A different of thinking

So whenever I am thinking about something I usually think in terms of sentences. This leads to two problems.

  1. The speed at which I can think is limited by how quickly I can pronounce the words in my mind

  2. My ability to recall my previous thoughts is very limited because it is difficult to recall words because they are abstract

A potential method you could use to solve these problems would be if you were to convert the top 10,000 most commonly used english words into images and become fluent in thinking in terms of these images rather than words. This would solve the first problem because it is much faster to sort through images when compared to words. This would also solve the second problem because it is much easier to recall images when compared to words.

I’m very curious about what you guys think of this system and if it would be practical or even possible to become fluent in thinking this way.


It’s very possible to become fluent in thinking this way. I don’t quite think it would be as practical as it seems.

For starters you may not find it as quick as you are hoping (usually we use an image for multiple things rather than 1:1). Try to measure the time it takes you to convert a word to an image. If you manage to train this to a great extent and get it all the way down to an image every 0.1 seconds you have 10 words a second, then 60 seconds in a minute is going to give you 600wpm. It’s definitely possible to verbally think at 600wpm, even in fact 800wpm. You can only really solve this by converting multiple pieces to an image at once, which is definitely feasible.

Recall may also not be quite as amazing as you expect, the reason for this is that you may struggle to recall 900 images presented in a row. Using a memory palace actively or associating each bit might solve this but then you may be thinking slower than you are now. For sure, your memory would be better if you did this though.

I think the largest issue is that you may be missing parts that usually exist in abstract reasoning, you may also not, so it’s definitely a good thing to try, the results may be unexpected. The time it takes to make such a system may be a bit long, but with dedication it should work.

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The RAM of the human mind is essentially a loop of sound (“Phonological Loop”, PL) and an abstract image/movement engine (“Visuospatial Sketchpad”, VSS).

It is true that the VSS is much faster than the PL, although the PL can deal with complex logic more easily.

A better solution to what you’re proposing is to be conscious of what you’re using your PL and VSS for, and promote using the VSS rather than the PL for time-sensitive tasks, such as speed-reading and for mental calculation.

When I’m training mental calculation, one of the most important things for me is to practise performing parts of my working in VSS rather than PL. And when I’m coaching in mental maths, one of the first things I do is assess what each student is using each part of their working memory for.

On the other hand, the PL is extremely important as it enables you to articulate your thoughts fluently. If you suppressed it for all your tasks you might find some friction when trying talk.