Monday, January 22, 2018

The Thinking Man & Woman

What goes on in the heads of men and of women? I get asked this by folk deep into their Ale, in one way or another. Or I get told that men and woman think differently. As if all men thought one way and all women thought a different way. Personally, I don't think many people think at all. Or not at all well. Questioning and curiosity are fine qualities to have but people prefer to be certain. They will arrive at a conclusion far too quickly. Right or wrong. And they believe their conclusions.

Don't believe everything you think is what I generally say to those with a far away look, hugging a pint.  Some may have seen this elsewhere.

Especially when they have a woman or three floating around amid their brain cells. Not many men of my acquaintence spend much time on the question of what and how women think. They have 'beliefs' about it and they suffice. Right or wrong.  

This seems to annoy many women who give the impression of being thinkers about what men think.  But they are just the same in their certainty. It is a failing on the part of both for whom some curiosity would be better than irked dismissal.

The Lady of the Tavern, TSG, brought April by for a quiet drink.

Alice the Professor
who could teach me whatever she wants :)
Peaceful April is a thinking Gal it seems and she had some quite insightful views to which we listened. M'Lady certainly paid attention and wanted me to too.

She could pass for a 'thinking man's crumpet'. Some men assign such designations. It is a man's way of thinking I am told and I have done that m'self. The designation is already given to the fabulous Alice Roberts in my book.  But I am not here to fight anyone's corner or assert my preferences for the ladies. 

April is quite taken by the way men think and notes a difference from how she does it. 

I was actually impressed, listening to her, that she did not generalise how she went about thinking to all women.

So to April and her views of men's thinking. She started by saying what she thought it was a good idea to think about how men think, as well as what they think about.  And she actually asked men ! 

That is impressive in itself. 

I like the gal and gave her a fine drink to set her off.
How Men Think
I believe that if we as women could better understand how God designed our men to operate, think, feel and look at life – we could be so much more accepting, understanding, empathetic and appreciative of their strengths and even their weaknesses. 
OK, She had my attention, despite the early leap to what she believes.  Belief is what you live your life by and what April had to say does in fact give some evidence that she does at least give some time and thought to it. 
I believe that if we realize that a man’s brain works very differently from our own, we will be able to allow him the time and space he needs without resenting him, or thinking he is unloving, or assigning evil motives to our husbands – just because they don’t think, talk and act like we do.  
This is just a small sample size of men.  I hope to feature some other men with different ways of thinking, different personalities and different vocations in future posts on this topic.
I asked Greg  (an engineer) if he solves problems at work and home with words in his mind.  The thought had never occurred to me that anyone could solve anything in their head without a constant stream of words.  He amazed me when he said that he doesn’t really use words for solving many problems.
The constant stream of words can carry one away. Like any river it flows, sometimes quite fast.  Many people (too many? most?) go with the flow. A living organism is noted for an ability to  determine its own direction. It can swim against the stream. It can make progress rather than just drift. The drifting word confusions and propensity to gibberish were expressed by James Joyce in 'Ulysses', showing it is not just a woman's mind-attribute.

To make the words make sense one has to stop them, look at them, subject them to 'tests' of truth, relevance, consequence - these three at the very least. April is trying to here.

For house projects (carpentry and plumbing, etc) he said he thinks in numbers and pictures, but not words.  
And for family and marriage issues and big decisions, he said he thinks more in the form of input and output, logic systems, or a scale.  
That really blew my mind!  
No wonder he can’t always explain to me how he arrived at a conclusion – he isn’t using words to get there, but he is using a very logical method.  It is just not remotely MY method!
When he judges whether his logic system is working well, he uses my response and happiness as the measure of success – or the “output” of his system.  Wow!
And he said that when his system didn’t produce good results (my happiness) repeatedly – he just shut down the whole thing because the system wasn’t working.  
That is the “shut down” I saw for weeks or months in the past.
I asked my Daddy about this, too.  He’s also an engineer.  He said that when he is working on projects on the house or on machines, he thinks in pictures.  He said when he is working on certain problems “Words are a waste of time and energy.  Pictures are much faster.”
There are just two of other modes to think on. I am glad she has seen them at last: they seem to have suprised her. There is another mode though that women seem to have - Intuition. That too defies verbal explanation, although it is often amusing to hear a woman try to explain how she arrived at her intuitive conclusion. 

I am not knocking it. 

Think too of the 'fighter-Ace': that experienced pilot who has a spatial sensitivity and mode of conceptualising at high speed, under great stress, that enables him to 'know' where other aircraft not only 'are' but will be in ten seconds time, in relation to himself, when all are operating in three dimensions, with intent to deceive to boot!! He is just as unable to put it into words. He too is 'intuitive'. And rare.
Man 1:
I certainly think through things a lot but when you are in a position of leadership or authority (like a President) you have to be careful what you say because it could have dire consequences. 
Imagine if a pastor or priest thought out loud about everything that came into his head. 
Some of his thoughts may not be healthy for consumption but his position would give credibility to them. This may be a result of hard wiring or it may me a result of how boys are raised into men.
I will say this though. In my head I am isolating variables and thinking about them in words. I am just not speaking those words aloud or writing them down.
It is when you start to write them down that you can really pin down the meaning and analyse where you are going with it. 

The worse thing that can happen with our thoughts is that they capture us rather than we put them to useful, truthful, work. 

They can 'own' us rather than the other way around. 

From this we get mantras and Agitprop and all of the shoddy lack of though we see particularly on the left.
It does depend on the problem as to what I am thinking. I can imagine an engineer thinking in pictures because if you are building something you have to visualize it. 
I am a chemist so when I am thinking about molecular structures I am definitely not thinking in words. 
When I am thinking about theology or philosophy I am thinking in words. 
I think it is hard to generalize.
MAN 2:
I would agree with Greg as well about not really thinking and processing with words. I tend to process alot just as he indicated by thinking about all the different options and if I do this these are the results, if I do this other thing the results change like this.
When it all comes down to it I look at all the options and figure out which is the best result. Sometimes it’s a matter of picking the least bad result because nothing is great, but many times it’s picking from a few good results and you have to consider how many people it will affect as you can’t know how they will see the results either. So I would definately say a majority of the time I focus and process with the right side of my brain.
 (From PW – the right side of the brain in men and women is where logic and reasoning happens.  For men, this area is not nearly as connected to the verbal center in the left side of the brain as it is for women.  This is a really important difference – that God created very purposefully – I believe – so that men can deeply concentrate and focus on spacial issues and think more efficiently about certain types of problems without the distraction of words and emotions.)
Everyone is a friggin' psychologist !! Even some who are, think they are.
I will say that I have a pretty active imagination as well and sometimes while I still think about which choices will affect the outcome and look at all the options there are quite a few times where I will do that with pictures. Sort of a silent film in my head if you will.
I can see the scene unfold before me and based on choices made see how people react or how it unrolls from there. Granted it’s still all just my opinion on how it will happen and I can’t know for sure how someone else will react, but the movies I’ve created in my head to solve problems tend to be correct more than incorrect. So while I believe that I am still processing based on logic, past reactions I’ve seen, etc there is definately a part of my left brain that is in there moving things along as well. Even with that said there are still almost no words taking place. The only time words come up in the movies is when I have to say something to make a choice and see what the reactions are.
I would also agree with the “can’t explain it with words” comment. 
There have been many times in my life where if given the time to make a decision I process it and come to a decision and when I put forth what that decision is I am questioned to explain it. When I was younger I actually tried to explain it at times and it never came out well. When I start getting pressured about a topic and can’t explain it well enough I tend to fall back on using more basic words and things like always, never, all the time come out. I’ve learned that to someone who thinks and processes with words those particular words are caustic. As soon as those start coming out there’s not much chance of salvaging the discussion because those words mean something different to me than they do to women. Or more acurately they have more meaning to women than most men.”
I have more posts on this topic – other men in different professions say they think mostly in words.
There are a variety of ways that men think – and sometimes it is REALLY different from the way that we as women think.
Hmmmmm. And how do 'women' think? 
There are some guys who need extra time to process their thoughts and feelings before they are ready to talk about them.
So, if your man needs time to think and be alone for awhile during a big decision – that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care.  It probably means he cares very much and he needs some time to think before he says anything.  
If you can give him that time, understanding that he thinks and works through problems in a different way from you – your relationship will be MUCH better!
Women also need to understand that if a man feels verbally attacked for sharing his feelings – he will quickly decide just not to share his feelings anymore.  
That is a pretty foreign concept for many women.  
Women tend to assume that if a man doesn’t say anything about his feelings, he doesn’t have any feelings.  That is NOT true!   A man can be very deeply wounded and NEVER SAY A WORD about it.
I am pleased my Southern Gal brought April by. Keep an eye on that lass.

We have a phenomenon of 'mind'. With it we can Apprehend things; We can, a step further, Comprehend them. Not many go that far.  Further still we can Understand

It seems too that occasionally we can 'Know' without comprehending or understanding.

Drink. Think.

Do both slowly and deliberately.



  1. {Drink. Think.}

    Hmm, cheers old man ... I can only do one at a time

    1. Wot? No multitasking? I apprehend but do not comprehend.

  2. Personally I tend to think visually and intuitively. Usually (but not always) I could explain how I got to my point of view.

    When it comes to words my natural tendency is condense my thought into a summary. I was particularly good at that exercise in my school examinations and tests (when we had to cut out all superfluous words from a presented text).

    At work when people were debating things endlessly to get to a conclusion I would give a one line statement along the lines of 'isn't this what we need to do?' Depending on the personalities it would either stop the conversation immediately because my point was the answer. Or my comment caused the conversation to change direction and in this instance my point may or may not have been found correct and the end of the debate.

    I personally don't think that male and female brains are wired differently. Reason and logic might be predominant in a male and emotion predominant in a female. Life experiences and personal choices can change the balance of reason, logic and emotion.

  3. It's pretty amazing, and terrifying, that the very idea that men and women think differently is controversial. If you've ever spent five minutes talking to a member of the opposite sex you know that they think in a completely different way.

    One example. If the facts don't coincide with his feelings a man is more likely to accept the facts. If the facts don't coincide with her feelings a woman is more likely to reject the facts. To a woman emotions are at least as real, if not more real, than facts.

    That's not a fault in women. Emotions are real. In some situations it's right to go with your feelings. But it's not a good principle to apply if you want to be an engineer.

    1. First, a person of either gender has to be aware (apprehend) just how they usually think. That does not happen too often. I was impressed by April's inquiries. She is a young women going about things in a reasonable manner.

      There is as much variation of thinking style between members of the same sex as between members of opposites. At the individual level it becomes very apparent on a one to one basis between sexes. They respond to one another and differences show up more clearly.

      I cannot agree with Dfor, as I have met all too many men who not only cannot think their way out of a paper bag but get quite emotional about it. Even angry! As for women.... what man would want to inhabit a mind so sloshed around in a wild sea of hormones on a regular basis. It is astonishing that women can make themselves coherent to many men. Anyway, many men have so much flotsam and jetsom sloshing in their own heads as to render preferences moot.

      The issue is that there are modes of thinking which most are unaware of. They do not even apprehend let alone comprehend them. They prefer 'claims' to superiority.

      Engineers. Yes, logical types: numerical and spatial types. But they recognise a fine design with a sense of pleasure. That is emotion. They 'know' when something is 'right' because right and f*ck up is a value judgement. Value. A preference. A 'liking'. An emotional orientation. Get it right and he/ she will be elated !

    2. They prefer 'claims' to superiority.

      I've never made claims to superiority. Just difference. Emotion-based thinking is superior in some circumstances, inferior in others. Just as verbal intelligence is more useful in some situations while spatial intelligence is better in other situations. Rigidly logical thinking can in some situations be disastrous.

      God (or evolution depending on your belief system) has set things up so that men and women have different strengths. Difference does not imply superiority/inferiority. Dolphins are not superior to monkeys but monkeys won't last long in the ocean and dolphins won't last long in the jungle.

      There is as much variation of thinking style between members of the same sex as between members of opposites.

      You seem to be making the error of thinking that because there are individual variations within a group this means that there are no significant differences between groups. My sister-in-law is taller than I am. Does that mean that women are on average just as tall as men? Of course not. Are men better than women because they're taller? Of course not.

      Feminists and liberals are the people who see sex differences as an issue of superiority/inferiority. Ironically they're the ones who see men as superior because they're the ones encouraging women to be like men.

      Engineers. Yes, logical types: numerical and spatial types. But they recognise a fine design with a sense of pleasure. That is emotion. They 'know' when something is 'right' because right and f*ck up is a value judgement.

      F*ck up is a bit more than a value judgement when your aircraft falls out of the sky because the aeronautical engineer trusted his emotions rather than his equations! ;-)

    3. Calm down and have a pint. I never said you 'claimed superiority'. Some do.

      ""You seem to be making the error of thinking that because there are individual variations within a group this means that there are no significant differences between groups. "" Crikey you are trying to outdo Cathy Newman. I am not at all in error here. I did not say anything about 'no significant differences'. I have sat and anlysed so many people in my time, and have a far greater experience of differences and different styles. Sure there are outliers, extremes. But they are rare, almost by definition and lead us into the world of autism.

      It is not about one style being better. Appropriate to the task perhaps but not exclusively.

      One small? matter not touched on, which I will here, is April's stream of words. The question is not asked whether the words are useful, accurate etc. Coherent even. Whose words are they? Words heard from someone else? A repetition of conversation? Are they original thoughts (very rare) or mantras taken from the wide variety of comms sources we use?

      And the 'feelings' issue. Many 'claims' are made about feelings but in my experience most people (read, women) have a very poor idea of what they feel (hardly surprising as feelings are very slippery and slide into one another all too easily) and the words they use to delineate are more often than not quite off the mark. Hense the 'advice' to stop the words, examine them, put them to the test, applies just as much to them as any.

      That advive stands for the mathematical and logically inclined. The figures need to be checked and rechecked. Calculation can be wrong. Analyse. Logic is yet another issue. How many men have actually studied logic. So often we find that was passes for logic is not logical at all but a persuasive informal fallacy in disguise.

      I started the post saying that we prefer certainty. It ain't certain until all avenues have been explored, and even then.....

    4. Calm down and have a pint. I never said you 'claimed superiority'. Some do.

      There are indeed people who do this and it's one of the things that really worries me. It worries me especially that so many people on the right, and especially the alt-right, seem to view differences between people as being all about superiority/inferiority. It's one of the reasons that I'm very suspicious of the HBD crowd and their IQ fetishism.

      So often we find that was passes for logic is not logical at all but a persuasive informal fallacy in disguise.

      And most of us like to think that other people base their opinions on feelings and prejudices whilst our own opinions are based on reason and fact. That's another common trap that people on the political right are inclined to fall into.

  4. I don't feel right about this post! It's not fair! It should be re-written! ;)

    I can agree that there are many men who allow emotions to override reason and logic. Especially in the younger generation. I can remember one in particular who was constantly complaining about how he was living in poverty for over a decade or so. "Doing the same thing and expecting different results" kindof thing. He was highly intelligent I could tell.... But not unique from my experience with so many young men nowadays unfortunately.

    I think many of the younger males are doing what they have been taught to do post feminism. Which is to act on feelings instead of coming up with solutions to problems in their lives. It just doesn't seem to work as well with men. Not in most cases anyways. The end result is a perverted version of manhood that can't seem to get things done. I noticed a lot of mental illness in young men nowadays. Men seem to feel better about things when they can take an action oriented activity to resolve their problems. Talking and whining about seems to spiral most of them further into depression. I have noticed a lot of younger males struggle with mental illness.

    Women generally feel better when we talk about our problems, it helps us move past them quicker and easier. My husband would prefer to go take a martial arts class or do some kindof aggressive activity to help him get past something.

    Alot of young women are trying to suppress our nurturing and intuitive instincts. That is what so many in the younger generation have been taught. We get the same perverted end result of womanhood. Mentally ill women who can't function in society.

    Infants cannot process logical cues, they process emotional cues. For the first 5 or so years anyway. It's why it's so important for women to have a certain amount of emotional intelligence and nurturing capacity. It is imperiative for our offspring.

    We don't make nature, we learn to accept it, and adapt to it.

    Good post dear friend:)

    1. I noticed a lot of mental illness in young men nowadays. Men seem to feel better about things when they can take an action oriented activity to resolve their problems. Talking and whining about seems to spiral most of them further into depression.

      Agreed. And we live in a society in which men are told that they should (indeed must) talk about their feelings endlessly.

      My husband would prefer to go take a martial arts class or do some kind aggressive activity to help him get past something.

      Yep. My own experience as a man is that the best way to deal with such things is to do something else. Anything else. Anything that keeps my mind off the problem. Anything that keeps me from brooding about it. Anything is better than talking about it! In many cases the problem just resolves itself, or a solution presents itself, or I just learn to accept it and move on.

      Whereas N (I guess you could call her my Significant Other although It's Complicated) deals with problems by talking and talking and talking about them.

    2. Brooding can become quite a problem. Depression, anxiety, catastophising all have brooding as a component. And that brings us to another isse which is 'levels' of thinking. There is 'stuff' going on constantly, deep down, that we are mostly unaware of. Most often words, phrases, voices. Most often highly negative, critical, urgent. We can hear it when we quieten ourselves. It is there even though we are thinking something else.

      Another point is that thinking in words is probably the most common mode in males as well as females. Most literature is (was) from men. Most philosophy - extreme thinking - is by men, in words. Precise definition, arrived at by deep and precise thought, is essential in philosophy.

    3. Another point is that thinking in words is probably the most common mode in males as well as females.

      We can never know exactly how others think. We just naturally assume they follow the same processes that we do. But maybe they don't.

      I've always had an odd knack for mental arithmetic. I seem to be able to do mental arithmetic more easily and more quickly than most people and I do see the numbers forming patterns in my head. On the other hand I have almost zero spatial ability. N is always amazed by my complete uselessness when it comes to trying to read a map. When I've done IQ tests they've always demonstrated an extreme skew towards verbal IQ.

      But I honestly have no idea whether the way I think is very uncommon or incredibly common.

      It's the same with emotions. We can never be quite sure whether other people have the same emotional landscape that we have.

    4. I have had the privilege of poking around in people's heads for several decades and have quite a good experience of how people think.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..