31 Temmuz 2012 Salı

Relaxing After High Concentration - 3


We adjust our concentration level by looking and seeing. They normally balance each other through the natural flow of the events in the daily life. This balance determines the thinking speed. Motivation, dreaming about success or dreaming about things that will come with success increases our bodyly and mental capacity hence helps us to succeed.

Let’s return back to the vision metaphor. If we focus on something and look at it sternly, our looking focus gets smaller, concentration increases to maximum, on the other hand ambient vision begins to increase and after a while our vision gets blurred and our eyes begin to contemplate. There is a natural control mechanism that stops the increase in the concentration.  Focused vision based on conscious control is balanced by ambient vision which is controlled by subconscious in the daily life.

Unfortunately, when doing things professionally or using long duration high concentration we stop this natural mechanism with our control mechanism and determination. As a result of this, we are left with a mental tiredness at the end of the job that we can not get rid of with the natural mechanisms of our mind. To relax from high concentration we should erase the memory areas that were used, or forget everything related to this task. This is not a simple operation. The experience that is gathered, the knowledge that is attained must be organized and stored but at the same time the unnecessary information details, semantic relations that are gathered shall be erased or in the computing jargon ‘garbage collection’ must be done. Hence,mental activity does not end at the end of the task. The Project Evaluation meeting is important not only for the preservation of the organization experience but also it serves the mental health of the individuals who participated in the project.

One of the things that the garbage collection in the human mind is done with, is imagening. In the evaluation meetings that I have mentioned above, alternative suggestions on how to do things and, what would have happened, would enable us to see other possibilities and opportunities besides the routine pieces of the task.

I will write an other article on the organization aspect of the subject. The working memory that we use for cognition is not similar to a computer memory. It is not organized as linear located cells on a page. It is fragmented and distributed with many interconnections. Indeed the working memory is a collection of neurons distributed in the brain that can be kept connected and reached during a certain time frame. Even the input buffers and the long term buffers may be included to the working memory as needed. This happens when long duration high concentration is used and is frequent in software development.

In order to relax, the relational connections shall be erased. The connections can not be erased with a single commend like a computer. Accept in the case of electric schock... Something has to be overwritten in order to be forgotten. Infact, this is impossible.If the information has stayed under the attention for a considerable duration, it will be connected to a very wide network. This is an automatic connection process which may reach very high abstraction levels. Nevertheless if something is not updated proportionate to its tenure under attention, it will finally get forgotten or, its retrieval become extremely difficult. Of course this is related with the subject matter, personal things related to te very self are difficult to forget.

McKIM proposes this solution in the “Directed Imagination” section of his book ‘Experience in Visual Thinking’: “Control the passive negative worries and transform them to a productive imagination. If you worry about a failure, dream the positive success instead. If you are afraid of missing a deadline, dream the happiness you will fell when you catch it...” McCim also mentions that one should use professional advise when utilizing imagination.

I believe added to the methods related to decreasing the thinking speed, imagining or day-dreaming may also help. Imagining small dreams related to the job done that day, may be completely absurd, unrelated, funny dreams, freeing your mind, imagination, subconscious from everything may help to forget the already created load of semantically related connections.

In his work named ‘Imagination and Emotion’ Sartre states that “the necessity for a consciousness to imagine is the ability to propose an unreal hypothesis”. In short, in order to imagine, you should propose a hypothesis Outside the existing phenomenons and against the reality theyconvey. If pondered upon, one can see that this is close to being impossible if tried to achieve completely. Sartre proposes that this can be done at least using a certain point of view. Sartre states “In order to imagine, conciousness should be able to escape from the world; should be able to withdraw from the world with its own effort”.   For this, “Conciousness must be free”.

Sartre’s ‘Imagination and Emotion’ includes strong clues that after long duration high concentration, imagening may do the ‘garbage collection’ that I have described above. I will further elaborate in my future articles on this matter.

“Man becomes great to the extent that he controls his imagination.” (Rolf Alexander, The Mind in Healing, Dutton).