Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Thought styles, collectives and non-verbal cues

To put it simply, Fleck was my kind of thinker! During my own journey through observation and reflection, I had already come to the conclusion that there could be many "correct" theories for the same problem. Fleck added to my understanding by asserting that there is no "complete" truth or error. For some reason, reading "complete" as opposed to "correct" or "perfect" prompted me in a new way. Applying this to self involves both humility and mercy--if there is no complete truth, then I must always keep searching and reflecting; if there is no complete error, then there must always be room for hope.

Something I'm still chewing on is the idea of thought styles and thought collectives. I'm wondering about how those shape and are conveyed through non-verbal cues. Texas is the sixth US state and only southern US state I've lived in; after five years, I still find it difficult to develop deep connections with my friends who are from here. By now, I know that 9 times out of 10, if I feel a pull to talk to someone, they're going to be from a northern state. My 2 newest friends are from Michigan and California; the ease and intimacy between us already exceeds that between me and friends from Texas I've known for five years.

With each move, I've paid attention to the local culture/assumptions that are commonly expressed in conversation, which I think Fleck would consider expressions of the thought collective (for example, in Texas it's common to hear someone say "That's not right" whereas in California it' s common to hear someone say something akin to "Do what you feel is right for you").

Now that I'm approaching the end of my coursework, I'm considering where I want to live. No matter where I've lived in the past, whenever I was home (in Montana), I always felt that the people were exceptionally nice, but I couldn't identify why I felt that way. Now, I think it's because the thought collective there is second nature to me; the non-verbal cues that invite conversation are easy for me to understand. I don't mean to suggest that everyone agrees on every point; rather, I understand the context out of which the agreement or disagreement developed. After living on each border of the US and in several countries, I feel certain that my learning will always continue in any setting, and, I'm ready to give myself the gift of place (and, I suppose, of a chosen thought collective).

2 Comments:

Blogger asw said...

Annie-
Your observation about your thought collective in your home state versus other locations in the states made me wonder how much of Fleck's concept of the thought collective ties into time?

As Fleck demonstrated in his book how the process of scientific fact only changed and became more known over time due to the build up of the knowledge by one scholar after another in this thought collective.

So as that relates to your situation, do you think the amount of time you spent in your home state (maybe since childhood?)could be the reason for the thought collective to be more comfortable versus in other states where you may not have stayed as long or been in that thought collective as much?

Overall, I wonder how much does time shape the forms of the thought collectives we are surrounded by encourage us or dissuade us?

9:42 PM  
Blogger gfp said...

Along the same lines of time, how does geographic location fit into the structure of thought collectives? Are thought collectives independent of environment?

Coming from the West, I have also noticed it is easier to "connect" with Northerners for me than with Southerners. Is this just an arbitrary coincidence?

1:26 PM  

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