Active Participation, Being Here


A couple months ago I read A Spy’s Guide to Thinking by John Braddock. I expected a short action book when I chose it because it was recommended to my by Amazon Prime and I had been binge reading all of the Jack Reacher novels. It turned out to be in a similar, but there was a second side to it that has changed my life, or shall I say, it reminded me.

The narrative in the book fits closely to self-improvement, but the short plot acted as a metaphor or package for this notion. The take home point from it can be found in many different formats, whether it be attention to detail or zen living. I am going to refer to it by THINK-DECIDE-ACT. I first heard of this in programming logic controllers for industrial applications. The computer makes decisions on incoming real data and controls real devices on a machine. Automation is nothing new, but this type of modelling is important when considering how exactly a person is safely replaced and determining where they can’t be. Operators turn out to be responsible for much more than punching down a start button.

This book enlists this THINK-DECIDE-ACT method for personal self-management so I tried it. I had a lot of great results and this has helped me to quit fumbling around with the thoughts in my head. I ran into a word that had me recheck what I was doing the other day. Now, let me say I like words, specifically etymology, but definitions attached to any meaningful structure is beauty to me. There was a section in a different book I was reading on peoples looping behaviors. For whatever reason I stopped on looping and I am not exactly sure why. The obvious intentional meaning had been repeating an action and the image that popped into my head had been two loops. Somewhat more surprisingly I bothered to look it up and it read: moving in a curved manner .


It is descriptive, sufficient, and not much of a definition in my book; nevertheless, I found the association between it and my expected definition provocative and it ignited my imagination. I had been thinking of looping as a perfect , finished , or even literal state. The last one seemed most surprising seeing as there is no point in time where behavior can be an actual loop, but it was the other two which were fruitful. Again, there are a lot of ways to express this relationship I saw between a final result and actual behavior. The thing about ‘a curved motion’ is it doesn’t have any intention attached to it. This sort of purity allows for a radical expansion on the scope of the word.

I worked through a distilling process on several different ideas using this notion as a guide and I eventually found my way to THINK-DECIDE-ACT. What is the actual moment-by-moment unveiling of it and how is it different from the idealized form? My behavior, in evaluation, turned out to be not much more than responding to stimulus of various types. I noticed I have various postures which I adopt depending on themes. The looping in my head changes if I am reading, running, driving, working, or even talking to people. I am working on these ‘postures’ right now and that is what brings me to this board. I am about to reprogram and I was wondering if anyone on this board has recommendations on books or has ever tried it themselves. It seems to me that a forum for those practicing memory is the most likely place to find helpful information.

One other question, and this is not a joke, what is a person practicing on or improving their memory called? I don’t know it.

(Josh Cohen) #2

A mnemonist (or mnemonist-in-training). I think “memorizer” is more common though. :slight_smile:

(selmo'i cu se nintadni) #3

Awww, but then I don’t get to act smug about pronouncing “mnemonist” with the /mn/ blend. :wink: