Stanford campus photo from above

10/23/2003

Research

On the way home today I realized one of the things I like about doing research. It gives me something to do with that constant internal monologue. The internal monologue has always fascinated me. Perhaps that's one reason I wanted to create a major around consciousness. It's this thing that's half voluntary and half involuntary that's the most intimate part of us and which there are infinite things to do with. It's almost overwhelming. I remember when I was younger being so fascinated by what other people did with their internal monologue and how they couldn't hear mine. It's almost like I didn't know how to organize it, should it be two people, one taking each side of an issue, should it be memory or commentary, or planning?

Driving home from work today I found myself using it to think about one of the studies that I am working on. I didn't even intend to, it just started to happen since I have been thinking about this particular study a lot recently. I like how the internal monologue can just think about a problem almost in the background and then when an interesting solution or idea comes out of it, then at times it can just be forced to the front, like it was in the car today.

I think this same issue is my draw to meditation. Meditation says, ok, here is exactly what you should do internally with your mind, moreover, this is the best possible thing you could be doing. As much as I like the idea of setting aside a time to condition your mind to act in a more positive way, I've been skeptical of meditation techniques that advise a mantra or something to concentrate on during the rest of the day. I just feel like the capabilities of the inner monologue are so rich, that they shouldn't be limited during the bulk of the day to repetitive tasks. I think this dulls the mind.

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