Information -your brain's processing system
What happens in your brain when you taste a ripe pear, smell flowers, listen to music, watch a stream, touch a loved one, or simply reminisce?
Each bit of information entering your brain - every sensation, memory or thought (incorporating every word, number, code, food, fragrance, line, colour, image, beat, note and texture) can be represented as a central sphere from which radiate tens, hundreds, thousands, millions of hooks (see opposite).
Each hook represents an association, and each association has its own infinite array of links and connections. The number of associations you have already 'used' may be thought of as your memory, your database, or your library. As you read these words you may rest assured that contained within the mind that reads them is a data-processing system that dwarfs the combined analytical capacities and storage facilities of the world's most advanced computers (see page 56).
Graphic representation of a single 'unit ' of information in the brain (see pages 53-4).
Natural Architecture Plate 6
As a result of using this many-hooked — multi-ordinate — information-processing and storage system, your brain already contains maps of information that would have the world's great cartographers gasping in disbelief, could they but see them.
Your brain's thinking pattern may thus be seen as a gigantic, Branching Association Machine (BAM!) - a super bio-computer with lines of thought radiating from a virtually infinite number of data nodes. This structure reflects the neuronal networks that make up the physical architecture of your brain.
A quick calculation will reveal that your already existing database of items of information, and the associations radiating from them, consists of multiple quadrillions of data associations.
f Some people use this vast database as an excuse to stop learning, explaining that their brains are nearly 'full up', and that for this reason they are not going to learn anything new because they need to save the precious, remaining space for the 'really important stuff'. But there is no cause for concern because we now know, through the work of Dr Mark Rosenweig in Paris, that even if your brain were fed 10 items of data (each item being a simple word or image) every second for 100 years, it would still have used less than one-tenth of its storage capacity.
This astounding storage capacity is made possible by the almost unbelievable sophistication of the intricate pathways that constitute our metabolic processes. Even a single sub-section of one metabolic pathway is amazingly complex (see page 29). And as Professor Anokhin has emphasised, even this phenomenal storage capacity is dwarfed by the brain's ability to make patterns using the data it already possesses (also see page 134).
However many items of data you have already stored, and however many associations you have already made, your potential to radiate new patterns and combinations of ideas exceeds it by multiple quadrillions!
The more you learn/gather new data in an integrated, radiating, organised manner, the easier it is to learn more.
From this gigantic information processing ability and learning capacity derives the concept of Radiant Thinking of which the Mind Map is a manifestation.
Radiant Thinking (from 'to radiate', meaning 'to spread or move in directions, or from a given centre') refers to associative thought processes that proceed from or connect to a central point. The other meanings of 'radiant' are also relevant: 'shining brightly', 'the look of bright eyes beaming with joy and hope' and 'the focal point of a meteoric shower' - similar to the 'burst of thought'.
How do we gain access to this exciting new way of thinking? With the Mind Map, which is the external expression of Radiant Thinking. A Mind Map always radiates from a central image. Every word and image becomes in itself a subcentre of association, the whole proceeding in a potentially infinite chain of branching patterns away from or towards the common centre. Although the Mind Map is drawn on a two-dimensional page it represents a multi-dimensional reality, encompassing space, time and colour.
Before learning how to apply this powerful tool, it is essential to understand the operational principles of the brain that generates it. It is also essential to understand that Radiant Thinking is the natural and virtually automatic way in which all human brains have always functioned. In the evolutionary development of our thinking processes, we have used single beams of the radiation, rather than the full multi-dimensional powerhouse.
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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.