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"On Thinking and Stimulated Thinking"

There is a distinction between two modes of working, one is the "explore mode", you need to put in a lot of effort, and be concious while you are doing something. This which occurs while you are learning something, say learning to drive a car or bike. Other mode is the "habit mode" where you are able to do something, effortlessly without thinking because you have done it so many times, like riding a bike after you have learned it, or even writing or typing which I am doing now.

The premise of the article is that "real thinking" happens in the "explore mode", you are deliberate, you are explicative, you are curious, you (at least mentally) try a lot of things out and reach a conclusion. What a lot of people end up doing is they go do "stimulated thinking", which often looks and acts like thinking but is actually in the "habit mode".

"Stimulated thinking" is dangerous because is not flexible, it cannot understand things deeply or see how they will change if the context will change. Simply "Stimulated thinking" is not thinking and should not pass as so.

Explore mode requires action and reaction in an environment, where the person exploring something decides how to act and then modifies her behavior on the basis of the reaction of the environment. Habit "knows" what is the reaction will be so it behaves accordingly in fixed patterns.

Author claims that so much of our learning process today is about broadcast, not action and reaction or learning by trying something out. Education is formal broadcast, so is TV or social media.

I see parallels here with "Amusing Ourselves to Death" where Niel Postman (in part) talks that TV consumption is passive, from few to many, there is no creativity and interactivity for the consumers of television.

Noam Chomsky also said "You just don't let a book pass from the front of your eyes". Well to avoid stimulated thinking I am here again writing webnotes. It takes effort but I guess after sometime I'll be in the habit of putting in this effort.

But just clarifying that there is nothing wrong with habits per se, I'm able to type only after I have deliberately learned this habit of typing and without it, a lot of my effort would have gone into the act of typing itself instead thinking about what I am writing. The problem is which thinking that you are thinking but you are actually not.

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