For as long as I can remember I’ve always been a student of life . I’ve always wanted to know why and in order to feel like I understand things very well, I put forth a considerable amount of effort in getting to the why. When I feel I’ve learned something sufficiently, I experiment as soon as I’m able in the real world, to validate the soundness of my thinking. This strategy has been very successful for me emotionally and intellectually, though I cannot say the same about some of my relationships.
I’m as comfortable in the middle of the crowd as I am studying the mysteries of the universe. If you were to observe the nuttiness that is me, you may watch me read and study 10 or 12 highly complex subjects from morning until night (for days on end), attempting to crystallize a suspicion I have about an idea. Most of the time my initial thought is different than what I deduce in the end, I just know I love knowing why!
What made me retain my natural curiosity for learning and creating, I think I could hazard a pretty accurate guess, but the bottom line is I’d sooner die than sacrifice my essential nature. The best thing that has ever happened to me is losing everything that I thought would bring me happiness, my salvation was finding myself alone. Without the distraction of an externally misplaced focus, I’ve found a way of connecting the dots that always seemed to elude me in the past.
My personality and the confidence that results from it, has always boggled the vast majority of those I’ve known in my life. It is for that reason that I’ve taken it upon myself to understand the why? Why are we as we are and why am I so different than most?
This latest epiphany has closed the loop on some of the questions that have boggled me since I was a child, though I’ll never end my quest for truth, peace and love.
Concrete Operational Cognition (development stage 3)
Most adults (I hate when people say, most people btw) operate at the level of cognitive development of about a 10-12 year old child, according to the eminent child psychologist Jean Piaget and others.
That is, about 80% of the population terminates the development of their human cognitive powers, during the third stage (of 4 stages) of human cognitive maturation.
Concrete Operational Cognition, according to Piaget, naturally develops in humans from about age 6 to about age 12.
Concrete Opertional Cognition can be described by the following characteristics, or developmental milestones:
Symbolic Representation: the use of concrete mental images (symbols, words) to represent objects or ideas.
Analytical Reasoning: In this stage of mental development children measure, compare, classify and relate objects to one another.
Centration (“Tunnel Vision“): ones attention can be focused on only one salient aspect of an object, situation, or problem at a time, to the exclusion of other potentially relevant aspects.
Conceptual Thought: is now manifested as an interior monologue, or a brain chatter.
Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor PhD describes the language center of the brain (an anatomical area of the left brains temporal lobe) as being responsible for maintaining the story of who we are relative to others. It keeps us informed of not only who we think we are, but what we like and don’t like, what we need to do and not do, and is generally the task-master of those who follow its directions. Dr. Bolte-Taylor considers this brain chatter the ego.
The child’s wants and needs (decisions and intentions) are reasoned and predicated upon the directions of their internal speech at this stage. During Stage 2 of mental development a child’s needs and wants are only felt, not represented and reasoned through the symbology of language as they are in stage 3.
Inductive Reasoning: a child’s ability to employ logic and reason is limited to inductive, or probabilistic reasoning, at this stage. Inductive logic proposes premises that to one degree or another lead one to a final conclusion.
Unlike Deductive Reasoning which conclusively determines truth or falsity, inductive reasoning reaches a conclusion by extrapolating or generalizing from an instance to a broader conclusion. The strength of an Inductive argument is based upon ones understanding of the subject, the relevance of the sample used (as compared to the whole) and the breadth (or size) of the sample size of the subject.
Inductive arguments are considered subjectively, on a scale from weak to strong, and do not prove something to be true only more or less probable.
The best inductive arguments are made by those who possess a good knowledge of their subject, have the ability to discern rather than judge, and who have a sufficiently broad perspective to consider the subject skillfully.
Egocentrism: in this case, egocentrism refers to the child’s inability to entertain the ideas, or opinions or perspectives, other than ones own. This is socially focused and manifests as a heightened sense of self-consciousness, and aids in supporting the child’s Image of themself and ones sense of invincibility.
When faced with more complex cognitive tasks, such as abstract thought (non-concrete) and hypothetico-deductive challenges, a child in developmental stage 3, employs their egocentric defenses to hold their ground and self-concept until higher stages of cognitive development are acheieved.
Emotionally Imature: during the Operational Concrete cognition Stage, when children experience emotionally charged situations, they regress to a previous stage of development (such as stage 2 Pre-logical Cognition) where they employ magical thinking or a state of “unknowing”! as this is preferred to the idea of being seen as wrong by others.
For Centrated adults, a higher level of mental maturity (such as stage 4 Formal Operational cognition) can only manifest in very controlled and emotionally inert situations. Hence the need for these adults to control their external environment, as a strategy is required to mitigate the probability of an emotional upset
Because of these Centrated adults inability to accurately deduce, to entertain hypothetical or abstract thoughts and their reliance upon concrete objects to effectively problem solve, learning is inhibited both cognitively and volitionally, as ones confidence in their ability to understand and learn is so limited.
Today only one in 20 adults complete the fourth and final stage of cognitive development, and only one in 50 go onto begin learning more advanced forms of critical and creative thinking skills (though only one in 50,000 of those who begin this advanced endeavor complete it).
Characteristics of the Common Adult: externally focused, egocentric, poor reasoning skills, emotionally immature, cognitively deficient, does not enjoy learning, shuns responsibilty, is literal and yet has a generally subjective posture in life, prefers rules and constructs given them versus creating their own, and is resolutely left brained or focused on the particular and cannot integrate concepts into universal wholes.
These findings are consistent with my personal life experiences and with legions of others who’ve expressed similar ideas through poetry, prose, scientific works and all manner of communication.
Intuition, critical and creative thinking skills are devalued in our current educational and cultural environment, despite what anyone argues to the contrary.
All people are endowed with everything they will ever need to express their own unique abilities and to creatively share their gifts for the betterment of all.
As a consequence of our common assumed beliefs and our current cultural environment, we have unwittingly created the perfect system to deincentivize intellectual prowess and creativity.
By over-emphasizing the representation of thought and emotions, above our ineffable thoughts and emotions, we go about trying to quiet our pesky feelings and mentations to the detriment of ourselves and everyone.