Saturday, 15 February 2020

Born to do Math 157 - A Thought

Born to do Math 157 - A Thought
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
February 15, 2020

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What is a thought? 

Rosner: I think the most straightforward definition or idea of a thought is that when you are thinking. You are aware of a bunch of things simultaneously. Some of these things count as what we understand as thoughts. A thought is just your set of things in mind in a moment.

When my wife takes my mother-in-law our for a meal, my mother-in-law has a habit, that my wife hates, of pointing out fat people. She points out people, "Boy, those people are really heavy." My wife says, "Yes, you don't need to point it out. Just shut up about that."

Jacobsen: [Laughing].

Rosner: But seeing somebody heavy and realizing that they are heavy counts as a thought, it is realizing something about something in your current awareness. It doesn't have to be in your current awareness. Somebody could write something down.

A thought can be considered in the form of an equation in linking two things or forming two things, or putting them in a category. You're generally linking two or more things. Even that is subject to not being exactly accurate, you can have a thought about one thing, which isn't really about one thing.

You can see your friend walking down the street. You can think, "There's my friend." You are linking, "My friend," "here", "right now."

Jacobsen: You are walking around. You see someone heavy. You are walking around. You see someone's face. It identifies in another part of your brain. It is your friend's face, not just a face. Then the fireworks set off. It is a distributed-sequential thing.

Rosner: As a process thing, sensory input, in your brain, can include external sense, input from different parts of your brain, putting words to things. You see your friend. You think, "Jeff!" You just linked. The link as formed in your brain as this person you're seeing, and who this person is, and their name. You can recognize without the name.

Basically, thoughts are forming associations between different aspects or things in your current mental arena. I don't know if that is going to be the most durable idea of what a thought is. I think linkages might be kind of essential to the idea of thoughts. 

It is a thought to see your wife. She walks into the room. Your wife is in the room. It is seeing and recognizing her. She is on the couch. She is reading. Those are all thoughts. They are all kind of one thought.

They are all observing and lining using stored knowledge. You recognize that it is your wife. You recognize that she is reading. Another way of looking at thoughts is in conjunction with the current hot theory that brains - their job, maybe their only job according to some people - are meant to prepare you for what comes next moment-to-moment.

They to set you up as best as possible for each subsequent moment, which relies on recognizing what is going on around you, as each moment unfolds. You can be completely unconscious and then by reflex be told what to do by your brain.

There is some recognition going on, even without conscious recognition. Is all this close to a thought?

Jacobsen: I'm not buying it, yet. 

Rosner: Okay, what needs to be further refined? Let's look at it this way without bringing consciousness into it at all. Some aspects of the environment, both external and internal, trigger things, realizing what they are, naming them, acting on them, but sensory input triggers an action, whether physical action or it brings up other things into awareness. 

That triggering and that forming of association counts as thinking. Then you can draw the line, like walking into a read and then watching your wife reading. Is it one or three thoughts? It seems like a bullshitty distinction. 

You are consciously recognizing your wife and the stuff associated with her. It doesn't matter whether you call it one thought or several linked thoughts, or whatever. But thinking, in general, is forming associations, inputs triggering outputs within your brain. 

What we think of as thoughts are things that we don't necessarily express in words when we are thinking them, but that can be expressed in words. You could say something. Say you see your wife walking through the room for a half of a second, you see her reading on the couch reading for half of a second. You can think, "My wife is reading."

Your awareness of that doesn't have to trigger the words in your head. It can still be a thought. But if you are asked to notice what you are thinking, you can describe what you are thinking via short sentences.

"I see my wife," "she is reading," and "she is on the couch." If those are things that happened in your consciousness, then they are thoughts, which are part of one thought. I don't know if drawing distinctions is super helpful because there's a super larger thought that you are in your house. It is a certain time of day.

Of course, your wife is around. She is at home at this time of the day. It is part of this more global awareness if you wanted to completely describe everything that you were aware of, or thinking. It may 2,000 sentences to completely catalogue one moment of awareness. 

But thoughts are just generally like what is in your conscious arena at any given moment. We would have to talk about any unconscious things that you are reacting unconsciously to. Maybe, there is some rough cutoff. 

You put your hand on a hot stove. You pull your hand back, even before you are aware of putting your hand on a hot stove. Maybe, the awareness from the nerves of your hand to the nerves of your spine will be a thought, "Ow, that's freakin' hot." 

But these may or may not count as thoughts. 

[End of recorded material]


American Television Writer

(Updated July 25, 2019)

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.*

According to some semi-reputable sources gathered in a listing hereRick G. Rosner may have among America's, North America's, and the world’s highest measured IQs at or above 190 (S.D. 15)/196 (S.D. 16) based on several high range test performances created by Christopher HardingJason BettsPaul Cooijmans, and Ronald Hoeflin. He earned 12 years of college credit in less than a year and graduated with the equivalent of 8 majors. He has received 8 Writers Guild Awards and Emmy nominations, and was titled 2013 North American Genius of the Year by The World Genius Directory with the main "Genius" listing here.

He has written for Remote ControlCrank YankersThe Man ShowThe EmmysThe Grammys, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!. He worked as a bouncer, a nude art model, a roller-skating waiter, and a stripper. In a television commercialDomino’s Pizza named him the "World’s Smartest Man." The commercial was taken off the air after Subway sandwiches issued a cease-and-desist. He was named "Best Bouncer" in the Denver Area, Colorado, by Westwood Magazine.

Rosner spent much of the late Disco Era as an undercover high school student. In addition, he spent 25 years as a bar bouncer and American fake ID-catcher, and 25+ years as a stripper, and nearly 30 years as a writer for more than 2,500 hours of network television. Errol Morris featured Rosner in the interview series entitled First Person, where some of this history was covered by Morris. He came in second, or lost, on Jeopardy!, sued Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? over a flawed question and lost the lawsuit. He won one game and lost one game on Are You Smarter Than a Drunk Person? (He was drunk). Finally, he spent 37+ years working on a time-invariant variation of the Big Bang Theory.

Currently, Rosner sits tweeting in a bathrobe (winter) or a towel (summer). He lives in Los AngelesCalifornia with his wife, dog, and goldfish. He and his wife have a daughter. You can send him money or questions at LanceVersusRick@Gmail.Com, or a direct message via Twitter, or find him on LinkedIn, or see him on YouTube.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing

(Updated January 1, 2020)

Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:


[1] Four format points for the session article:
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  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott. 
  3. Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview. 
  4. This session article has been edited for clarity and readability. 
For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:
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