Friday, 18 May 2012

Solitary Learner

Today two great websites passed my computer. The first is a Blog by an anonymous 41 year old woman called  Vindra Pendred (not a real name). Vindra is smart and perceptive and relatively normal. She points out that more often then not Normal people are unable to follow the line of reasoning while other ADD patients can.To her non-ADHD are stupid and stuck in their ways. Her blog is called ADHD vs inside the box, which sums it up nicely.
In my mind the out of the box thinking of ADHD is closely linked to Solitary learning, the need to make up your own mind. This influences both communication and speed of learning.

The ADD or right brain learning, works outside in. You have a lot of disconnected information floating around in your brain. You go to sleep, and in the morning you have an epiphany, linking all info together in an orderly manner. There are some important aspects in this way of learning (at least there are for me):
There are no guaranties. When starting on a problem it is unclear whether there is a problem and whether the solution can be found. Finding both solution and problem is  parallel process. The risk that the effort is in vain is large. You need faith, perseverance and the ability to accept with resignation if it turns out there is no feasible solution.
It is a very personal way of thinking. The mind that does the thinking is your own. That mind is loaded with prejudice, judgments and feelings that may influence the nocturnal connections. To come up with the right solutions you need to be scrupulously fair with yourself and your judgements, but also, paradoxically, learn to trust first impressions an hunches.
Since the thinking is so personal the strenght of your thinking is partially dependent on personal selfesteem. despite the need to be truthful and honest, the right brained person will (have to) defend his selfesteem, with lying, or truthbending, if needed. When that happens a sense of "wrongness"enters the mind, preventing the brain from functioning properly. Depressions etc. have the same effect. It is in essense a lonely way of thinking.
To prevent contaminating fact with prejudice the ADD/ ADHD/ Right Brained thinker needs to make his observations very carefully. I suppose the same goes for left brain thinkers. What I refer to is the level of objectivity. The out-of-the-box element of right brain thinking, consists mainly of looking at the same facts from a different perspective.
Another aspect of this method is that there is no time, no sequence of events. Even when working out your strategy for a chess game (or playing colourvirus, great game on your mobile), it is not about finding the exact sequence of moves, but rather dealing with rough directions and likelihoods. Finding the next move you would gamble on comfortably. We exist now and everything else has either brought us here, or will be decided based on where we go from here. Either way: now is all that matters and the rest is irrelevant. There is no fixed script, as I said: no prescribed sequence of events.
To summerise there are five different aspects of right-brain thinking that I can see right now:

  • It is pairing of seemingly disjunct information
  • It is a very uncertain way of solving problems
  • It is about being free of judgment and scrupulously fair, but also following hunches
  • Because of that the thinking is influenced by the general well being of the thinker
  • It is about being critical about other's observations and cleaning it for prejudice
  • It is about being approximately right (more likely than not)
From this perspective it is not difficult to see how communication issues with left brained people arise. First they balk at  the personal risks involved. Having to readjust their entire worldview on  permanent basis is not their cup of tea.  
Secondly, the high standards for objective observation and very critical behaviour that comes from that, versus the willingness to follow gut feeling unquestioningly can be somewhat confusing.
The need to protect self esteem and the lying arising from that versus the otherwise highly critical attitude may also be confusing. As well as the spurts and lull's in the thinking that occur, especially if the right brained thinker is depressed. 
The issue of truthfulness is even more problematic then presented above. Basically, a right brained thinker can not convincingly lie without impairing his own judgement. So other than for self protection, he would not. Trouble is that left brained thinkers are always busy on some scheme. They do not care about lying and truth they just want to finish their play. They will lie to achieve that goal and expect you to do the same. The lack of respect for the rules of the game and the unwillingness to lie to respect those rules are considered rude and uncouth.
Furthermore in communication, when friendly, a right brainer will not communicate any feelings. That is meant as a courtesy to the listener that they may reach their own independent conclusions. This is often misunderstood. Causing the often sensitive right brained thinker to be considered grey and dull and lacking depth of feeling. Ironic, isn't it!

These are just some observation triggered by Miss Vindra's blog and based n my personal experience.

Later this weekend I will try and get some backing with other peoples opinions and observations. Maybe I will change my view somewhat.


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