Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Mind

Brain & Mind ~ Writers Need Both . . .


Aren’t Brain and Mind just two words for the same thing?

Not in my world :-)

My world has physics and metaphysics

Very simply, physics deals with the physical world.

And, in my dictionary, metaphysics means:

“the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, identity, time, and space”

Of course, physics deals with some things in the physical world that are very difficult to explain since they’re invisible—gravity and magnetism are two.

And, metaphysics becomes difficult to understand when some folks claim that all the abstract concepts dealt with—Love, Mercy, Faith, Justice—are merely distilled from physical existence.

Plenty of intelligent people over the aeons have shared their experience of metaphysics as a realm “beyond” the physical—some merely calling it the arena of Values.

I’m even of the opinion that Words are Metaphysical

For now, let me say that I believe (and have experienced enough to “Know”) that Physics is used by the Brain and Metaphysics is used by the Mind

So a writer would then need to train their mind along with their brain.

So, if a writer lives a “full” and “authentic” life (which, to me, would include reading omnivorously) their brain will translate events in the world (and words in books) into concepts their minds can use for creating written works.

As far as training the mind with reading, check out the post, Why Writers Must Read In Order To Become Authors.

Now for the brain

Naturally, if the brain is the two-way portal between mind and world, just living will give it a good work-out.

But what about specific brain-training?

I may have found a space you can use to improve your brain’s functioning

It’s called Lumosity.

I’ve signed up and taken it out for a spin and it seems worth a try.

The claim for me: 60-69 Age Group — 15 mins a day for 3 months — 97% Improvement

Since I got 3 days of training free and their nominal fee to continue is $5.99/month (30-day money-back guarantee), it would seem I could nearly have a new brain in three months and only lose about $18 if it doesn’t work :-)

Seems though it’s very likely it could work.

Some statements from their site:

“The human brain continues to create new neurons throughout life. Exercise and cognitive stimulation can impact the number of new cells created in your brain.”

“Scientists have discovered that the brain can reorganize itself when confronted with new challenges, even through adulthood. Based on this research, Lumosity’s exercises are engineered to train a range of cognitive functions, from working memory to fluid intelligence.”

“Scientific studies have shown that Lumosity training can improve your ability to dynamically allocate attention, which sharpens memory and processing skills.”

“Lumosity exercises are designed by neuroscientists and are based on independent scientific research from institutions like Harvard, Stanford and Berkeley.”

“Research shows that training just 10-15 minutes a day on Lumosity can lead to dramatic improvements over time.”

“Lumosity users report positive and often remarkable results that include: better face-name recall, faster problem-solving skills, and a quicker memory.”

“Adjust your priorities over time—Memory, Attention, Speed, Flexibility, Problem Solving.”

I may or may not continue using the site—feeling right now that my brain’s been pretty well-trained so far and getting good daily work-outs but………

If you go visit, I’d love to know what you think in our Comments.

Actually, I’d love to know what you think in our Comments even if you don’t go there :-)
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Prelude To An Explanation of The Origin of Words…


I promised one of our regular readers that I’d explain how I think Real Words are produced in our minds and then begin the journey to other minds through what most people think are real words << those symbols that exist on screens and pages but aren’t Real Words

As fate would have it, my plan got altered–I needed to do some research and the tabs at the top of this blog needed reorganization.

So, as a beginning to tomorrow’s post about the journeys Real Words make, I should point out that I’m not going to be talking about the origins of English words in other and older languages–that’s something you can explore with this cool Online Etymology Dictionary.

A related site that includes a forum to discuss words and their histories is Wordwizard.

Also, for true word-lovers, there’s the links page on The Sciolist.

What I’ll be starting tomorrow is a description of the origin of words before they end up being in languages–the rock-bottom, primal dwelling place of Real Words

Since this exploration will touch on concepts like Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, you might want to read this short article about The Archetypal Patterns.

Now, I need to get prone and dream a bit

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I’ve Never Really Seen A Word . . .


Our last post began to explore where words come from.

I postulated that words are metaphysical entities–that the things we see on the screen or paper aren’t Real Words but just the symbols we use to get a set of Real Words from one mind to another.

If the word “metaphysical” isn’t something you’re real comfortable with, you may want to look at that last post for a possible excuse to give it a reprieve :-)

Minds are metaphysical.

If you doubt that bald statement you may want to check out the Wikipedia entry that includes this statement: “The nature of the mind and its relation to the body has been seen as more of a problem as science has progressed in its mechanistic understanding of the brain and body”

I can only continue on the assumption that our minds and the words which come from them are metaphysical because I’ve spent most of my 65 years studying the whole messy business of how we think and why we write.

If you can’t believe that the mind and words are something other than physical entities then I suppose you can only leave me behind in your cloud of dust

OK, now where are the Real Words and how did they get there?

Some folks are happy saying God created words and that’s that.

Some folks could agree with that last statement but would need a bit more explanation about where they hang out and how we know about them.

Some folks believe that humans evolved a capacity to formulate words, even though they couldn’t see them.

Some folks don’t really give a damn :-)

So, as they say, for the sake of the argument, let’s temporarily agree that words are not physical and hang out somewhere in our minds.

I’ll propose they have their residence in what’s called the Collective Unconscious. For now just think of the collective unconscious as a realm so deep in the mind that there are no “my thoughts” or “your thoughts” but only the energy patterns that make conscious thought possible.

These energy patterns are ultra-creative and we all share them–the same basic primal patterns of all words, concepts, and thoughts are in every one of our minds–this is why you can understand what I’m typing right now, even if you don’t believe what I’m typing :-)

In our next post I’ll attempt a detailed description of how a set of Real Words gets from one mind to another. And, in case you’d like to explore a range of other opinions on the creativity of the unconscious, check out these archived articles on Demon Muse

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Where Do The Words Come From . . . ?


If you’re new to this blog, you might want to read this post first

Oh, my, I hope I didn’t lose any readers because the title of this post ends with a preposition

It’s really ok to do it—honest :-)

Words are slippery critters, for readers, writers, and publishers.

Words are metaphysical entities, even if they point to non-metaphysical things.

Words can seem to appear on the screen or page but they live in our minds and hearts.

My absolutely favorite word is “Word” :-)

So where do they come from?

If, in fact, they are metaphysical, they live in a non-physical realm. (Was that a too obvious sentence?)

Some folks may be cringing at my use of the word metaphysical but I should point out that there are many things besides souls, epic emotions, dreams, prayers, and words that are well accepted as existing though they’re not physical; like gravity, magnetism, numbers, and the whole field of mathematics.

So, if words come from and actually exist in a non-physical realm, what are these things I’m typing into this blog post?

These things, like this very word << are the physical representations of Real Words. Perhaps an example will help the explanation:

“Jack took his time thinking over Joyce’s proposition. If he agreed, his life would change, irrevocably—jumping off a nine-story building had its risks. If he didn’t agree, Joyce would leave him—again, a choice with risks

What happened in your mind as you were reading that? What did you see? Did you feel anything about Jack or Joyce?

Every word-symbol in that example pointed to Real Words in your mind. The meaning of the word-symbols on the screen and the meaning of the Real Words in your mind are different. In fact, the word-symbols have no meaning until your mind assigns meaning to them

Words are so slippery that humanity has a thriving industry of creating dictionaries–full of complicated word-symbols–just so we humans can have a modicum of agreement on what Real Words mean–yet, the Real Words keep changing on us–evolving and even cozying up with each other to breed new words

So, there’s my theory (truncated, to be sure) of where words come from.

What do you think?

Oh, I know, I haven’t, yet, clearly described that metaphysical realm where words hang out but I will; oh, yes, I will :-)

Come on, I dare ya–what do you think about words as metaphysical entities???

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This Post Is A Setup . . .


This post’s “message” will be a series of statements and questions designed to massage various parts of your mind and heart; but, first, just a bit of explanation:

I keep a list of possible blog posts.

I was just looking that list over.

I realized that most of the posts would need a lot of explaining before I could get to the meat of the matter.

I agree with the “experts” who say blog posts should generally be on the short side of long

So, I want to use this post to get my regular readers ready for a series of posts. I’ll also use it as a reference-link in certain posts for folks new to the blog.

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All of us use words but most of us don’t stop to consider how they were created.

Most of us do most of our thinking with words.

Without words, human communication would be a rather bleak endeavor :-)

There are words that point to emotions–like “hate”–and then there are words that convey emotions–like, “She drove the knife deep into his groin.”

Emotions can either cloud the meaning of words or add color and light

Many people feel thoughts and emotions are usually antagonistic.

Some people think emotions are the source, or at least the goad, of thought.

The rational mind (with the sometimes aid of its cousin, the emotional mind) is the creator of every object surrounding you, including the words you just read

Some words (and the thoughts they summon) refer to states and forces that can never be directly sensed. One example: you can define “integrity” and you can say things like, “John, in spite of his feelings and in the face of terrible risk to his life, continued to publish what he saw as the truth.”, but can you actually see, smell, or taste integrity?

Where do words exist when they’re not on the page?

Where do emotions happen?

Why does so much of what’s important in life seem to resist simple definition?

Is the metaphysical realm a fantasy or can there be metaphysical realities?

Are there entities and forces that exist beyond human sensation?

Does any of this matter in reading, writing, and publishing??

O.K., that was the setup—look in the left side-bar for the free essay, What Are Words?—it’s what the setup was about :-)
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