The mind secretly craves paradoxes that defy reconciliation. These little pieces of self conflictory speech are to the mind what a painting by M.C. Escher is to the the eye. Some Paradoxes get the mind running iteratively to the point of exhaustion, but not a single revolution of mental turnover is wasted. The mere cycles make the mind more resilient, the imagination more expansive, the ability to visualize keener, and general problem-solving skills more powerful. The mind strives for stability -- a one-root solution -- but is stimulated by the exercise of arriving at the point of stability through its own internal logical machinations.
From a more mysterious and possibly sinister perspective, the mental fatigue caused by repetitive anti-logic and the essential bouncing from wall to wall effect can put the mind into a trance-like or increasingly suggestible state. This is excellent for meditation, but under certain controlled circumstances, it can provide an opening for elements of brainwashing and mind control. Mental fatigue without any rest can be a form of torture. People who never think are blissfully ignorant of this type of pain (sigh...).
Additionally, certain simple perceptual puzzles (usually simple pictures which require that the mind re-examine them from various unconventional perspectives, or re-context them new ways in also exercise the same mental muscles. Some of these puzzles are merely optical illusions which cause a variety of interpretations or of the same data to yield different interpretive results, and some require an added element of conscious mathematics skills or logical thought.
Here are a few things to ponder or play with for our beloved readers of The Braintenance Blog:
1) A person is chronically unreliable. Can he be relied upon to be consistently unreliable?
2) If a person says, "I keep my friends close and my enemies closer," what is your standing with this person when he embraces you, and offers you a seat and some pleasant private conversation, are you his friend or enemy? How can you be certain?
3) If an empty ten-ounce glass is filled with more water, each time as follows: firstly, with 2 ounces; secondly with 1 ounce; and with each fill thereafter comprised of half the amount of the previous fill, how many fills will it take before the glass is exactly 7 ounces full?
4) How many equilateral triangles are there in the picture below? (hint: sometimes a triangle can be made of other triangles)
5) How many squares do you see in the picture below?
Enjoy the workout.
Coach Douglas E. Castle