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Thread: Mind-Altering Fields of Study.

  1. #1
    Anti-Classic Horatio's Avatar
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    Mind-Altering Fields of Study.

    Which fields of study have altered/enhanced your perception of the world? (They need not have been professional or otherwisely related to your present occupation.)

    I recently took it upon myself to finally acquire a basic understanding of chemistry, which was a blind spot of mine for most of my life, and I'm now kicking myself for not having done so earlier. It has added a layer of deeper understanding to even the most mundane and trivial of tasks. I've always found physics comforting insofar as it largely provides plausible explanations for why things work the way they do, and chemistry addresses the same primordial need.

    A few months back I had a similar experience when I picked up drawing again, and it suddenly clicked how to see the world in terms of lines, cross-hatch patterns, colours and textures. The primary practical use of that is the mental challenge/stimulation of finding beauty in the blandest of environments.

    When I was younger, I was quite smitten with Berkeley, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, for their works evoked a similar sense of opening a previously locked mental door.

    Curious to hear about other people's areas of interest, and what effect they have had on you.
    Last edited by Horatio; 07-20-2017 at 11:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Member Mxx's Avatar
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    My go-to feast for the mind has always been in studies in human nature: psychology, sociology, behavioral economics, neuro-psychiatry, philosophy (the branch than then split into psychology, but uses literary devices instead of science to explain theories), anthropology, mythology, etc.

    The study of ethology then just opened a whole world of interconnectedness that continues to fascinate me. To witness similar behaviors between humans and other species, or to understand behaviors that are unique to certain animals truly excites me.

    Sometimes I regret not having taken this up as a field of formal study and career, but with the actual studies and career paths I've chosen, I realize how much enthusiasm for something is destroyed in pursuit of formal credentials/it being your actual job.
    Last edited by Mxx; 07-20-2017 at 12:33 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sinny's Avatar
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    UFOlogy, parapolitics, sociology, psychology, parapsychology, revisionist history etc etc.

    I don't know who I would be today - were it not for my UFO encounters, but I doubt I would be the same person.

    Question everything -



    Renounce all your thoughts
    Repent and let your mind be re-taught
    You'll find what you sought...was based on the deception you bought
    A perception of naught
    Where the majority remains caught


    ~ Lauryn Hill


  4. #4
    Member Thoth's Avatar
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    I would mirror sociology, psychology, anthropology; add art, art history, history (mostly ancient) and mythology where I have studied both traditional "Western" and the typically less accessible "Eastern" branches.

    I have a curious relationship with philosophy in that I purposely chose to stop after the Greek classics, Descartes and Marx. My reasoning has been while I do not believe I am formulating entirely innovated ideas, I do think as individuals we must endeavor not to let any one philosophy strictly align our perceptions. All too often, when I read "I like/have been influenced by X" my instinctive internal reaction is "How much? How much is you and how much is X?" It can be dangerous ignorance, but I attempt to balance that ignorance with an intellectual openness to foreign concepts whenever they are encountered. I will do light reading on many philosophers after being presented with their ideas, but I always keep my perspective at arms length so as not to fall to rote paradigms.

    Logic has probably been the most influential intellectual pursuit I have encountered both personally and academically. I will admit I first discovered it fleeing from higher math in college, in which I am terrible. Logic, as a course at the time, was cast as the shelter for dummies, and yet I learned more through that course than any other. It has influenced every aspect of my thought and life.

    I am that guy who might get panned for being a fan of physical sciences, but having little training in them, largely due to my math deficits and stereotypical NF lack of mental discipline. I took "descriptive" astronomy a few times out of sheer enjoyment of learning as well as being the idiot's guide to astrophysics without having to do the complex math.

  5. #5
    TJ TeresaJ's Avatar
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    For me it was biochemistry. Understanding how biology works at the level of enzymes and epigenetic molecules. Mind: blown. And it helps to explain the existence and behavior of all known life, just in a general sense of "how this works," chemical mechanics. I can't imagine going back to the low level of understanding I had before.

    Also MBTI (and less so enneagram) definitely changed the way that I view people. It was especially useful as I made the discovery in my mid-teens, in the midst of trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with going on with most people and how best to interact with them so that I could be left to my own interests unmolested.

    I could never really read philosophy, other than some neitche. I don't know if I'm just not smart enough or I lack some key prerequisites or what, but it's like trying to understand a written description of a complex diagram, and I just get completely lost.

    Other than that, grammar and etymology and rules of logic/rhetoric. And algebra. Those all have been fairly foundational.

  6. #6
    Speller AntisocialENTP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio View Post
    Which fields of study have altered/enhanced your perception of the world? (They need not have been professional or otherwisely related to your present occupation.)

    I recently took it upon myself to finally acquire a basic understanding of chemistry, which was a blind spot of mine for most of my life, and I'm now kicking myself for not having done so earlier. It has added a layer of deeper understanding to even the most mundane and trivial of tasks. I've always found physics comforting insofar as it largely provides plausible explanations for why things work the way they do, and chemistry addresses the same primordial need.

    A few months back I had a similar experience when I picked up drawing again, and it suddenly clicked how to see the world in terms of lines, cross-hatch patterns, colours and textures. The primary practical use of that is the mental challenge/stimulation of finding beauty in the blandest of environments.

    When I was younger, I was quite smitten with Berkeley, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, for their works evoked a similar sense of opening a previously locked mental door.

    Curious to hear about other people's areas of interest, and what effect they have had on you.
    The easy answers would be Philosophy and Theology but so has History, Science, Math, Psychology, Criminology, Statistics, Economics.

  7. #7
    Pull the strings! Architect's Avatar
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    Physics, it took a PhD program to learn enough to leave the field (didn't want to specialize) It taught me the boundaries of knowledge, and of the universe and how it works. Gave me a highly realistic view of reality, which led to me abandoning the field in search of mystery.

    Which led to information science (IT, software engineering, CS, what have you). Ultimately everything we are and care about is an information technology. This led to my obsession and interest in MBTI and Jung's map of the soul. This field never fails to give, the recent pattern recognition algorithms (DNN's) being the latest example (e.g. AlphaGo)

  8. #8
    Your Huckleberry lethe's Avatar
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    I've got to agree with TeresaJ about biochemistry and microbiology! So incredibly satisfying to see the bridge between chemistry and biology, to have all the pieces click in a functional honestly beautiful way without ruining any of the wonder and complexity. So much understood and so much more opened up. Plus aiding later interests.

    Calculus super excited me, though I'm not sure I can explain why other than it gave me the same satisfaction that first learning algebra did.

    Some early child development classes and things on elementary education in basic maths did a lot to help me understand how various minds work which really improved my acceptance of others and my communication (and self awareness), much like mbti/personality theory did for those here.

    I'll also say learning about dream symbolism and theory allowed me to connect to others an in a shared cultural level and accept how much I'm influenced, as well as a useful tool to observe my own hidden emotional concerns.
    Don't remember changing this.

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