Inside Lion's mind...
July 2, 2004 3:41 AM   Subscribe

Lion Kimbo spent three months writing down every thought he had. And has written a free to download book telling you how you can do the same.... Though quite why you would want to is beyond me....
posted by brettski (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
via the BBC magazine
posted by brettski at 3:42 AM on July 2, 2004

posted by Outlawyr at 3:50 AM on July 2, 2004

I wonder if there are any possibilities of altering the way somebodies mind works in this manner. Writing down every thought seems like an imposing task to me. In order to do this I'd have to be able to focus my mind a lot better than I currently can where even writing this sentence gets interrupted by various thoughts.
posted by substrate at 5:23 AM on July 2, 2004

Focus is an interesting thing. Intensifying focus on one thing generally means that focus on other things will degrade. And it reduces the opportunities for cross-process bleed (cross pollination, serendipity).

OTOH, lack of focus has it's own consequences. The human world is littered with the consequences of unmindfulness.

And then there's the observer effect: Yes, an activity like this would almost certainly change the way your mind is working, at least for the duration of the experiment. Long term...who knows. I think it's possible.
posted by lodurr at 5:44 AM on July 2, 2004

Isn't that the idea behind affirmations, where you write a sentence like "I will get a better job" multiple times each day (Scott Adams wrote about it in one of his Dilbert books)? It forces you to focus on a particular goal for no other reason than spending some time each day thinking about nothing else.
posted by tommasz at 6:10 AM on July 2, 2004

Apropos of trains of thought...

The google ads right this moment, top to bottom: "Lion Luxury Villas"; "Mushroom Extract Products"; "The Mane Lion Dinnerware"; "Mushroom Kits, Grow Bags".

In talking and thinking about creativity, most people focus on breaking barriers, making new connections. That's great. That's important. But it's fantastically insufficient. Once you've broken the boundaries open, you will need to reform them again. That's really just a fact about the nature of thought and ideas; how long the boundaries exist and how permeable they are are matters that are open for negotiation, but there must be boundaries. (And anyway, the fluid, permeable kind require more organizational skill to maintain.)

Point being, this "down in the valley" stuff (to borrow Pirsig's phrase) usually gets short shrift. What I like about a project like this is that it has the potential to drive home the richness and complexity of thought -- the importance of what's in the valley, as opposed to the obsession that people in this industry -- well, probably most people in general -- have with what's at the peak.

But to say whether or not these things change you -- well, what are you? Not to go all Philosophy of Mind on this, but when you think through the question, it's not easy to answer. Especially if you don't believe in immutable souls.

Affirmations can work. I've seen them work, made them work, but for many people (including myself) they only work in a very limited way. For me, they're not very effective. "I will get a better job" is a simple assertion to me; it carries no weight. If I make of it a mantra and think of nothing else, then it loses meaning because it loses relation to other things.
posted by lodurr at 6:34 AM on July 2, 2004

While I don't think I've the time or discipline necessary to fill notebooks, Kimbro's theory of intelligence struck me: Intelligence, as I define it, is getting the right information at the right time at the right place. . .

To me, this is what it all boils down to. Especially given the surfeit of information that surrounds us all.

I just discovered why I want - why I need - a personal Wiki.
posted by aladfar at 7:11 AM on July 2, 2004

I read that "definition" in the article, and my first reaction: Well, that's a pretty facile and damn near useless definition of "intelligence", and it boggles the mind that someone could spit that out after such an exhaustive three month project.

Information is nothing. Really. There's tons of it, everywhere. All over the place. And you can have the right information, even, at the right time, and not know it, and you're still screwed. (Of course, that can be defined as a situation where you're missing one piece of information: The fact that you have all the rest of the pieces....)

The relations between different parts of information -- now you're starting to get somewhere. But where you're starting to get is knowledge, not intelligence. Ability to form or discern those relations -- then, maybe, you're starting to talk about intelligence.

That ability could be native, or could be a skill, and is most likely a lot of both. Clever but undisciplined minds have been responsible for a lot of the world's ills.
posted by lodurr at 7:50 AM on July 2, 2004

Hmm, I know this guy - we lived in the same apartment building for a year or so, back before the big crash. He was definitely smart, but never quite seemed to be living in the same world I did.
posted by Mars Saxman at 7:52 AM on July 2, 2004

I don't think I could write that fast. I'd probably have to use an audio recorder of some sort. I believe there are iPod microphone accessories one can buy now...

Then I'd have to find someone to transcribe it all.

Then I'd organize it.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:05 AM on July 2, 2004

If the introduction is an example of his intellectual output then (unless he was a complete moron beforehand) it doesn't seem to do you much good. It seems to be a badly written stream of thought.
posted by daveg at 8:19 AM on July 2, 2004

yes, something like that can change you ... it can make you aware of things going on in your head that you weren't really paying attention to ... i don't think doing it for 3 months straight exclusively is necessary ... i've been doing something similar for about an hour or two a day, most days, for 4 months and been amazed at the results ... it's like those mind photographs allen ginsburg liked to practice and talk about or kerouac's spontaneous prose ... i'm not sure that it really helps you that much as a writer but it can do a lot for you as a human being ... it can be a process very similar to the 4th and 5th steps of aa ... taking a fearless moral inventory of yourself and sharing it with at least one other person and god

just 30 minutes a day ... and make sure you show it to someone ... it may take awhile, but you'll be amazed at what comes out

snowlion used to post to ... he's often had some interesting things to say
posted by pyramid termite at 8:42 AM on July 2, 2004

It seems to be a badly written stream of thought.

Take this in the light of what pyramid_termite said, and consider that the goal shapes the journey. If improving clarity of understanding is your goal, you get to one place; if improving clarity of communication with other people is your goal, you get to another.

And if your goal is to simply see what will happen, then I suspect you will end it without improving your ability to communicate clearly with others. But as termite says, I find it hard to imagine (myself) getting through it without an improved self understanding.

If you go into a process like this thinking that there's one kind of enlightenment or improvement at the other end, you'll disappoint somebody. But then, I suppose you can always count on disappointing somebody...
posted by lodurr at 8:48 AM on July 2, 2004

looks like lion's into really organizing it ... i haven't gotten that far into it that i'm organizing all those thoughts ... and i doubt i would ... but the real key is open commucation with yourself ... and it's surprising how much we hide from ourselves
posted by pyramid termite at 8:58 AM on July 2, 2004

My definition of "intelligence" centers on the ability to cope with complexity. The result would be getting the right information at the right time in the right place.
posted by kindall at 8:58 AM on July 2, 2004

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