task manager

... the round robin principles revisited ...

… the round robin principles revisited …

Study time is over.  Acquiring knowledge, then passing it on to 7 students during 3 intense days.

Wednesday 2 October was the last day of my teaching.  Every morning, I woke up very early to rehearse the material,  and the past 4 days were dearly needed to recover from something that felt like a jet-lag.

But something strange is going on:

Still today, my internal task manager is telling me to get up and study. Not only early morning, but different moments during the day. I also still feel the worry of ‘not having done enough’.

Apparently it takes time to debrief my brain circuits to stop the frenzy that had been going on for the past 6 weeks. In a way it compares to unlearning a short term habit.

How the mechanism of ‘interrupt‘ works, I don’t know. This is probably food for neurological research.

My task manager is using the same interrupt circuit in my brain as my instinct or my intuition. 3 completely different mechanisms, but probably using the same internal circuit to interrupt my mental activity, in order to get its attention.

It is this same task manager that is used during meditation classes in order to focus on the task of observing the mental activity that is going on.  To observe in order to become aware of the relative importance of the mental mind, and its conceptual images of the entire world, including itself. A task manager that is observing itself is using meta-cognition. But later on, the exercise of meditation might (or not) become something entirely different: awareness.

(awareness and mindfulness are often one and the same thing still part of ‘mind’ but operating on another level. Meta-cognition is part of purely mental activity)

Pictures by bvdb (whoisbert) June 2013 – @home – Canon Ixus HS230 – IMG3124

10 thoughts on “task manager

  1. The brain is an amazing thing. Waking up and quietening down different neuro-circuits is a cycle we can’t escape, though observing the process does seem to create a perceived distance from it and in this way makes it a little easier to deal with, in my own experience. What really interests and excites me is how we can wake up or quieten down different circuits using simple tools. For example we can wake up the rational centres to override an intense emotional state simply by saying “I’m feeling (insert emotion).”

  2. I have often felt that you need approximately (in terms of order of magnitude, within a factor of 2…) the same time for unlearning as for learning and practicing a habit. Thus if you worked in a specific way for 5 years it might take about 2 years to “cool off”.

    That’s why I think taking a “sabbatical of 1 year” after having worked like crazy for 20 years does not work well. But this grace period may vary a lot – as you said: stuff for the neuroscientists.

    • I don’t know whether it is this hard to unlearn, but indeed, I see that when I have to teach people with a self learned incorrect approach, that it takes a lot more time to get them on the right path.

  3. I hate that internal task manager (what I call taskmaster) because it’s always screwing things up when you change your routine, but would we do without it?

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