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Phil, you say you don't like the title, "Efficient Thinking." I don't, either, and certainly not for a book aimed at the general public. So here's a standing invitation to all OL people reading this: If you have any suggestions for a title, please post them here. The winner of the contest -- if there is a winner -- will receive the much-coveted Barbara Branden award, which consists of dinner with me at West Hollywood's fabled Chez Hamburger Hamlet.

"Thinking and Freedom"

"Thinking Qua Thinking"

"Stepped Up Thinking"

"Thinking Ins and Outs"

"Reality and Reason"

"At the Throttle"

"Creativity and Objectification" or "Objectification and Creativity"

"Human Means and Human Reality"

"What I Learned from Brant Gaede"

"Above the Neck"

"Principles of Objective Thinking and Creativity"

"Thinking and Creativity"

"Thinking" (I stole this)

"Efficient Thinking, Inefficient Creativity"

Uh, BTW, who pays?

--Brant

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First, I can't resist - an addition to the "for dummies" series, "Thinking for Dummies". :D (I don't think there is one yet, although "Logic for Dummies" is taken.)

Other ideas,

"The Thinking Man's Guide to Thinking"

"Thoughts on Thinking"

"Mind your Thinking"

"Thinking: A How-To Guide"

"Thinking for the Do-It-Yourselfer"

"Thinking: A Do-It-Yourself Guide" (my favorite)

Edited by Laure
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Barbara,

We all think whether we want to or not. This is one of the problems I have with the part of Objectivism that says the fundamental choice is to think or not to think. The implication is that if you choose not to think, then you don't think at all.

That's not true, yet there is a there there. People have a mental faculty that has several modes of operation. Rational thought is one. Daydreaming is on the other side, but it is a mode of operation that can be chosen. (I will stay with only rational thought and daydreaming in this post for the sake of simplicity. I don't want to detour off into a discussion of the different states of conscious awareness.)

Bu branching off into creativity, you are covering some of these other chosen mental states. So the idea of purposely engaging which mental state you want to use at a certain time would be an excellent idea to insinuate in the title.

Focus is a great word when we speak of using the rational faculty. We can choose to focus on a problem or on reading an instruction book. But it sounds contradictory if we are talking about choosing to daydream (or even letting yourself go into a daydream-like state on appreciating art). So I would rule focus out, although, strictly speaking, one can focus one's mind and get it to daydream.

But there is a another concept that is at the root of Objectivism and it is accurate with everything I know about your course. Regardless of what the final name will be, I definitely think you should include the idea that one can choose his/her mental state at the top end of consciousness.

What I mean is that sometimes there are states that are so intense that making such a choice becomes near impossible. For instance, a subject matter might be so boring that it takes an enormous effort to keep the rational faculty engaged and the person actually goes to sleep (or whatever). Or there might be a distraction that makes it impossible to maintain a state of daydreaming. When these kinds of situations are faced, many automatic operations kick in. I call this the bottom level. The top level is what can be changed in the mental state by choice.

One thing is almost sure. A person can only achieve the highest benefit from a determined mental state if he chooses to let that state run (as much as possible at the time). I am almost certain that this was the idea (or part of it) behind the original choice of the word "efficient."

So my suggestions are along the following lines:

Choose How to Think

Principles of Volitional Awareness

Principles of Volitional Thinking

Principles for Choosing How to Think

You are What You Choose to Think

And so on.

Michael

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Barbara,

We all think whether we want to or not. This is one of the problems I have with the part of Objectivism that says the fundamental choice is to think or not to think. The implication is that if you choose not to think, then you don't think at all.

That's not true, yet there is a there there. People have a mental faculty that has several modes of operation. Rational thought is one. Daydreaming is on the other side, but it is a mode of operation that can be chosen. (I will stay with only rational thought and daydreaming in this post for the sake of simplicity. I don't want to detour off into a discussion of the different states of conscious awareness.)

Bu branching off into creativity, you are covering some of these other chosen mental states. So the idea of purposely engaging which mental state you want to use at a certain time would be an excellent idea to insinuate in the title.

Indeed, it would, Michael -- so with that "in mind," let me suggest (in addition to my other suggestions above):

The Purpose-Driven Mind

Heh-heh.

REB

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"Towards Thinking"

"Thoughtful Thinking"

"Them There Thoughts" ;)

"Thinking Theory"

"Thorough Thinking"

"Tinker Thoughts"

"Thinking Through"

"Through with Thinking?" :)

"This is Thinking"

"Tried and True Thinking"

"Tiered Thinking"

How about a Perigo title? "Thinking Tricks"; "Try Thrinking".

Or a Coats title? "Thinking for Toddlers"; "Toddling Through Thoughts".

Or an ARI one? "Tired of Thinking?"

Oh gosh, this is going to haunt me! :)))))

Michael

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I collect old books dating back to the 20's and 30's on topics that interest me. On the shelf behind me with thinking in the title I have

"the art of thinking" (two different authors), "the use of lateral thinking", "sound thinking", "clear thinking", "critical thinking" (several authors), "thinking straight", "the science of correct thinking", "how to think", "thinking about thinking" (two authors), "the complete thinker", "thinking logically", and "how to think like leonardo da vinci". I have recently ordered by mail "thinking as a science" by henry hazlitt. I have books on the topic yet which don't have the five letters t-h-i-n-k in the title, such as "how to manage your mind" and maybe a dozen books with logic in the title, even if they are not about formal logic.

The upshot is there is no reason not to use a great title that has already been used (especially if its a book from, say, the forties). . Think of all the books with the title 'calculus' or 'american history' or 'logic'. This happens all the time for generic subjects - and not only with textbooks.

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Though, when I paint I listen to music I love

Interesting, Michael. I do the same thing when I write. It doesn't matter what kind of mood I am in, or how upset I am with people. All I have to do is put the music on.

I used to think it was a bad habit, but maybe it's just the kind of inspiration we need.

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So here's a standing invitation to all OL people reading this: If you have any suggestions for a title, please post them here.

Thanks for hijacking my thread, Barbara! :P

Tell yer kids about it!

--Brant

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To directly address the question asked (a good one):

You have to first express for/to yourself before you can express to others. This is the honesty, it is essential. Meaning, you have to at least have that together if you are to hope to impart what you have to others. What do you want to say? I think that's a big part of making things. This sounds highly basic, but I find it to be true. If you don't do that, you rely upon technique, and that can propel you; you can do something that comes off fancy, but it will be sizzle, no steak.

Barbara said, if I got it right, in essence, that it is native, built-in, that we do art to convey (verb!). So, there is a natural thing there. People make things so others can experience them.

I call that show business, and it's a beautiful thing.

In one regard, the audience is every bit as important as the entertainer (dirty word?).

There is a dynamic there, and part of being an artist is to study that dynamic.

As to Rand (particularly "Atlas"), I have thoughts on this (condensed). I think she was waiting for prime movers, and they came, but she never saw them. Going deeper, I would say that she upset an applecart. Meaning, there was a power structure. There always has been one. So, she disturbed them with her message of freedom, so to say. She got lots of fan mail, but they were (I think, as I read it) from what she viewed as commoners. Rand was an elitist, in her own way. I do know that she got plenty of accolades. But, that was not enough, I guess.

She cut too close to the bone, maybe, and she was dispensed with. The power elite definitely disenfranchised her. As I understand it, she went into quite a depressed state after "Atlas," and there is show business for you...she didn't please the court. She was saying that there ARE no courts. This was her brilliance, at least to me.

rde

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We have a winner!!!!

Many of your suggestions were great. Thank you for them. Brant, I was especially tempted by "What I learnef frm Brant Gaede" and "From the Neck up" -- so that makes you runner up.

But Roger is Miss Universe!

I love Think as if Your Life Depends on it (because it does!) and i also very much like The Purpose-Driven Mind. I won't absolutely swear I'll use one of them, I won't decide until the book is well under way and I know the shape of it, but I think it very likely that I'll choose the first one. Roger, I owe you dinner at the fabulous, storied, elegant Chez Hamburger Hamlet!

Julian, I'm sorry I hijacked your thread. I'll get back to it.

Barbara

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We have a winner!!!!

Many of your suggestions were great. Thank you for them. Brant, I was especially tempted by "What I learned frm Brant Gaede" and "From the Neck up" -- so that makes you runner up.

But Roger is Miss Universe!

I love Think as if Your Life Depends on it (because it does!) and i also very much like The Purpose-Driven Mind. I won't absolutely swear I'll use one of them, I won't decide until the book is well under way and I know the shape of it, but I think it very likely that I'll choose the first one. Roger, I owe you dinner at the fabulous, storied, elegant Chez Hamburger Hamlet!

Julian, I'm sorry I hijacked your thread. I'll get back to it.

Barbara

Barbara, that's wonderful! Especially since I was afraid I might be crowned Mister Existence. Ick.

I see the wisdom in waiting until the book takes its likely final shape. Then the best title may just jump right out at you. But if you use either of my suggestions, I'll be delighted, of course.

More importantly, I'll be delighted to accept your kind offer of dinner at the Hamburger Hamlet. It's one of my favorite L.A. eateries!

Now, back to Julian's thread....

reb

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Julian, I think the answer to your query has been given. Remember Ayn Rand's essay "The Goal of My Writing"? Well, with Atlas Shrugged, she reached that goal -- presenting the ideal man -- so there really was nothing higher to reach for. Not in fiction, anyway.

Now, if Rand's goal in writing were simply to write the best stories she could, about whatever interested her to present, then I think she would have happily gone on writing stories. But by her own choice, she had added to this general motivation the more specific, much more demanding aim of presenting an ideal man. That was her professional-artistic quest. By her own words, ~that~ is why she wrote stories.

Once she accomplished the creation and presentation of John Galt, she was done with her quest. She had to move on, and she did, once her depression lifted. Happily, we have Objectivism as a result. Also happily, we have many more fine, enjoyable stories by authors, including Objectivists, who did not choose to constrict their creative ambitions in the service of a specific, career-ending ideal, as Rand did.

REB

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That was fun.

-----

Roger, your are right about Rand carried on with creating values. But I would think it rationalistic for any artist to think that their objective as an artist was complete after a major work. Smells fishy to me. But I can understand someone in a depression unable to create a benevolent ideal, or if one is simply too old and doesn't have the energy to attempt another major artwork.

Michael

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Michael N: "I would think it rationalistic for any artist to think that their objective as an artist was complete after a major work. Smells fishy to me."

It would smell fishy to me, too, except for something you may not be aware of about Rand. She said a number of times that she did not consider herself primarily an artist, that for her the writing of fiction was a means to an end, and that the end was the presentation of the ideal man and the ideal mode of existence. That assignment was completed with Atlas. Further,writing fiction had become harder and harder for her over the years, and when, in the early sixties, she began her nonfiction projects, she discovered that, as she put it:

"Nonfiction is my natural way of functioning, I enjoy the actual writing itself. I have difficulties and organizational problems, but it's an enormous pleasure to me even when it's difficult." (Passion, p. 322)

Barbara

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Roger: "As for creative thinking, I do think that problem-solving and creative thinking involve a lot of the same general kinds of processes, including giving your subconscious "standing orders." Arthur Koestler's The Act of Creation, one of my favorite non-fiction books of all time, argued for a common ground between such disparate fields as humor, artistic inspiration, and scientific discovery. He said that "bisociation" between two previously non-united areas of mental content was the key to creativity in general."

I agree with you -- and with Koestler -- that problem-solving and creative thinking involve similar processes. But they also involve very different processes. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, I saw the disaster of attempting to be directed only by careful, rationally thought out decisions when writing a novel, versus letting my subconscious have free rein and going wherever it led me. Yes, I know that scientists, too, have to be open to the dictates of their subconscious, but the differences of degree are enormous and are often overlooked, especially by Objectivist fiction writers.

Barbara

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...She said a number of times that she did not consider herself primarily an artist, that for her the writing of fiction was a means to an end, and that the end was the presentation of the ideal man and the ideal mode of existence. That assignment was completed with Atlas. Further,writing fiction had become harder and harder for her over the years, and when, in the early sixties, she began her nonfiction projects, she discovered that, as she put it:

"Nonfiction is my natural way of functioning, I enjoy the actual writing itself. I have difficulties and organizational problems, but it's an enormous pleasure to me even when it's difficult." (Passion, p. 322)

Barbara,

If art is an end in itself than that runs into a conflict with it be used as a hand-maiden for another purpose. For example propaganda uses art to express political policy or ideals. Do you know/think that Rand changed her priorities over a period of time? If so, do you know when? There is a logic gap here, if it is impossible to project a ideal human through philosophy, and only possible through art--it seems that art is king. ;)

Michael

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I'm not sure if it came up on this thread or the other one, but there was recent discussion of the New York crowd, Lonnie Leonard, Allan Blumenthal and psychotherapy.

So to share my own experiences, I just created a new thread called:

"THE OBJECTIVIST PSYCHOLOGISTS AND ME".

Since things sometimes get lost here, it's in the "Objectivist Living Room" forum if you go to the OL start page. [ If no one finds the topic of sufficent interest to replies (on topic, substantively) I'll simply drop it . . . . ]

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~ If I may belatedly add to the prospective titles of that book whose lectures I listened to a long time ago in a life far, far away...

THINKING:

Why Bother?

--Merely Feeling You're Right Makes You Usually Wrong!--

HOW TO AVOID PROBLEMS RATHER THAN COMPOUND THEM.

TRYING TO HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO...Causes Ulcers for Life.

LLAP

J:D

PS: Congrats RB; I'm hamburgered out anyways.

Edited by John Dailey
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