CT Journal: Write at least ten sentences summarizing something you know (or have learned, or believe) to be true about thinking.

Heather M.

The discussion held in class concentrated on the elements of thinking. Thinking is a very complex process that, before this class, I had never thought much about. We discussed different kinds of thinking, such as critical thinking and creative thinking. We touched on the different steps of the thinking process and which types of thinking come from which side of the brain. We also talked about how your attitude and your past experiences can influence the way that you think. I believe that the way you react to the world and the people around you, greatly affects what and how you think.

The majority of our thoughts come from observations of the outside world. We observe something using a sense, such as touch or sight, and use the thought process to draw a conclusion about the subject. From the moment we were born, this has been a huge aspect of our lives, observing and inferring. However, each person may interpret things differently. Say you were conducting an experiment and two people were blindfolded and told to touch a leaf. The conclusions that these two people draw based on their sense of touch could be completely different.

When analyzing something that we believe to be unfamiliar, we often associate this "thing" with a more familiar entity. This is where our reactions to the world become so important. The way that you view the world often reflects the ways in which you associate different things with each other. For example, a place that my family often vacations at is Lake Tahoe. To me, Tahoe is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Therefore, each time I read a story or a poem that is set at a beautiful Lake, I envision Lake Tahoe. My vision of Lake Tahoe may not be what it truly looks like, but it is the way that I view it.

The way in which we react to the outside world can also greatly affect how we feel about something we see, read, or write about. All of us have feelings towards certain things. Perhaps you had a big fight with a friend at a specific place or you fell and skinned your knee when running up the stairs at the track. Each time you encounter these places, your brain brings up memories that conjure up the feelings associated with that place. Or if you are reading a poem and something in a poem reminds you of that fight you had with your friend, the way you feel towards the poem is affected by your past experience.

Thinking is a major part of our lives that we often take advantage of. It is what makes us "intelligent life". We react to different things in different ways because of our ability to feel something and then continue to associate that feeling with a subject for an extended amount of time. Say you disliked your Chemistry teacher. Whenever you thought of Chemistry, you would recall the unpleasant teacher and the feelings that you have associated with him or her. To every reaction there is an equal action or, more appropriately, an action of thinking.

Lauren C.

During the discussion that we had in class today, several times we focused on the idea that thinking would be nearly impossible without a person's history or memory. Most of the class agreed that if a person were to have no memory or history, there would be no basis to the questions asked about the specific topic or whatever they were trying to think about.

I believe that indeed history, both personal and non-personal, can be very influential to a person's thoughts or pattern of thinking. However, I do not believe that a memory or a history is necessary in order to be able to think, to analyze, or to question etc. Thinking is a process that every animal does in some sort of way - whether it be consciously or unconsciously, we are always thinking. Our brains are always observing, questioning, analyzing, and overall, thinking. Our normal brains never still; they don't just shut off and become completely blank. It is nearly impossible to do so.

Thinking is a process that we have been doing for as long as we can remember. Even when we were tiny children, we were still thinking, asking questions etc. If you have ever played with a tiny toddler who is just beginning to talk, often the things that are spoken are questions. When I used to play with my tiny cousin, all he ever used to ask was, "Why?" and, "How?" He had practically no memory - he usually couldn't remember things from just an hour before; but he still asked questions, and he still thought about things, observed things, and pondered about what was going on around him. He didn't base his thinking pattern on his memory, he would have had nothing in his memory to base it on! But he still asked questions and watched what was happening around him, and from the answers that he received, he slowly built up a memory.

The point that I'm trying to get at is that asking questions, observing, and pondering your surroundings are all natural steps of thinking. This is a very simple step of thinking that even tiny babies can perform, we just don't know it because they aren't able to voice their thoughts into words that we can understand. So when tiny kids look around and you can see them thinking and observing things in their minds, they're not basing it on their past history or memory, they just are wondering about what's happening . . . They're observing their surroundings. Being able to observe things is a step of thinking that requires no memory or history. This is an extremely important step in the process of thinking which we all do every day, often without even noticing it.