Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Thinking Nonverbally

I think in pictures, and promised Susan, an NT friend, that I would try to explain to her how I do it in a way that she could relate to, even though she does not do this. I had to think for weeks, and then, as I was driving down a road with a fence next to it and imagined how a person could get to the other side of the fence- nonverbally, of course, I realized how I could generate images like what I was thinking/ seeing in my mind's eye. I finally explained it to my friend as I envisioned it that evening-- it is as if I had drawn my thoughts out on a tiny tablet of paper- the kind of instant animation one can put ones thumb against and flip, to make the pictures come up rapidly one after the other, so that a visual image appears, like a silent movie, of a tiny situation. When I was a kid, one could find things like this as prizes in Crackerjack boxes.

Later, it occurred to me that there is plenty of nonverbal thinking I do that is not visual either- and I have no idea how to explain any of this to an NT. Some is strings of rotations and directions and numbers- the way I remember directions physically most easily, for example- and other parts are full of brilliant colors doing things- the colors are my code for words and ideas and other things that would take much longer to think about in words than they do in color- and other parts are logical sequences and chains of ideas and logical inference.

Just a week ago, I was in a conversation about feelings and realized that in dealing with mild anger, I have a shade of orange-brown that denotes that feeling- and do all manner of constructive things in dealing with it- but had not really ever verbalized it- and did not even connect those actions to dealling with feelings till I was in that conversation.

I am sure that there are other ways I think without words, and have yet to realize it. Things like this are so natural for me that I don't stop to examine them sometimes.

No comments:

Post a Comment