Brain vs. Mind
Mind vs. Soul
Also, goals can be better met by making them into smaller "subgoals." This often happens automatically, and is a great impetus for learning. For example, a child who wants to reach for a toy on a counter--top will first have to consider how to stand on its toes, then reach, then grab, then draw the toy to itself without dropping it.
Children often use a type of special trial-and-error learning (similar to the "scientific method" used by some grown-ups) in which one behavior at a time is engaged in and considered to learn more about the environment as a whole. For example, a child may reach out and touch a hot kettle and feel pain. Knowledge acquired: kettle is hot, don´t touch. This can be generalized to other types of objects which "seem similar," even before there is abstract knowledge of the causes of heating and thus pain.
One unique and important aspect of the human mind is the ability to perform "thought experiments," using mental models of phenomena, which is much quicker and easier, if not always as accurate, as performing real-world experiments, which is of course often impossible. We can be performing such experiments even in our sleep, trying to link together causes and effects, problems and solutions like pieces in a jig-saw puzzle. When a good fit seems to have been achieved, we become aware of a "great idea" we "just got."
We may wonder why we didn´t think of it before, but it´s probably because we were thinking with and around the idea until we felt sure enough it was a good answer.
If we had to rely only on these techniques, however, none of us would survive. Our ways of living are based on thousands of years of accumulated human learning, passed on as culture by our parents and elders. In culture, as in each one of our minds, the techniques and ideas that are preserved are those that "work," or seem to meet our needs.
The most efficient way to solve a problem is to already know how to solve it. Even if we have never encountered a certain problem before, we don´t have to start from scratch. We can apply techniques that worked for similar problems, and then make trial-and-error based changes to those techniques.
Humans, like computers, can use reasoning methods to solve problems, but there are important differences between human and computer reasoning. For a computer, one proof is enough to make an answer valid, but since reality is not so simple, people must consider multiple proofs, and then weigh the quantity and quality of proofs for a result against that of the proofs against it. In forming chains of reasons, a mathematician or computer may consider one reason enough to procede to the next, but a person in a real situation must try to find "bundles of reasons," to make an argument more secure.
There is also an inescapable emotional background to human reasoning (because unlike computer reasoning, human reasoning most be purposeful to the survival and prosperity of the being it serves). Still, especially after we leave childhood, relying on reasoning techniques to find answers becomes more and more necessary. Here are three general categories of reasoning:
If we still can´t find a problem we can ask for help or quit. Though we are taught that quitting is a "loser´s way out," there are many times when quitting a problem (or at least setting it aside so that the problem itself can be reconsidered) is the best course of action. Indeed, because children cannot immediately solve most of the problems they can formulate, the ability to leave non-urgent problems alone for a time or to forget them altogether is invaluable.
What is intelligence? We define it as the ability of a person to exploit their knowledge and ability to learn to meet their own personal goals.
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