About Smarties and Wiseys
I spent my childhood in a library.
The library was just up the street from my parents house, located in Jerusalem, Israel. Every day, on the way back from school, I would spend an hour or two browsing and reading through books, then eventually going home with two new titles to read that evening. I always read extremely fast in Hebrew. I would go through a book in an hour, sometimes thirty minutes. The reading was not photographic, but auditory, as if I am reading it to myself in my mind’s ear, silently and remotely, and really, really fast. It skipped almost any concrete nuance of the story: visual descriptions of people and places, for example, was skillfully ignored. So did long, strenuous dialogues or historical background. Instead, my mind simply scanned the Hebrew words for important story elements. No other cognitive activity was taking place, as if I was painting the words with my eyesight, line by line, spending no more than a second on each row. The only words that were processed in my conscious awareness were key words relevant to the macro narrative; one might say that my mind was automatically creating and reading the cliff notes of the story.
I knew nothing of it, of course. Looking back, I can see how to some this would seen like a superhero mental ability. To me, it was just the way I read, and I did not see it as special. A real superhero power, however, and one I sometimes wish I had, is the ability to see in the mind’s eye. To be able to imagine places, objects and colors; to be able to see how words are spelled and just read it from your mind; to have an accessible mental calendar; to remember people’s faces or to see a few moves ahead on a mental chess board –
To see the face of my wife when I miss her.
We the mentally-blind are estimated to be 5, or 6% from the population. However, the fact that most people on the planet can see in their mind’s eye does not make it less of a superpower. All mental abilities seem like superpowers when we realize we don’t have them, just like all mental abilities seem normal until we realize others don’t have them. No two minds are similar, and everybody has a special combo of superpowers of their own. It is in how well we use our superpowers that makes us special.
In fact, when it comes to blueprint of the mind, we were all made in one image – much like we all share planet Earth. In fact, the mental spectrum of the mind can be described as a sphere, just like our planet. A sphere, you see, is an infinite spectrum where no one point is less unique than any other. If planet Earth is a metaphor for the mind, the infinitely unique place and time in which you were born is a metaphor for the way your infinitely unique mind works.
Over the past six years, I interviewed hundreds of people so I can learn how their mind works, and I can tell you unequivocally – every mind is extraordinary. Some people see in vivid color, and can match millions of color-tones on demand. Some people see only flat images, with no perspective. Some see only a rough outlines of objects, or silhouettes, or blurry imagery, like a Monet. Some see in color, but do not remember color, only spatial information. It goes on an on.
Sound had a whole different spectrum. Some people are 100% mentally deaf. Some, like me, can only hear a melodic narrative, let it be words or music, but always flat, distant and silent, as if all you can hear is the last in the series of distant echos. Some people, however, can hear complex harmonies, change the mental volume, and add or remove instruments or “tracks” in their minds ear. Some see color frequencies while they do that. Some hear only vocals, and some only the beat.
And then, of course, there are the other senses. Some can taste anything they ever tasted in their mind’s mouth, and can even put flavors together. Some can smell a dish and tell you what spices were used. Some, like me, remember none of that, but can remember and imagine touching every object they ever touched, including the temperature of the surface area, the angle in which it was touched, the range of movement it had and what it felt like to touch it.
Knowing your mind is knowing who you are.
Abstract patterns are my mental specialty. I think in patterns. I think about patterns. In fact, I actively use my pattern-thinking skills to better my thinking patterns, so I can think about patterns better. I can't help it. It's the way my mind works. It’s the skill that allowed me to process information from hundreds of books, mental interviews and day to day conversations over the last six years, and use this data to detect a collective pattern in the way the human mind operates.
Some people tell me they do not have the luxury to think about thinking. In reality, we do not have the luxury not to think about how we think. Knowing your mind is knowing who you are. Imagine how many mentally-blind children are suffering needlessly in history classes, or how many hyper-visual kids are struggling with reading. Mapping the metaphysical nature of the mind, that is, understanding the spectrum of our mental superpowers, can help us better understand ourselves. We can then then improve the way we educate our children, or match people with job opportunities. The realization alone that I am blind in my mind’s eye and my wife, Diane, is deaf in her mind’s ear – has dramatically improved our communication as a couple. I have a friend who, since he learned in a casual conversation with me that he is mentally deaf, suddenly realized the reason for his struggle when practicing the violin. While knowing this did not help him play better, it evaporated the guilt, annoyance and self judgement that accompanied his perceived failure. Since then, he only jams with his friends, which he can do easily since he can them play in real time.
The brain is physical, and can be studied in a lab. The mind, however, is metaphysical, and cannot be quantified or measured. Only by speaking about our minds that we can imagine the mind of the other, and only by imagining the mind of the other that we can get to know our own. Our mind is like our body; no one knows it better than we do, since we are the only ones who lived in it, and we have no idea what it is like to live in another. Knowing how fast I read is important; not for self-scoring, but to understand how I can advance myself towards self-realization.
Our mind is like our body; no one knows it better than we do, since we are the only ones who lived in it, and we have no idea what it is like to live in another.
We have only our own mind to access, but since all minds are built in the same image, understanding how our own mind works can help us understand the mind of the other. The differences in our mental senses are merely one piece of the aw-inspiring puzzle of the mind. Yet another difference in the way we digest reality is rooted in our perception of time. Time, in fact, is the hidden dimension of consciousness. We do not all perceive time the same way. In fact, we do not perceive time the same way all the time. Sometime time crawls; sometimes it speeds ahead, forcing us to chase it. But what is causing our perception of time? And if we knew the answer, could we then speed or slow time ourselves?
Practical Metaphysics answers these questions, and more, by revealing the elegant metaphysical blueprint of the human mind. Here, in this article, I would like to share a fascinating piece of the puzzle with you. It has to do with the way we use language. I’ll take you through it, step by step.
How the electromagnetic nature of the mind creates Smarties and Wiseys
Much like we were taught by many great philosophers, Practical Metaphysics shows that we process reality with two distinct, completely different minds. In theology, these minds have different names, depending on the tradition, but the most prevalent, metaphoric name is “Adam” and “Eve”:
Adam is the mind that thinks; Eve is the mind that senses.
Adam is self-conscious; Eve is conscious but not of itself.
Adam is linear; Eve is intuitive.
Adam is rational; Eve is emotional.
Adam is auditory; Eve is visual.
Adam produces voluntary thoughts; Eve produces involuntary thoughts.
Adam thinks about reality over time; Eve perceives reality in real time.
Adam is never on time, but can think about time; Eve is always on time, and always in the present moment.
Adam uses language; Eve uses the senses.
Adam is always literal; Eve is always metaphoric.
If you are to remember one distinction between Adam and Eve, make it that last one. We’ll need it in a couple of paragraphs.
Now for the twist in the plot:
One mind is facing inward, and thus can only speak only abstractly, since it cannot see anything concrete.
The other mind is facing outward, and thus speaks only concretely, since it only sees the three-dimensional reality.
Notice I did not say which one.
It depends, you see, if you are a Smarty or a Wisey:
Smarties are people whose Adam facing inward, and Eve facing outward.
Wiseys are people whose Adam is facing outward, and Eve is facing inward.
But wait. Since Adam is always literal and Eve is always metaphoric – which is the distinction I wanted you to remember – and since the mind that faces inward only speak abstractly, and the mind that faces outward only speaks concretely, than this means that Smarties and Wisey do not speak the same language:
Remember that the difference between Smarties and Wiseys is a continuous spectrum, not a black and white phenomenon. Therefore, when I give examples for the difference between Smarties and Wiseys, I usually refer to a hardcore Smartie and a hardcore Wisey, those on the edges of the spectrum. My wife and I are a good example:
So now, let us give an example. When a hardcore Smartie says “It’s cold out there”, he or she might mean:
But when a hardcore Wisey says “It’s cold out there”, he or she might mean:
Test it for yourself. It works in every language, not just in English. Just listen to how people speak, especially when they are being long winded (literal) narratives. If they speak about abstract things, like explaining how the universe works or sharing unsolicited theories about – well, everything – they are most likely Smarties. If the long winded narratives are about things that took place and how they happened, about things that must be done or about what vitamins they – or you – might be missing, they are most likely Wiseys.
The most educating – and sometimes entertaining – way to detect these difference in speech patterns is to find a pair of people who are a Smartie and a Wisey. It’s easy to find pairs of Smarties and Wiseys. They tend to marry each other. They make great teams; after all, each looks at reality differently, and together they have the complete perspective: an Adam and Eve that are thinking concretely, and an Adam and Eve that thinking abstractly.
It takes a bit of practice to detect Smarties and Wiseys by listening to how they speak. So, to make it easier on you when trying to decipher who’s a Smartie and who’s a Wisey, I shall give you some rules of thumb, but only if you promise to remember that is all they are - rules of thumb. Remember, in Metaphysics – much like in language – there are always exceptions. Like language, these differences are most apparent between Smarties and Wiseys on the edges of the human spectrum:
Smarties use the intellect to learn about the experience; Wiseys must experience to learn intellectually.
Smarties take their time, and tend to be late; Wiseys are always rushing, and like to be on time.
Smarties are good in planning things; Wiseys are good in getting things done.
Smarties run cold, with warm hands; Wiseys run hot, and have cold hands.
Smarties are anxious; Wiseys are short-fused.
Smarties talk too much when they speak abstractly; When Wiseys speak too much, it is always concrete.
This should get you started. Once you find your Smartie and your Wisey, listen to their speech. If you are a Smartie, you’ll start detecting the communication “disconnects” almost immediately. If you are a Wisey, you probably have not read thus far, since this page uses literal language to describe an abstract pattern in the way we think, and Wiseys find this information, well, boring.
Now, I’ll tell you a secret not too many people know –
This difference in language between Smarties and Wiseys is the source of most marital conflicts. For example, when the Smartie says “I’ll be there in five minutes,” the Wisey think he or she is being literal, and after five minutes starts getting annoyed (since they are always in a hurry and are short fused). What the Smartie really meant with this concrete metaphor was “I need a bit of time”; but Smarties are never literal – always vague – when they are concrete.
Feel free to send the thousands of dollars in saved therapy sessions saves to my office. Or, better yet, join the school of metaphysics and learn some more about the mind.
The question is, why is this happening?
The answer is rooted in time. Because Adam and Eve has a completely different relationship to time, and because Smarties and Wiseys have their Adam and Eve reserved, they perceive time completely differently.
In my book It’s About Time, I explain this mental phenomenon in detail. learn more