Sunday, November 27, 2011

Wisdom Is Timeless

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News Versus Wisdom: Transient Versus Timeless

I had actually meant to post this item of possible interest to those of you who might be interested in Asian politics, demographic trends, capital markets, inevitable eastern world domination, Rare Earth Element export restrictions, exotic recipes, FOREX, and so forth many months ago, when I actually received it. It might have been critically important then -- but then again, as I do not read and comprehend any languages other than English, some German and a bit of urban Spanish (either written or spray painted on aging infrastructure), I hadn't any idea what it meant. If it was breaking news, then this post will be seem to be a waste to many of you. Or perhaps, for those of you who may be Braintenance or Sending Signals adherents, it might actually be incredibly thought-provoking.

Before deleting the correspondence, I thought, "What if the message contained in these curious characters is not breaking news, per se? What if it is wisdom?" I realized at that moment that news is time sensitive, and may have limited utility, whereas wisdom is timeless and has limitless utility. News is important, but transient... wisdom is always relevant. This is a very under-appreciated difference. It captures the very essence of why a wonderful book retains its appeal over centuries while yesterday's racing form, stock market tip, or last month's election forecast may be of such short-lived relevance. The original post follows:

This morning I received the following correspondence, and wanted to share it with my friends and colleagues immediately. If what this person claims is actually true, things could be much better than any of us had originally thought. I offer it here for your consideration. Please be at liberty to write me back with your thoughts on this very serious matter. Whatever it may be. I am hopeful that it will not translate to something socially inappropriate for my general audience:

p.s. It is occasionally considered "bad form" to send spam to people. But, technically speaking, this letter is merely information and an inquiry. Perplexingly, I do not know whether or not the forwarded correspondence is spam -- it may well be a formula for a cancer cure...then again, it could be an ad for cheap Cialis from a pharmacy in Mexico.


Interestingly enough, the above message (I believe it was a response to a post on one of my blogs from some time ago), may or may not be of any significance or utility. It is actually irrelevant to this article.

The importance of this article is by no means dependent upon (or even related to the curious characters in the curious characters above. The importance of this article is that news becomes either stale or irrelevant quickly -- it has a very limited shelf-life. But wisdom, whenever it arrives, remains relevant forever. News is a report. Wisdom is a vastly applicable rule, born of an important observation.

Keep up with the news to remained informed and prepared...but pursue wisdom in order to become the owner of a greater mind. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the news were enriched with more wisdom? Wouldn't it be wonderful if those persons who reported the news [objectively and accurately], could end with an observation regarding the news item that represented some wisdom derived from the news?

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homographs: Right - Left Brain Links... [Hemispheric Integration]

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Homographs, for you ever-curious Braintenancers, are words which are always spelled in the same way but have multiple meanings in varied contexts. Some simple examples are words such as "keys," "lead," and "   .". The curious mental magic associated with reading or spelling with these words forces your right brain (the artistic, abstract , conceptualist) to cooperate with your left brain (the literal, pattern-seeking, logical, analytic computer) to solve puzzles, questions or jokes which cause you to simultaneously and creatively access both hemispheres of your brain. In doing this left-right "getting to know you" exercise, your thinking processes will improve in a number of aspects. you will find yourself able to look at every grouping of words in several different ways. It allows you to develop synergy between your imagination and your direct logic. 
These words have the advantage of improving your punsmanship, your understanding of double entendres and your deciphering of subtle concealed messages within seemingly simple combinations of words. Your perception of words and meanings will deepen, as will you appreciation of native language:
Just compiling a list of these homographs can be a challenging referencing exercise. Here are a few to start off your list, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Many of these have first syllables that evolved from Latin prepositions, although again that does not account for all of them. Also, some of these words only exhibit the stress alternation in certain varieties of English. For a list of homographs with different pronunciations (heteronyms) see List of heteronyms
Do you know where words are stored in your brain…?
In your tem­po­ral lobe! 
As you know your brain has two sides (two hemi­spheres) con­nected by the cor­pus cal­lo­sum. So you have one tem­po­ral lobe on each side of the brain. Let's get them to wok together.
If you are right-handed, your lan­guage is stored mostly in your left tem­po­ral lobe. If you are left-handed, you are not so lat­er­al­ized and your lan­guage is stored a bit on both sides of your brain in the tem­po­ral lobes.
Words in the brain are not stored ran­domly. They seemed to be quite orga­nized. Research has shown that words that are often heard together (such as salt and pep­per) or words that share some mean­ing (such as nurse and doc­tor) are con­nected or asso­ci­ated in the brain. Once you hear one, the other is activated.
Here is a brain exer­cise whose aim is to stim­u­late the con­nec­tions or asso­ci­a­tions between words in your tem­po­ral lobe.
In the left col­umn you have a pair of words. Your goal is to find a third word that is con­nected or asso­ci­ated with both of these two words.
The first pair is PIANO and LOCK. The answer is KEY. The word key is con­nected with both the word piano and the word lock: there are KEYS on a piano and you use a KEY to lock doors.
Once Again: Key is what is called a homo­graph: a word that has more than one mean­ing but is always spelled the same.
Ready to stim­u­late con­nec­tions in your tem­po­ral lobe(s)? Enjoy! (Solu­tions are below. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)

Ready to stim­u­late con­nec­tions in your tem­po­ral lobe(s)? Enjoy! (Solu­tions are below. Please don’t check them until you have tried to solve all the pairs!)
Pascale Michelon— This arti­cle was inspired by a piece writ­ten by Pas­cale Mich­e­lon, Ph. D., for Dr. Mich­e­lon has a Ph.D. in Cog­ni­tive Psy­chol­ogy and has worked as a Research Sci­en­tist at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity in Saint Louis, in the Psy­chol­ogy Depart­ment. She con­ducted sev­eral research projects to under­stand how the brain makes use of visual infor­ma­tion and mem­o­rizes facts. She is now an Adjunct Fac­ulty at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­sity, and teaches Mem­ory Work­shops in numer­ous retire­ment com­mu­ni­ties in the St Louis area. Douglas E. Castle and The Braintenance Blog graciously offer their thanks to both Dr. Michelon and
Here are some of the answers to the questions above: PIPE. You simply have to find the rest of them by clapping those two hemispheres together!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Your Creative Orientation: Negative? Positive?

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Creativity is one of the greatest attributes of the Human mind that leads to almost all significant adaptations and advancements. Every product, service, or system is given the first seeds of its existence, its first chance at life, by the creative energy of thought. Metaphorically, the very energy of brain is converted, through a process, into a tangible, physical result -- truly an Einsteinian conversion of energy to matter.

Being innovative is not quite enough. Your Creative Orientation is a major factor in what the outcome of your thoughts will be. By way of example, if your creative process is started based upon a negative premise ("We have a problem which must be solved.") instead of upon a positive premise ("I have a vision for a goal which I long to achieve.") your creative capacity, imaginative scope, and ultimate results are likely to be negatively impacted and limited.

You see, the idea-generation process is immediately constrained by an obsessive focus on problem-solving. This tends to lead to narrower, more introspective, less "outside of the box" parametrized type of thought organization. The very premise which directs your energy is that you "must work to solve a problem." This is inhibiting.

If you commence the creative process with a vision or a dream  -- it represents (subconsciously) a creative opportunity with much broader parametric bounds, and a great deal more free-flowing and associative thought.

The secret to building and sustaining a positive creative orientation is to "fool the mind" into seeing problem-solving obligations as as constructive, forward-thinking challenges. If you are successfully able to condition you thought process to viewing any problems as invitations to innovate, you will free your mind to do its highest and best energy work -- because your mind sees this as a means of challenging, creative expression, and not as "work" or a "task' . 

Again, a part of Braintenance has to do with be aware of what and how you are thinking, and to change the process as necessary.

-- Douglas E Castle

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Best Memory Improvement Techniques

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left parietal lobe(red) and corpus callosum, d...Image via WikipediaThose of us at Braintenance Central (make a quick left at the Parietal lobe, and follow the cues) believe that using a mnemonic or other "conscious device or technique" in order to improve some aspect of mind functioning is not against the rules -- in fact, if it helps, we like to encourage it. There are so many wonderful devices and techniques for improving various aspects of mental functioning that it makes one's head spin.

Again, we feature a listing of the most popular memory techniques, courtesy of BrainMetrix:

The Link Method: The Link Method is one of the easiest mnemonic techniques available, yet quite powerful. It is not quite as reliable as a peg technique, as images are not tied to specific, inviolable sequences. It functions quite simply by making associations between things in a list, often as a story. The flow of the story and the strength of the visualizations of the images provides clues to an easy retrieval of the stored piece of information.

The Number/Rhyme System: The Number/Rhyme technique is a very simple way of remembering lists of items in a specific order. It is an example of a peg system - i.e. a system whereby facts are 'pegged' to known sequences of cues (here the numbers 1 – 10). This ensures that no facts are forgotten (because gaps in information are immediately obvious), and that the starting images of the mnemonic visualizations are well known.
At a simple level it can be used to remember things such as a list of English Kings or of American Presidents in their precise order. At a more advanced level it can be used to code lists of experiments to be recalled in a science exam.

The Number/Shape System: The Number/Shape system is very similar to the Number/Rhyme system. As with the Number/Rhyme system it is a very simple and effective way of remembering lists of items in a specific order. It is another example of a peg system.

The Alphabet Technique: The Alphabet system is a peg memory technique similar to, but more sophisticated than, the Number/Rhyme system. At its most basic level (i.e. without the use of mnemonic multipliers) it is a good method for remembering long lists of items in a specific order in such a way that missing items can be detected. It is slightly more difficult to learn than the Number based techniques.

The Journey System: The journey method is a powerful, flexible and effective mnemonic based around the idea of remembering landmarks on a well-known journey. In many ways it combines the narrative flow of the Link Method and the structure and order of the Peg Systems into one highly effective mnemonic.
Because the journey method uses routes that you know well, you can code information to be remembered to a large number of easily visualized or remembered landmarks along the routes. Because you know what these landmarks look like, you need not work out visualizations for them!

The Roman Room Mnemonic: The Roman Room technique is an ancient and effective way of remembering unstructured information where the relationship of items of information to other items of information is not important. It functions by imagining a room (e.g. your sitting room or bedroom). Within that room are objects. The technique works by associating images with those objects. To recall information, simply take a tour around the room in your mind, visualizing the known objects and their associated images.

The Major System: The Major Memory System is one of the two most powerful memory systems currently available. It requires a significant investment of time to learn and master, however once it is learned it is extremely powerful. It is the application of mainly this system that forms the basis of some of the extraordinary, almost magical, memory feats performed by magicians and memory technicians.

Incidentally, the Major System, while requiring significant study and practice (both of which benefit many cognitive abilities simultaneously -- no waste here!) is undoubtedly the best. It is worthy of a dedicated article all its own, and we shall see about doing that. I would strongly advise that you invest some time (for an exceptional ROI) in Mastering The Major Memory Mnemonic Technique. I have personally witnessed some amazing feats performed by persons using it.

Douglas E Castle []

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Intuition: A Portal To BREAKTHROUGHS.

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Bnet's The Live1 Program features an interview with Francis Cholle, author of The Intuitive Compass. It is very significant to note that Cholle defines intuition as being the "bridge between reason and instinct." While I do not fully agree with his definition (I separate instinct and intuition as two separate abilities, emanating from two different sources), his observations are as applicable to real-world, real-time business as they are enlightening.

His observations account for the enormous success of some bold entrepreneurial enterprises, and his suggestions regarding brainstorming, 'play' and autonomy are worthy of incorporating in any business, project, or problem-solving task. Interestingly, his approach does not discard sound business judgment -- it simply integrates a much greater component of the "gut" feeling and the associative free flow of the individual mind's wandering.

Cholle, who has been exceptionally successful in his business career and is a seasoned business executive, offers some of the best insights I have heard regarding the preferred working environment, approach to business and lifestyle priorities of the Millenials. This is empowering information as generations increasingly mix in the workplace, and where Boomers and Millenials too often fail to understand each other. Greater understanding and mutual accommodation engenders greater productivity.

Two separate links follow for you to watch the interview. While the first is preferred, your equipment (I personally have a somewhat idiosyncratic system comprised of an ENIAC hooked up [with electrical tape and Crazy Glue] to a pre-CBS Fender Deluxe Reverb Amplifier and a food processor) might be more receptive to the second link. Both offer the same programming, but in slightly different formats:


Douglas E. Castle

Note: While this article originally was published by Douglas E. Castle in Braintenance, it will be either cross-posted or referenced in several of the author's other blogs. It has tremendous applicability to all aspects of Human activity, undertakings and advancement. Intuition is our birthright as Human Beings, and it should not only be treated as a gift, but it should be exercise and regarded with the utmost reverence and seriousness.

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