Friday, August 17, 2012

Learning by analogy

I think almost completely in terms of analogies.  Maybe you all have noticed.  I use them all of the time on the blog to explain things.  My mind naturally focuses on the relationships between things rather than the characteristics of the things themselves.  It's how my information is stored in my head, which means that I experience the world differently from people who don't do this.  Different things are obvious to me that aren't so obvious to others.  An analogy (again!) would be a bookshelf.  If you organize it alphabetically by author, you'll focus on that, if you organize it on subject matter, you'll focus on that, and if you organize it by color... the bookshelf will be more aesthetically pleasing.

When I encounter something new, I immediately start spinning through the universe of possible analogies to it, like a safecracker hunting for the right combination, or a picklock feeling for something similar enough to fit, at least in all of the ways that are important (functionally).  I'm one of those annoying people who are always talking about how similar music is to mathematics.  And now that I've been taking calculus courses in my spare time, I think of everything in terms of limits.

I don't know when I started doing this, but I learn this way almost exclusively.  Anything else is the equivalent of recreating the wheel.  What it means as a practical matter is that I either pick up on things extremely quickly, or I'm a complete idiot -- a very flat learning curve, punctuated by sharp inclines.  I am particularly horrible at following directions.  When I eventually do learn something, it's basically because I have finally cycled through enough possible analogies to have hit on the right combination.

This one aspect of my personality has probably affected my life and personality more than any other one trait, even probably more than my sociopathic tendencies.  In fact, it's sort of odd that I have never mentioned it before, I guess because I thought that it didn't have anything to do with sociopathy so why write about it here.  But now I sort of wonder if this type of thinking is more common amongst the sociopathic population than the empathic population.  Perhaps, for instance, because sociopaths are naturally obsessed with power and manipulation, the relationships between things take on a prominence and focus in the same way that there are allegedly many more words for snow among Inuit tribes?

87 comments:

  1. Second.And good morning Medusa!

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  2. "Obsessed with power and manipulation ..." - I always thought of it as being interested in how things work and relate to each other, like a basic geek trait. Same with music/maths parallels. Maybe we just see connections more clearly because the emotional filters don't distract us.

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    1. i think these qualities make for good IQ test results.

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  3. I'm one of those annoying people who are always talking about how similar music is to mathematics.

    I do this, too.

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  4. Replies
    1. it made its way to the forum. Kill it!

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    2. No, let her stay, people need someone to kick and I don't really like it :D

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    3. Aw, Mee, I'm sorry to hear that. What can I do for you?

      -wicked

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    4. Poor Wicked Lovely. You do suffer so. Are you still slicing yourself up and making half-assed suicide attempts? HA HA HA HA

      " I've been struggling with depression and cutting and doing drugs, (mostly just pot, taking way too many prescription downers, and drinking) since I was 17, though i used to blow pills and i've done coke a few times recently. Lately i've just wanted to slice all the way up my arm so badly"

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  5. I wish ME had given more examples, so I could feel it out and respond. Can anyone help?
    He says he looks for patterns between things versus what? Seeing the inherent nature/characteristics of things?

    How would this function in a practical day to day way?
    Thanks.

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  6. i took one test and came out "extreme organizer". I look for patterns for grip on answers. I can usually tell why a person would think in a different way after i figure out the way they like to categorize stuff. Once I do that it is more possible for me to think like they do, I guess. You find the right combination to the lock and it is almost a form of getting access to another's way of thinking, I guess. Wouldn't an extreme empath be inclined to operate similarly?

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    1. Maybe, except an extreme empath would not focus on the way a person thinks to put himself inside the others shoes and empathize, not put inside another's shoes to think like they do so you can know what they are going to do next.

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    2. *they WOUlD focus on the pattern to empathize

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    3. I have to flip over into the other person and then flip back into myself, in order to understand him. I used to be able to do this, all the time. Then, I lost it. Now, I can do it, again.
      This allows me to navigate the world, as I can virtually know what people are feeling/ thinking.
      It works this way with information, too. I have to understand a psych theory, as if I am behind the eyes of the person.
      I am super disorganized. I get a really low score on the systematizing section of tests.




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    4. I used to think my paranoia was healthy empathy.

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  7. ''I'm thinking of buying a monkey. Then I think, 'Why stop at one?' I don't like being limited in that way. Therefore, I'm considering a platoon of monkeys. So that people will look at me and see how mellow and well-adjusted I am compared to these monkeys throwing their faeces around.''
    - Robert Downey Jr

    xxx

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  8. just read somewhere that when the narcissist stops getting supply he gets more paranoid. don't think the abyss is going to give me a supply of anything.

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  9. *Searches for MBTI on your blog*

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  10. I have a question for you.....i have a sociopath friend. We dont discuss his sociopathy, but he knows i know. He always assures me that he trusts me. BUT.....he also has the "goids" on me....question is....is there anything genuine in his trusting me, or is that trust simply because he knows i am paralyzed and he trusts me cuz i CANNOT harm him?

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  11. "Why do I miss the sociopath? I hate myself for that."

    Because you're still depended and waiting for the amazing guy to come back even though he treated you like complete rubbish most of the time. It's pathetic. Depended cunts.

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    1. they dont miss the socio they miss how the socio made them like themselves. they felt like the most important thing in the room. who does that better than well..

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    2. why you codependent little slut.

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    3. i have 2 vaginas

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    4. Ahh, the language difficulties, I'm realizing more and more that this is a great way for spotting you folks, wonder why the malapropism is so prominent... By the way, you're not the first fool to pull this, "Criticism of others while demonstrating short-comings of self!" do you people get an energy rush out of being ironically faulty? Serious question, by the way, not an intended insult, I have noticed a delight in then hypocrisy of narcissistic individuals and wonder if this is another expression of that.

      *dependent

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    5. i AM ironically faulty, you fucking genius.

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    6. It's just to comment you are aware of your own bullshit. its flaunting self awareness because:

      in the moment of seeing my shortcoming my being aware is just about the only positive thing i can cling to.

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    7. if you can't see the importance for having a sense of humor about your own insanity, you are kind of fucked.

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    8. rather, if you don't have a sense of humor about it, you are fucked.

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    9. You people talk to much, how can you say so little while writing long ass phrases?

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    10. "you talkin' anguish but money is my language"

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    11. i'd really prefer it if we forget about what i said on that one day in july

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  12. I read about connectionism theory at "The Brain-Shaped Mind: What the Brain Can Tell Us About the Mind" by Naomi Goldblum. This theory says that the information is
    stored in the connections, not in the nodes. When we learn something new we create a new network (we don't create more neurons, just more connections, one neuron can be in more than one network), creating new networks takes time and requires repetition(that's the reason because reading about some topics is like reading chinese and after reading it several times you suddenly notice that you can understand), but fortunatelly we can use already existing networks as base for new ones, that's were analogies come into play and make learning faster.

    Here is an example: http://img690.imageshack.us/img690/8351/connectionism.jpg

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    1. The best way to teach something to someone is by talking him about the differences between the new topic and a similar topic that he already knows about.

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    2. Maybe this explains why is easier to convince someone about something that's similar to his beliefs.

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    3. the power of association is amazing. That's why recommendations are so powerful.

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  13. What it means as a practical matter is that I either pick up on things extremely quickly, or I'm a complete idiot -- a very flat learning curve, punctuated by sharp inclines. I am particularly horrible at following directions. When I eventually do learn something, it's basically because I have finally cycled through enough possible analogies to have hit on the right combination.

    I learn via association too. I have to examine a situation or task from every possible angle prior to actually understanding it, but once I do, I am extremely perceptive, and will likely comprehend more about it than the average person. Sometimes my mind will form a complete picture from contextual cues before I am consciously aware of the processes which brought me to a precocious, yet accurate conclusion.

    I play the devil's advocate all the time, even wherein my own opinions are concerned. I debate my own thought processes rigorously, and sometimes out loud. It drives my husband nuts. I am decisive, yet breaking something down and examining its various components- even after I have made a decision- is my way of assuring myself that I have selected the best possible option. I intellectualize everything, and my capacity to rationalize anything plays a supportive role in this process.

    In light of this propensity, I am surprised that you fit the INTJ profile, as this way of absorbing information is very related to the "perceiving" trait.

    Perhaps, for instance, because sociopaths are naturally obsessed with power and manipulation, the relationships between things take on a prominence and focus in the same way that there are allegedly many more words for snow among Inuit tribes?

    When I break down a situation, it is usually to evaluate it strategically. I am always thinking in terms of how to gain the upper hand, even when it is not pertinent. I am sure this is related to my manipulative nature. I operate in this way very naturally.

    And then... I'll let it all of my best strategizing go to shit and impulsively do whatever suits my fancy, at any given time. No regrets.

    Life is grand. :)

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  14. Replies
    1. whats wrong bay?

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    2. "bay"

      Where are you from?

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    3. Norfolk, Va. my girl calls me butter i call her bay. Yourself?

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    4. Accomack County, Va. We call everyone "Bay"!

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    5. Haha that's funny, you wouldn't happen to come around Norfolk at all would you?

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    6. O like chesapeake bay

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  15. I have been known to prowl VA Beach to Blacksburg, Richmond to DC.

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  16. I just saw 2016.
    Kany, if you are around, I would really like to ask you a question. I guess I will ask it and you can answer, if you want.
    I have changed and I feel very weird. I can't explain it, maybe. I have really changed. Maybe, I can explain it better, another day.
    Anyway. Thank you. you were a big part of it.

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    1. how was the movie

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    2. SOOOOO Awesome. I would like to pay for everyone to go to see it. It is so mind blowing that I have no words for it.

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    3. What was the overall message?

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    4. I don't want to say anything other than the Trailer. Do you want Obama? Do you not want Obama. But more importantly, do you KNOW Obama.

      His brother was in the movie. George Obama is pretty cool.

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    5. Medusa
      You should. I would go with you, if I were there :D

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    6. I personally would like for Obama to win. I just don't agree with any of Romney's policy decisions. I'm going to wait until the presidential debate for my final decision. Yeah didn't George just get out of jail and who are you voting for.

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    7. George was not in jail. He has been sick. Go see the movie and tell me what you think, afterwards.

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    8. I watched the trailer i dont like how biased it is.

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    9. George Obama believes in Capitalism - that is why odummer rejects him. So, George lives in poverty without help from his brother - YOUR US President obama.

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    10. Intelligent and educated people are moving to Australia, England other countries. Ask yourself why?

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    11. Gee, Monica, you didn't even share what was on the trailer. Are you mysterious.....I think so.

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    12. Whatever Ruca

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    13. ^You so stupid!

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    14. I know right.

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    15. Monica! Kany is mind-fucking you. Seriously.

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    16. anon let them be.

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    17. Kany has a wonderful side, as we all do. She has shown that to me.

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  17. we should definatly meet up sometime

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    Replies
    1. Depends, who are you?

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    2. ummm "keshawn" ...

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  18. ME wrote...
    I think almost completely in terms of analogies. Maybe you all have noticed. I use them all of the time on the blog to explain things. My mind naturally focuses on the relationships between things rather than the characteristics of the things themselves.


    what i always love best about your posts are the analogies. i LOVE the analogies. you're the best, ME.

    (very blatant fawning i know... just catching up as i've been a bit negligent)

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  19. ME wrote..
    Perhaps, for instance, because sociopaths are naturally obsessed with power and manipulation, the relationships between things take on a prominence and focus in the same way that there are allegedly many more words for snow among Inuit tribes?


    my impression is that you like to cut to the chase - a sociopath trait? analogies are an efficient way to transmit an idea or experience. they are also the most direct way, outside of experiencing the thing yourself.

    things don't really exist, only the relationships between them are real. no predator, no victim. perhaps understanding the world through analogy is a core trait in all of us, sociopath, empath or what have you.

    anyway, i always assumed your use of analogies was the product of a sharp mind.

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  20. I'm not a sociopath, but I think in the exact same way. Many have told me I would make a great teacher since I'm very good with analogies to help people understand the ideas and concepts I put forward.

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