern under the form of diagrams/numbers, is it possible that the hyper-generalization is a trait of this kind of brain? How other AS manage that?

Thanks.


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Last edited by Nightsun on 16 Oct 2009, 3:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Nightsun
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15 Oct 2009, 4:01 am

Another example:
Both me, my wife and my daughter need order and we are all "obsessive-compulsive" about it. But there is a difference.
For istance for my wife dolls/books/etc. must be in their box and "visually ordered", dress must be put in ther wardrobe and everything should be in its "right place". Both me and my daughter are considered chaotic. Actually chaotic is the right answer and not disorder because we both have our own way of order but it's a concectual order. For istance my wife order books visually by size or litteraly by an alphabet. I order them by concept, for istance physics books go there and between them basic physics first, then mechanical statistic, then quantum-mechanical-statistic then quantum mechanic then quantum-mind-theory, then mind theory, then quantitative psicology, then qualitative psicology, etc.. In the same way our daughter doesn't line up toys but she put them in a very precise way (and if you move them or simply rotate she meltdown), for istance the teddy-kid must be near the teddy-mum and in front of teddy-dad or shirt/trousers/socks must be put together insted of all shirts here, all trousers here and so on.


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DonkeyBuster
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15 Oct 2009, 9:34 am

I have a pattern-seeking mind and within that I notice the details that don't fit. So to someone on the outside, I think that might look like 'attention to detail'. When something in my house is out of order... and I work on the clutter system, so to another it doesn't look like order... it disturbs the pattern and if I don't set it straight it catches my attention everytime I look in that direction, which is annoying. So in the clutter system, that pile of books and papers should only be books and papers and if someone were to stick a banana on top, I'd have to do something about that. :lol: I'd at least want to know why the banana was there.

Remember, many of the trait descriptions are based on what it looks like from the outside, not what it feels like in here...

For example... I've just realized that whole 'needs routine' thing actually does apply to me in some sense, though it probably doesn't look like it. I crave STRUCTURE... I have no need for routine, will actually rebel against the mind-numbing boredom in a routine, but moment-by-moment I HAVE A PLAN and when things don't go according to plan... meltdown time. A change in plans is fine if I have a minute or two to find the new structure... which a pattern-seeking mind can do very fast. In a genuinely chaotic situation, I'll freeze, think, and apply so quickly most folks don't even notice. They just think I'm decisive, directive, and determined. Now I know what I'm doing is creating the structure I need.

This has gotten me into trouble when I don't feel like there's anyone in charge, so I step up and start organizing things... and what was really going on was a very low-key heirarchy that my lack of social awareness didn't notice, resulting in me 'defying or undermining authority'. Nope, just completely oblivious to authority. :roll: I'm good if someone else is in charge, I just don't always pick it up. As long as there is a plan!

So what things look like to others, and what they feel like to us may not quite match and it takes a little brain crunching to associate the two. :chin: :duh: :scratch:



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15 Oct 2009, 10:07 am

Yes, I can see your point. I'm able to find "defects" or a wrong "detail" without problem but it's not because I really see the detail it's mostly because something out-of-place disturb the overall structure. I feel the same about routines, from the outside I feel very routinary but actually I'm just a "planner" in many situation I seem "freezed" but actually I'm only "computing" every possible solution.
The same is for language for example, I never get basic grammar (verb/nouns/male/female and things like that) but I was always pro at period analysis (causal/final/time/space/phrase structure). But actually details come to my attention only because they are "missed" in the great design.

Saying it in lesser word: sometime people things that I'm obsessed with details and don't see the greater picture, actually I think that it's only because I see a far greater picture and have it better pictured than many others.


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15 Oct 2009, 10:51 am

Nightsun wrote:
The same is for language for example, I never get basic grammar (verb/nouns/male/female and things like that) but I was always pro at period analysis (causal/final/time/space/phrase structure).


That's called prosody... you're good with prosody.

Nightsun wrote:
But actually details come to my attention only because they are "missed" in the great design.

Saying it in lesser word: sometime people things that I'm obsessed with details and don't see the greater picture, actually I think that it's only because I see a far greater picture and have it better pictured than many others.


EXACTLY! And being able to see the "butterfly effect" of one thing out of whack. So, combined with my need for predictable structure, I'll often move to correct things that don't get the attention of NTs. Which gets into all kinds of issues.

It sounds like you need more routine than I... whereas I love variety, I just want to KNOW about it. :lol:

I did Search and Rescue for a couple of years... never the same thing twice, but there's always a plan and obvious direction. I LOVE that. :D



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15 Oct 2009, 5:05 pm

I don't know...I also have a hard time to remember detailed facts and numbers, like you described. And sometimes, I can't even learn them unless I have a big picture first, and know "why". For example, I fail at algebra, it just seem like nothing but endless formulas to memorize. But I did fine with discrete mathematics and logic, which has more broad, general applications.

Most of the time, I try to absorb as many details as I can, and try to make them fit some pattern or big picture. If that doesn't happen, or if I don't have some goal to work towards, I quickly get bored and lose interest.

I definitely notice unwanted details, drives me crazy sometimes that I seem to focus on visual things that most people don't notice. Maybe my mind is trying to fit them into some pattern, but it feels to me like I'm just "zoning out" or stimming.

I don't always think in pictures, either, which seems abnormal for AS. I do about half the time, but the rest I think in text - I actually see words like on a page. How are NTs supposed to think, spoken words?



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15 Oct 2009, 5:43 pm

TiredGeek wrote:
I don't always think in pictures, either, which seems abnormal for AS. I do about half the time, but the rest I think in text - I actually see words like on a page. How are NTs supposed to think, spoken words?


That's still thinking in pictures... the picture of a word.

The NTs I've asked say they sense or feel the world... of course, they have a hard time describing how it is they know the world, as they've never thought about it before. But it seems a kind of vague intuitive way of thinking... maybe feeling tones? IDK



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15 Oct 2009, 7:03 pm

DonkeyBuster wrote:
TiredGeek wrote:
I don't always think in pictures, either, which seems abnormal for AS. I do about half the time, but the rest I think in text - I actually see words like on a page. How are NTs supposed to think, spoken words?


That's still thinking in pictures... the picture of a word.

The NTs I've asked say they sense or feel the world... of course, they have a hard time describing how it is they know the world, as they've never thought about it before. But it seems a kind of vague intuitive way of thinking... maybe feeling tones? IDK


I can sense/feel certain things without pictures or words to go by, and I'm not NT. I know I frequently have a concept in my mind before I've acquired or after I've forgotten the words to describe it.



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15 Oct 2009, 7:22 pm

marshall wrote:
DonkeyBuster wrote:
The NTs I've asked say they sense or feel the world... of course, they have a hard time describing how it is they know the world, as they've never thought about it before. But it seems a kind of vague intuitive way of thinking... maybe feeling tones? IDK


I can sense/feel certain things without pictures or words to go by, and I'm not NT. I know I frequently have a concept in my mind before I've acquired or after I've forgotten the words to describe it.


I'm not sure it's the same thing... this felt-sense has an emotional component to it and it's how they know the world, how they maneuver through it. It's 'mapping' all that subtle non-verbal stuff our sensors don't pick up... it's an attunement of some sort, in the way that we're attuned to our environment, sometimes excessively so. So'll while you and I are noticing the growing crack in the wall and the subtle earth shift, their attention is consumed by the interpersonal dynamics between the aging CEO and the VP of Marketing's hot wife...



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15 Oct 2009, 8:03 pm

DonkeyBuster wrote:
marshall wrote:
DonkeyBuster wrote:
The NTs I've asked say they sense or feel the world... of course, they have a hard time describing how it is they know the world, as they've never thought about it before. But it seems a kind of vague intuitive way of thinking... maybe feeling tones? IDK


I can sense/feel certain things without pictures or words to go by, and I'm not NT. I know I frequently have a concept in my mind before I've acquired or after I've forgotten the words to describe it.


I'm not sure it's the same thing... this felt-sense has an emotional component to it and it's how they know the world, how they maneuver through it. It's 'mapping' all that subtle non-verbal stuff our sensors don't pick up... it's an attunement of some sort, in the way that we're attuned to our environment, sometimes excessively so. So'll while you and I are noticing the growing crack in the wall and the subtle earth shift, their attention is consumed by the interpersonal dynamics between the aging CEO and the VP of Marketing's hot wife...


I guess I'm a little confused as to what we're talking about. I was thinking about the way I perceive concepts and attributes in general, not referring specifically to either people or things.



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15 Oct 2009, 9:58 pm

Seems to be the thread for pattern thinkers.

Nightsun

I, too, have only started thinking about autism recently, and have only read information on the web - no books yet. Like I expect you are, I am very gifted in abstract disciplines, eg. math & physics. I studied economics, which can also be a very abstract discipline.

At this time, I am going to limit my comments to a few points of particular interest.

Quote:
I always focus on gestalt/whole more than details… I'm unable to remember names, dates, locations and everything with a label


I think that you might be on the wrong track here. If you are like me, I would say that you are focussing on the abstract more than the concrete, rather than on gestalt at the expense of details. My sense is that my great talent (and yours?) is in abstract thinking. Names, dates etc. are concrete and not particularly attractive to my mind. Just a thought I am putting forward.

Quote:
I've read from "Thinking in picture" that there are at least 3 different kind of AS brain, one of them is what Grandin call "musical/math brain" and are people who think in symbols. Actually I think I can have that kind of brain, I have usually picture memories and the only time when I think in word is while preparing for a presentation (repeating inside my-self what I'll say) but when I think about a problem I see pattern under the form of diagrams/numbers,


I suspect that there are many different kinds of autistic brains. When reading these forums, I am amazed the differences in intellectual talents. There are contributors who have perfect pitch and others who have no musical ability. There are those who are extraordinarily creative and others who have no creative talent. A few are brilliant at mathematics/physics and many others are unable to even do high school math.

Like you, I only think in words when I am translating my thoughts prior expressing them. But I do not think in pictures like Grandin does. I would say that I think in abstract concepts, and I recognize patterns and associations.

Quote:
is it possible that the hyper-generalization is a trait of this kind of brain?


I do not see why this is not possible, although I personally do not hyper-generalize. My mind constantly and automatically searches for incongruences and flaws in systems, patterns and hypotheses. This can be a very valuable skill in the real world.

Quote:
How other AS manage that?


Because these forums rely on written communication, I expect that there may be few abstract thinkers here compared to more language oriented AS folks.



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16 Oct 2009, 5:10 am

DonkeyBuster wrote:

It sounds like you need more routine than I... whereas I love variety, I just want to KNOW about it. :lol:

I did Search and Rescue for a couple of years... never the same thing twice, but there's always a plan and obvious direction. I LOVE that. :D


Well not properly. I separate 2 things:
The order in my mind
The order in the outside word.
The order in the outside word must match the order in my mind, but the order in my mind is usually very general and difficult to explain it's not like a fixed frame but more likely a flow or, better, a chart flow.
I like to meet new people with interesting ideas, see new places, study new ideas and I usually seek knowledge in many different things but but I need some "basic structure" that need to be carried on. I love routine in my dayly life to avoid "distraction" and being able to focus on more conceptual thinking, but I also love to break it very often, the important thing is "regulation". I've read a lot, traveled a lot (I've seen every Europe nation, USA,Russia, Egypt), experienced something like 20 different sports, tryied to go inside at least 10 different subculture to study them, etc.. But was never something that was "impulsive" I always had a plan, the plan could be also not having a plan. For istance when I was 19 I toke a tour of Italy with a friend and we didn't plan anything, we simply said: "when we finish money we'll be back". It was really cool and I saw a lot of new towns and situation, but in every moment my mind was elaborating "next steps".
Actually I'm an INTJ character kind and this is really fitting with me:

Quote:
All Rationals are good at planning operations, but Masterminds are head and shoulders above all the rest in contingency planning. Complex operations involve many steps or stages, one following another in a necessary progression, and Masterminds are naturally able to grasp how each one leads to the next, and to prepare alternatives for difficulties that are likely to arise any step of the way. Trying to anticipate every contingency, Masterminds never set off on their current project without a Plan A firmly in mind, but they are always prepared to switch to Plan B or C or D if need be.


TiredGeek wrote:
I don't know...I also have a hard time to remember detailed facts and numbers, like you described. And sometimes, I can't even learn them unless I have a big picture first, and know "why". For example, I fail at algebra, it just seem like nothing but endless formulas to memorize. But I did fine with discrete mathematics and logic, which has more broad, general applications.


I had the same problem. My math teacher told me "you have a gifted brain, but with your math problems I don't know how you can do physics". Well actually when I started learning advanced physics all my algebra problems stopped. They now have a meaning. Also I still remember when I've studied quantum physics, many students had problems with Dirac approach. Actually I really understud it with Dirac approach because it's highly symbolic.

TiredGeek wrote:
Most of the time, I try to absorb as many details as I can, and try to make them fit some pattern or big picture. If that doesn't happen, or if I don't have some goal to work towards, I quickly get bored and lose interest.


I feel the same. I use to tell my wife when she ask me for an answer: "I don't have enough data for a right answer, give me time to compute"

TiredGeek wrote:
I definitely notice unwanted details, drives me crazy sometimes that I seem to focus on visual things that most people don't notice. Maybe my mind is trying to fit them into some pattern, but it feels to me like I'm just "zoning out" or stimming.


Yes, exactly the same, I have some meltdown due to process or sensory issue but usually I just "zone out" and sometimes rock on my chair. My co-worker known by now that I'm only "thinking too intense" but from the outside it seems I'm "out-of-mind" while really I'm really "in-it".

TiredGeek wrote:
I don't always think in pictures, either, which seems abnormal for AS. I do about half the time, but the rest I think in text - I actually see words like on a page. How are NTs supposed to think, spoken words?


Well it depends for me. Despite my AS trait I've developed basic language very early but then I had a lot of problem after with language and writen language like story telling or things like that. Something then changed drastically when I was 16. I was old-enough and I had "enough data" to put in words my tough. So people suddendly understond that I was not a bad-writer but simply that my mind elaborate things too quickly and too structured to be putted in easy-words like you espect by a child, also in the same period things changed in school-expectation. The essay writing switched from "Your holydays" to things like scientific/phylosophical and hystory essay.

wildgrape wrote:

Quote:
I always focus on gestalt/whole more than details… I'm unable to remember names, dates, locations and everything with a label


I think that you might be on the wrong track here. If you are like me, I would say that you are focussing on the abstract more than the concrete, rather than on gestalt at the expense of details. My sense is that my great talent (and yours?) is in abstract thinking. Names, dates etc. are concrete and not particularly attractive to my mind. Just a thought I am putting forward.


Yes, It's true. I'm toward abstract thinking, but abstract thinking is likely to gestalt. I make an example. When I was at high school our art-hystory teacher really loved me. Usually other students said something like the "life of the painter" or some general understand of the subject. Usually I made photocopies of the painting and started drowing lines on it. I used to identify and describe painting using those line and I can identify the authors by it. I think so that my interest in the whole of the pictures was greater than the average people. Things like symmetries are abstract thinking but they are also "whole". This doesn't mean I miss the detail, for istance I also used to analyze every objects (also the little one) and try to figure out an allegory. So yes I was focusing ALSO on details but only to give it an abstract meaning and I never lost the whole picture and the interactions between components.

What I was pointing out is that I understood that many Autie really focus only on details and lack the generalization skill (expecially the picture thinkers).
For istance Grandin said that she was able to generalize putting every singular experience in a sort of fold. For me is pretty different, I usually can't remember "single things" because my mind extrapolate the pattern like group theory.
Grandin when thinking about a dog see in her mind every dog she met and put them together.
When I think about a dog I have a structure with body proportions and things like that and I can make a picture of the "average dog".

As for particular attention I've read on this forum that there are industries that hire AS people for Dataentry because of their attention to particualars. Actually I'm able to do Dataentry and I'm a perfectionist but it's something I feel really boring and I have problem keeping my attention on it. By the way (I'm a phisician but I actually work in the management of the greatest Italy reasearch center), I'm the data-manager of my office. I manage around 1 Terabyte of data with tons of different information (more than 500 tables) and I do it in a natural way because I can keep in my mind all the relations between them and made new and interesting ones to make indexes for the different institute (actually I also develop models for resourches, etc..) so it's something between management/engeeniering/data-management. When I think of my DB the relations pop-up in my mind but I usually don't pay attention to the single entries (but if one is wrong I can easly spot it). At the moment I'm working on a model to let our agency "find out" 40 milions dollar due to a reorganization of our research center.

wildgrape wrote:
I suspect that there are many different kinds of autistic brains. When reading these forums, I am amazed the differences in intellectual talents. There are contributors who have perfect pitch and others who have no musical ability. There are those who are extraordinarily creative and others who have no creative talent. A few are brilliant at mathematics/physics and many others are unable to even do high school math.


Yes, I feel really at home here, because I really like neurodiversity both idealistically and from a scientific point of view. But I'm also very interested in the "diversity". Usually scientists (if we can call scientist neuropsic and psicologist) divide the spectrum due to behaviour/functionality: LFA-Classic/HFA/Asperger/Mild Asperger. I'm concerned by my daughter, she is 2-years-old and barelly talk, the psic told us that she is a sort of mild-HFA if we can use that terminology. She has language delay, poor eye contact, doesn't want the help of others, don't want to be with child and she has tantrum/meltdown. In the same way she has great generalization skill and can elaborate very complex idea (the problem is comunication), she already have a good perception of space/time and relations, she recognize colors, quantity and also animals species. The main problem (for me) is that from a lecterature point of view it's something like:
autistic - think with pictures / unable to generalization/ etc..
Asperger - verbose
But I don't think that she is the "classic" autistic kind and the usually teaching methods can't be good for her. For istance she try to comunicate with us with complex phrases and periods. But they end-up like a long sequence of sounds/animal sounds/facial expression/and sign language, is like she already have big and complex structures (for her age) in her mind but can't get the right words for it (and no, she is not deaf, actually she seems to have hightned senses, she can wake up while sleeping if the neighboorhood phone rings).

wildgrape wrote:
Quote:
is it possible that the hyper-generalization is a trait of this kind of brain?


I do not see why this is not possible, although I personally do not hyper-generalize. My mind constantly and automatically searches for incongruences and flaws in systems, patterns and hypotheses. This can be a very valuable skill in the real world.


Yes and it's probably because few of us are here or seek a DX, probably this kind of brain adapts better to the society once you are able to spot the "social-pattern".


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16 Oct 2009, 5:46 am

I've found this and sounds interesting:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstein_syndrome
http://www.cure-guide.com/Child_Health_ ... elays.html

And I saw also an "Einstein's syndrome topic" in this forum.
Actually I don't think that you can call ES "not autistic" I belive that it's still in the AS spectrum but the coping strategy could be really differents and also the problems.

Probably the best way to do with autism will be find when finally the scientific comunity will stop making clusters with "functionality" and instead will focus on "how" specific minds works. Probably a "pattern thinker" with LFA have more in common with a "pattern thinker" mild Aspie than with a "picture thinker" LFA.
What do you think about it?
Neurodiversity should be labeled (for therapy purpose) not by functionality but by "thinking ways".


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16 Oct 2009, 9:35 am

Nightsun wrote:

My mind see pattern everywhere but isn't pattern actually gestald? How can an AS-like mind focus on particular and being able to pattern recognition?

The pattern is a part of the gestalt. If you have several paintings that are dark and Dutch-like you may remember they were all dark but not much about each individual painting. If the paintings were of men, you might remember they are all men but not much more than that. You are remembering this one thing all the paintings have in common but not remembering one entire painting and what it's about.
The pattern is based on one minute detail, like darkness or aristrocratic men. This is what seperates it from gestalt, which might be an itemized list, including a detailed story about the painting, style, it's historical relevance, ethnicity, time frame, subject matter, medium, composition, and artist. I would consider all that information the overall gestalt while something like composition or style would be a detail.



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16 Oct 2009, 10:23 am

ooOoOoOAnaOoOoOoo wrote:
This is what seperates it from gestalt, which might be an itemized list, including a detailed story about the painting, style, it's historical relevance, ethnicity, time frame, subject matter, medium, composition, and artist. I would consider all that information the overall gestalt while something like composition or style would be a detail.


Well actually this a list of details. I don't think the whole is made as a list of details. Suppose you see every single particle in the sea, those that explain waves? Sure not. Suppose that you see a crow of people in a stadium, does the psicology of everyone explain the sociology of the mass? I don't think so. For me the whole is greater and different than the sum of the details, that's why I miss to understand why they are usually used as opposed.


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