THE SECRET OF CLOSED MINDS?
In the last few days I have been playing with the idea of memory.
Associative memory is an old idea, and it has been used in attempts to give useful memory to AI. In fact, a quick Google on the term will find a huge number of computer science-related hits. But the basic idea is that of free association. If I say "dog," you associate the word with "hairy," "barks," "teeth," "pants," "drools," and "sniffs butts" (among other things). The list of associations amounts to a definition of "dog."
In my own mind, I think of an idea as a sort of blobject with hooks:
I think of my brain as containing a rack from which a few ideas can be hung. Then other ideas are hung from them.
The more ideas I have in my mind, the more hooks are available for hanging more ideas and the easier it is to learn new things.
But some people don't seem to be able to learn new things better as they get older. It is as if the hooks on their ideas are tangled, or as if the ideas are installed upside down, which might match up with circular thinking. (God created life; the existence of life proves the existence of God; do you know anyone who thinks that way?).
What I like about this graphic metaphor for memory is that it just might explain the difference between open minds and closed minds in a useful way. What do you think?