Monday, November 19, 2012


My initial response to solving most problems has long been to let intuition provide the answer.

I remember as far back as high school geometry providing intuitive answers, and often being right . . . but not often enough to satisfy the teacher. I also remember asking "why?" Why does "pi" make the theorem work? And why is pi the number that it is? I was usually told (this was junior high) not to ask, but just apply whatever formula was given and do it "right."

Today I still rely on intuition as a first cut at solving a problem. Often it has to do with computers which, though "logical," often seem to use a logic that my intuition fails to  . . . uh . . . intuit, as it were. Then of course, I must fall back on the instructions or the text book. It is hard to do (for me). I think it is probably a matter of laziness.

It is so much easier to disregard the instruction manual or the textbook. It’s sort of putting part A with part B without checking to see which part is really B and not C or maybe just a piece of the packaging. Logic, when applied to physical things, is a combination of experience, sight, perhaps sound, and even touch. I’m essentially a visual person: I see images instead of concepts. That usually works.

I depend on a visual dictionary. In my mind, words have shape, dimension, and sometimes even color. As far back as I can recall, even if I didn’t know what a word meant, hearing it would generate an image. Even now, I "see" words as I use them, especially when I am writing. Now, of course, the words are informed by knowledge, but there isn’t always agreement between the image and the act. There is often disappointment when the real meaning becomes clear.

Take for example, the word "politician."

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