Home What readers say:




Freenoting
Adapted from a post on imagestream@yahoogroups.com

by Micah Walker

 
I've always actively pictured the nuggets of information that I am trying to glean from authors during freenoting as "seeds" which I am trying to make sprout, throw down roots, into the "soil of my mind". The way the roots are planted is by the process of association. Once it is firmly within the soil, the idea can grow into forms you cannot even foresee.

In my opinion, the style of writing during freenoting is important. Are you only copying what the author says or are you actively striving to create your own interpretations (go hermeneutics!) of what the author says? Are you creating striking images of the material?

Take a book on mnemonics. Incorporate it into the method. Really what you are doing in this regard is relating the material to yourself. Metaphor is an important part of the learning process. Think of when you are trying to explain something to somebody, the language you use. They repeatedly can't grasp the concept, so you say something along the lines of,

"Well, it's like..."

You relate it to something they already know. The seed finds fertile soil and sends forth its roots. Well, what if you acquired the capacity to relate something you didn't know to something you did without the teacher's assistance? Only then can you truly be in charge of fashioning your own mind.

What we are talking about here is the very mechanisms by which intelligence operates. Cognitive science until quite recently believed the mind to be an algorithm-processing machine like a computer. By that inference, we increase intelligence by teaching formal logic and math and other formal disciplines.

Intelligence is analysis. The most intelligent person can solve puzzles involving algorithms the most quickly. The challenges to that tradition, which have spread slowly from more continental traditions such as hermeneutics and phenomenology, with a stopover in the liberal arts, see the mind as an embodied thing, with imagination being the mark of genius.

When you think about it, this is more faithful to the Western philosophical tradition. Aristotle didn't say "Doing syllogisms quickly and accurately is the mark of intelligence." That is the mark of a good computer. Aristotle said that metaphor was the mark of human genius.

The reasoning processes that the mind uses are based upon the body's experiences in the physical environment. Think of the most famous formal demonstration of all, our friend the syllogism:

All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefore, Socrates is mortal.

The formal schema behind such reasoning is A is B, C is A, C is B. And when you see the Venn diagram that is used to show this pictorially, you can see that predications are being taken as containers, with a boundary that everything in the universe either falls within or without. It's like a Tupperware demonstration. Itty-bitty C goes inside medium-sized A, and medium-sized A goes inside B, therefore C is also in B. Hence, A or -A for everything.

Now do predications really work as containers? Probably not. But the fact is, this physio-spatial, muscular sensation of containing and containment, borders and boundaries, provides a good, simple "Newtonian" model for explaining how we mentally handle general terms until we can come up with a more complicated "Relativity-Quantum" theory that does true justice to the staggering complexities of our categorization.

In the meantime, don't these computers also do neat things? I refer to the quoting of Einstein in The Einstein Factor, when he talked about how his thinking was a combination of sensory, muscular, and imagic interplay.

Muscular? How could this involve muscular sensations? Einstein was one of the century's greatest minds, not one of its greatest bodies, right? That's how all those black basketball players with "inferior G," according to Herrnstein and Murray, think — muscularly, right? Not our greatest white male European scientist. What would Einstein have to do with that?

Now let's suppose that we model our abstract worlds on our experiences of the outer world, according to our physical, muscular, perceptual interactions with that world. We could then imagine that in constructing abstract worlds the process is one of metaphor, of using the perceptual and physical worlds which are within consciousness to stand in for the unknown mental terrains.

Let's suppose that the soul is just an "abstract man" that we have to postulate to explain how we can maneuver in this world — our avatar. What then is Image-Streaming? And how does it increase intelligence? By increasing our ability to call up, without external stimulation, inferences from the physico-perceptual mind.

Form approaches as they stand now are tightly controlled metaphor-based scripts for calling up these inferences. Image-Streaming allows you to go to the source directly, to speak to the Delphic Oracle yourself without the intermediating mathematicians and priests and their ceaseless commands and predictions and formats.

Image-Streaming is translating images into words. And what then is Freenoting?

Freenoting, to me, is translating back from words into images. If you continue to do this, to increase your ability to do this, to go both ways, upstream to and downstream from the logos, then I see no reason why your intelligence cannot continue to increase indefinitely.

What your IQ is or isn't has very little to do with the abilities you now possess. You are incorporating the words you read into your databank of images and not into some verbal "store" of "internal propositions" or any such fiction, but into the actual source of your intelligence, where the form of the body is, where the associations are a thousand times richer than those among propositions. You are incorporating your images into the realm of language, and such is consciousness. You are doing philosophy in Plato's original sense.

Now what does the metaphor of the seeds accomplish in the beginning of this epistle? Does it provide a model for what is actually going on in my brain when I freenote? Is it "scientific"? Not at all. What it does is lead to inferences — actions your mind can undertake in its abstract terrains, which doesn't have definite boundaries or rules of certainty.

Ideas as seeds? Then what am I? — The planter and the selector. I cull the harvests of others and I select the finest grains. I put them down in my own fields.

Seeds need soil. What is the soil? The soil contains the nutrients. What are the nutrients? That which makes the idea flourish and grow, the other ideas to which it sends out roots for nourishment and inclusion. Sloppy thinking...but, inferences lead to actual actions.

I search out and freenote, I create the soil in which the idea can grow once I have taken it out of the text, the environment that finds it nutrients, the environment of associations. It might even be circular. It doesn't matter. Somehow, this leads to actual memory, the mind moving in synchronization with the brain. Welcome back, Descartes.

Micah Walker


About the author...
Micah writes:  "Micah John Walker is intelligent and creative, with the looks of a male model and the smooth movements of a jungle cat. Then he finished imagestreaming. Thank you for this opportunity to be a part of the best website in the world, winwenger.com!" In an alternate reality, he was born to Mormons in 1978, grew up in Dallas, TX, and is a practicing slam poet, songwriter, and artist. He dropped out of high school, nevertheless getting a 1580 on the SAT's. Buying The Einstein Factor is one of the few things that have had a definite positive impact on his life. His future plans are to wait tables while he starts a career in comedy writing.


Home | T&L Techniques index | Back to Freenoting | Feedback 1 | 2 |

©2001 Project Renaissance