TBD

TBD on Ning

Sometimes a scientist will work on a project for years before he comes to a solution, before he attains insight. The bare facts were in front of him for a year, a decade--twenty years, even. Then, all of a sudden, the scientist has a new imagining of the problem, and the answer that he sought stands before him clearly. What is it that triggers the "Aha!" moment: the moment the scientist says to himself, "the solution was staring me in the face for years and now I see it with utter clarity?"

We don't have to be scientists making groundbreaking discoveries to experience the "Aha! moment. Our days are a collection of experiences and perceptions, most of them trivial. But they are the bare facts, the raw data, as it were. We store these trivial, daily facts away in our minds. Sometimes at the end of the day, we create a narrative, a story, in which we give form and meaning to this endless procession of trivial perceptions and experiences. There are really two separate categories of facts or impressions in all our minds. There are the raw data, the bare facts of our perceptions. Then there emerges, somtimes seconds later, sometimes decades later, a narrative in which we filter the facts, mold them, and create a story--a narrative that may be appealing to ourselves and sometimes to others.

The moment we go from the bare data or bare facts to a cohesive narrative we experience an "Aha!" moment. Suddenly a satisfying story appears before us. We have collected and collated our sense impressions into a narrative, and the moment we make that transition to narrative is satisfying.

What triggers the transformation of bare facts to cohesive narrative? I suppose psychologists have pondered this question for years. Perhaps, someday someone will have an "Aha!" moment that solves this very question!

I recently thought about things that happened more than twenty years ago. The facts were always there. But the other day, a narrative appeared before me. If I told the narrative to someone, I'm sure he might think I prepared the narrative for some base purpose. "Why are you talking about these things after twenty years have elapsed?" The answer is that only days ago the bare facts and impressions coalesced for me into a narrative. I had an "Aha!" moment. I can't account for that transition from facts to narrative. Can anyone account for that transition?

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Comment by caseyjo on September 23, 2009 at 2:57pm
interesting thought.... I always heard we heal fastest when we are asleep. Maybe that is due to the brains creative nature when it is not convoluted with too many pictures like when we are awake. I mean it is like a highway during the day when many accidents happen compared to night when we can go at our own pace without a lot of worry and order can be shaped.
Comment by Gary Freedman on September 23, 2009 at 9:44am
There's a psychiatrist, Stanley Palombo, MD, who says that our dreams (which are pictures, in a sense) help us create order out of the facts of our daily lives.
Comment by caseyjo on September 22, 2009 at 9:50pm
It could just be a simple picture....the picture that connects the rest......the last piece of the puzzle. Animals think in pictures...Language helps us to manage our pictures better, but the pictures are what guide us...Just a thought.

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