Tuesday, August 19, 2008



Thinking stability is a phenomenon that can be observed in brain’s cognitive processes. Stability is an issue in not only cognitive but also emotional processes. It is also possible to witness the word stability in relation with mental stability. On the other hand, stability is a recent issue in neural network models, which are supposedly the basis of brain’s working. Philosophically, Sartre has pondered about a ‘psychic balance’ which has homeostatic limits.

Imagine a friend who has just returned from a long distance vacation and joined your company of three at a caffee… She not only tells everthing she has seen but also changes the subject frequently and tells many unrelated things about her voyage. This is a socially common situation. If a firm context has not been established, the content of the talk can not have stability around a single subject.

You can observe the use of fluently changing subjects by some teachers. The teacher changes the subject so that, his pupil get the opportunity to look at the original subject matter from very different possibly almost unrelated viewpoints… At the end, the teacher succeeds not to tell the fact but make his students understand the truth themselves.

Teaching is a strongly destabilizing process. Learning process requires instability by definition. We should open ourselves to new ideas and accept to discuss the strength of our old ideas. This causes instability both cognitively and possibly emotionally in the case of young people.

Whether done for voluntary or involuntary reasons, changing of subject with a not well formed context, or continuous changing of content are strong signs of the loss of thinking stability.

Thinking depth is the depth in terms of abstraction levels from the subject matter. For example, if you talk about a specific person and then make comments on the nature of women on general and continue on to the character of the human-beings, you have increased the thinking depth three levels of abstraction. Increasing the thinking depth unnecessarily or doing so in every little subject you talk about indicates there is instability in your thinking.

An other case is, the speaker does not increase the depth but gives many examples and continues to give details making the listeners bored. Thinking more than necessary details continuously etc. indicates that there is a problem in your stopping process of your thinking. Thinking stability requires enough details and economic use of mental energy so that there is space for continued mental activity.

Thinking happens in a social environment. If the speed of your information flow to the listeners is much higher than they can understand, this indicates an instability in your communication ability or the structure of your thinking. The functionality of the elements of your thinking and its general structure establish its stability.
The quality of thinking is also important. If you are speaking about a subject but can not reach a conclusion this may also indicate an instability in your thinking. A stable thinking should run into its end. In some cases, such as scetching in art or in brain-storming instability is required by definition.

A special case of thinking instability is remembering things from the past too many. A healthy, stable way of thinking does not get obsessed with the past, of course unless you are a historian writing a history book. Thinking stability requires a healthy balance in the sense of time; past, now and future.

Thinking stability requires a balanced approach to the importance of things in life, family, profession, nation, beliefs, ideas, feelings, everything. Getting obsessed with one of these for long durations hurts the thinking stability of that person. On the other hand, obsession is a precious mental tool that helps us to overcome difficulties. Some professions such as engineering, art etc. requires frequent use of obsessions. It is no wonder, a rate of thinking instability of varying degrees from utilization to mental instability is not uncommon in these professions.

Other than cognition, many examples for perceptional, emotional and motor stability, can be given. For example, sometimes you may need to move and do something continuously or you may answer and react to people extremely quickly and later on find you have said something wrong etc.
These examples may be stretched from temporary behavioral abnomolies to mental stability problems in terms of health seriousness.

Loss of thinking stability as a continuous situation may be an indication of various mental problems. On the other hand, a constant strong stability in thinking may also be indicative of other mental problems. A healthy level of dinamism may be necessary to cope with the difficulties of life. The relentless change in our lives requires a certain level of elasticity in our thinking.

Unfortunately, the loss of thinking stability is a daily situation for many professionals from various professions, such as large systems operators, pilots, engineers, artists, musicians, etc. Thinking instability may be caused by creativity, continuous learning, long duration high concentration, decision making under stress working environments. The thinking instability caused by today’s professions is also amplified by the obligation to learn and use 2-3 foreign languages at the same time, which is extremely destabilizing. Correct use of motivation, social environment, family may play the role of stabilizers on a daily basis for these professionals.

Thinking stability may be caused by increase in the thinking speed. SwitchCapacitor filters in electronics loss their stability when the sampling frequency or speed increases relative to the frequency they are desingned for. Similarly, our brain tends to function differently when it works faster. Changing subjects, thinking deeper are known phenomenons.

This is not enough to claim that every thinking instability is caused by some increase in the thinking speed. Neither can I claim that thinking speed increase is caused by the thinking instability… But it is common that problems in thinking stability are generally accompanied by thinking speed problems.

Thinking speed problems can also be related with the SPeaking speed. Similar to thinking stability, speaking speech problems can not be directly attributed to thinking speed problems. But in many cases, they look correlated. Moreover people speaking fast and thinking fast tend to change the subject too much or get too deep, namely they think instablely.

Thinking instability can most easily be detected from the thinking speed and actually the speaking speed. If your colleague is talking too fast continuously, regardless of the situation that may not be a good sign, although it looks like he is getting more clever or more effectively professional.

Trying to speak or think slowly to slow down your thinking may not help either. Thinking speed is adjusted automatically by your brain (probably subconscious), it is impossible to control it directly. There are some indirect methods to control it if things have not got out of control totally. In that worst case, keeping the thinking speed low may become more important than anything else.

I believe, the highness of thinking speed may not pose an issue as much as having all the tools and processes that enable it. These tools and processes remedy high thinking speed’s bad effects automatically, afterwards with adequate relaxation. If you lose these skills because of excessive high concentration, it may become inevitable to gain somewhat time by any possible means to recover them again. Preserving thinking stability is a precious mental asset.

As a last note, I would like to define thinking stability in terms of thinking speed. I believe thinking stability is the ability to automatically adjust the thinking speed. Thinking stability is maintaining a healthy thinking speed which may change according to temporal situations that returns back to pivotal normal level afterwards keeping an affordably low average value overall.