Development of thinking
The goal of mental development is to create an inner mental structure that agrees with reality. All events, people, objects and processes impressed upon the mind are interlinked with each other as memories. These associations build an interconnected network of thoughts that explain reality and make it possible to understand the world in form of an inner mental structure. Correct knowledge is the goal of mental development.
The less developed a mental structure of a person is, the less connections there are between thoughts, and the more isolated thoughts stand apart from each other. This makes thinking perceive parts of reality as absolute factors with no correlations to other aspects of reality. The result is the common black-and-white thinking, a situation in which the mind fails to bring together a number of facts into a cohesive whole. The facts are not put in their right contexts and the relations are too few. In this way only trivial or distorted insights are obtained.
This goes vice versa: the more connections there are between concepts in a mental structure, the clearer the process of thinking becomes, the more aspects of reality are perceived as in relation to each other. Thinking starts to consider as many factors as possible, it relativizes them due to their mutual relations, and expresses them in gradations and ratios to account for the complex reality of things, people and events.
Self-consciousness is waking consciousness. It’s a complex mental conception of yourself in relation to other objects, people and events. Self-consciousness has an active will that controls thinking and body movements. Attention is the will’s ability to direct its mental focus. This active ability to influence thoughts wouldn’t be possible without self-consciousness. Consciousness is the active ability to direct body movements (e.g. in animals) and self-consciousness is the active ability to direct body movements and thoughts (in humans only).
EVOLUTIONARY STAGES OF THINKING
simple daily inferences based on physical experience
thinking in absolute values with emotional attachment, formulation of a system of thought
thinking in relative relations from different points of view without emotional attachment, putting of facts into correct context
thinking with various systems of thought
stage 1. SIMPLE-MIND: INFERENCEs
The most primitive mind tries to orient itself in the world. And the most familiar things a person at this level is dealing with is concrete physical objects and people. Thinking at this stage is based on concrete objects and directly observable physical phenomena. The mind draws simple inferences from its daily experiences. The level of understanding in a primitive mind is quite obscure and the associative connections are loose. Thoughts and conclusions are considered absolute because the mind fails to recognise a number of other factors. Single parts of reality are mistaken for the whole of it.
Simple thinking proceeds linearly with one concept at a time. The insights are not interconnected and any extensive understanding of complex interrelations is not given. The thoughts revolve around very mundane mental representations of physical objects, people and daily events.
Development of thinking proceeds...
(...) from concrete objects towards abstractions;
(...) from concrete objects towards general principles;
(...) from absolute views towards relative perspectives;
(...) from linear concepts towards nested associations;
Logics, emotionality, and the tendency to absolutize values are the characteristics of mentality in development.
stage 2. THINKING in development
A concept is a group of thoughts about a concrete physical object (or person or event). As the mental development progresses, thinking becomes more abstract, more detached from those concrete objects. Concepts can be grouped together to create ever more larger and complex concepts. That’s the process of abstraction. When the mind thinks in ever more abstract concepts, the result is mental constructions such as principles, propositions, statements, theories, schemes, plans etc. Thus, several concepts can be grouped together to build a common unit that expresses itself as an abstract principle.
The creation of abstract principles enables us to mentally represent patterns and repetitions that we observe in the physical world. It makes planning into the future possible. The mind builds its own mental system of thought that is supposed to explain reality. At this stage a person can establish a religious, scientific or philosophical system as a personal world-view.
The reason why people get stuck in their own patterns of thinking and are seemingly not able to change easily despite new facts shaking their preserved dogmas has to do with emotionality. Emotionality is an inner faculty that in the course of evolution develops in animals before mental faculties are developed. Emotions are our ancient evolutionary heritage, while precise, rational thinking is quite a young human phenomenon.
Logics is the method of identifying truth by the mind. Reality is full of physical objects and phenomena, but the mind represents reality in its own “mental fabric”. Logics is the method of making sure that the mind’s mental constructions (principles, propositions, statements, theories, schemes, plans etc.) agree with objective reality. When such relation is given, we call it truth. Truth is when the mind’s representations agree with reality (facts). Truth is about facts and logics is the means of establishing a mental connection with facts. Thus, logics is about the mental laws of truth.
There’s always a risk that when reasoning is based on spare facts, the human mind can draw false conclusions and create partly fictional structures that distract from truth. The cause for not being able to infer correctly is the undeveloped mentality and prevailing emotionality that dominates most people’s thinking at early stages of mental development. Such narrow-mindedness is the cause for dogmatism.
The reason why people get stuck in their own patterns of thinking and are seemingly unable to change despite new facts has to do with emotionality. Emotionality is an inner faculty that in the course of evolution developed in animals before mental faculties developed in humans. Emotions are our ancient evolutionary heritage, while precise, rational thinking is quite a young human phenomenon.
The first indication of developing thoughts is the emergence of feelings. Feelings are a mix of thoughts and emotions in which emotions preponderate. The emotional aspect is stronger in feelings than thoughts. It is the task of human development to set mentality free from emotional influence so that reason becomes independent in its own thinking processes.
As long as the mentality is undeveloped and weak, emotionality remains the determining factor in thinking. All irrationality and dogmatic views derive from the fact that feelings and emotions determine and conserve the content of thoughts.
EMOTIONS DEVELOPED FROM URGES, AND THINKING DEVELOPS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF EMOTIONS.
WHENEVER EMOTION PREVAILS, THINKING IS WEAK.
If we are forced to change our habitual ways of thinking, an inner conflict between engraved emotions and reason ensues. Most people’s mind is too weak to carry out the inner work of change, so they prefer to stick to their old ways of thinking, because the status quo takes away from them the burden of thinking and the pain of emotional change.
When emotionality rules over the mind, all thinking tends to see only extremes, as if two values apparently opposed each other. This has to do with the fact that pure emotionality can only be positive or negative, and when the mind is undeveloped, the emotional polarising dynamics overlay the mind’s incipient thinking processes.
When mentality develops, it establishes ever more connections between its thoughts. The mind rewires itself constantly. As long as the mentality is in its infancy, the thoughts stand in isolation from each other and are very loosely connected. Since at the early stage emotions influence thoughts, the isolated thoughts are charged with emotional meaning. The undeveloped mind regards the emotionally tinted thoughts as absolute truths with no consideration for their relations and contexts. The commonly dreaded black-and-white thinking ensues in this way.
stage 3. Advanced thinking: relations & perspectives
Thinking is not as difficult as most people presume. The only difficulty is to develop the faculty in the first place. But once it is obtained, thinking becomes almost an automatic process.
A DEVELOPED THINKER DERIVES PLEASURE FROM KNOWING THINGS AND MAKING CORRECT CONCLUSIONS.
Mentality based on factual experience and observation is the source of knowledge. Knowledge is a mental structure that represents reality accurately, with its multitude of connections, relations and contexts.
Everything in reality is a network of relationships, and there are many perspectives from which you can view the same thing. While a primitive and undeveloped mind sees concepts in an isolated and absolute way, an advanced mind considers every concept as interconnected with many others in their relative position to each other. The advanced mind recognises that it is not a matter of black-and-white thinking, but that there are countless ways of describing one and the same thing, because there are many relations and factors in reality. Two values might appear as paradoxes at the stage of the primitive mind, but from the perspective of a developed mentality the paradoxes dissolve, because more factors are taken into account which eventually explains the paradox from a completely different and higher angle.
An advanced mind strives to put thoughts (concepts), which represent facts, in their right context. The right context means the right connections established logically between the various concepts.
IN REALITY NOTHING IS EVER ISOLATED OR ABSOLUTE.
Thoughts obtain their rational value through their interrelations which the mind can describe in gradations or percentages.
cultivation of mental interests
As the mentality advances, emotionality slowly loses its dominion over the mind. Thinking becomes clearer and stronger and develops under its own impulses. Emotionality becomes dispensable for thinking. The emotional impulses and physical interests still exist, but now intellectual interests are added. Emotionality loses its privilege in favour of reason. The thinking preponderates and the passions and emotional whimsies are more and more pushed into the background. The result is a rational personality.
A DEVELOPED MIND DOESN'T CONTENT ITSELF WITH ITS OWN SYSTEM OF THOUGHT. IT SEEKS KNOWLEDGE FROM ALL EXISTING SYSTEMS.
A DEVELOPED MIND DOESN'T THINK IN ANY PARTICULAR WAY. IT CONSIDERS ALL THE WAYS.
stage 4. CULMINATION OF thinking: systems of thought
Under the influence of growing mentality and decreasing emotionality the concept of pleasure changes. The mind is no more a slave to chaotic emotional impulses, urges and irrational view, but it derives pleasure from seeking knowledge. Mentality thinks about reality as it is, without emotional attachments. Emotional and mental fictions are no longer stimulating. The recognition of reality and facts become the driving force for thinking.
Feelings and emotions can be controlled more or less by the mind. It recognises that emotional preferences have no place in the domain of objective knowledge and rational thinking. It understands that no system of thought can claim to know it all. Instead, it surveys various systems of thought in search of truth.
The mind becomes capable of synthesising thoughts and extracting the essential information from them, without caring about rigid formulations, labels, formulas or even the exact words. It becomes interested in the actual reality behind the words, not the particular changeable terms or labels. It considers a multitude of ideas and provides a creative and visionary outlook on life.
A developed mind doesn't assign any emotional attachment to ideas any more. It sees the ideas as they are, regardless of where, when and by whom they were formulated. What counts is the reality import of ideas and how they are put in their correct contexts across the multitude of systems of thought. In this way mental fictions are precluded and the mind is able to recognise the diversity and complexity of the one reality we live in.