In one of my older Czech blog-posts (Fárání do myšlenkového dolu Ne-úplně Oddělené Opice, Going down into the though-mine of Not-entirely Separated Monkey), I proposed a theory, that in order to do something intellectual, you have to calm your inner monkey (see Neuralink and the Brain’s Magical Future for the theory of the inner-monkey).
You can do this various ways, one of which may be to let it listen to music, or make it occupied by playing with something.
This theory was invigorated by the book Mastery, where Robert Greene describes various people who in order to do something had to do specific things to calm their inner monkey:
One day, the writer and polymath Johann Wolfgang von Goethe made a curious discovery about the creative process of his friend, the great German writer Friedrich Schiller. Paying a visit to Schiller’s home, he was told that the writer was not in but would return shortly. Goethe decided to wait for him and sat down at Schiller’s writing desk. He began to be assailed by a strange feeling of faintness, his head slowly spinning. If he moved to the window, the sensation went away. Suddenly, he realized that some kind of weird and nauseating smell was emanating from a drawer of the desk. When he opened it he was shocked to see that it was full of rotten apples, some in an extreme state of decay. When Schiller’s wife came into the room, he asked her about the apples and the stench. She told Goethe that she herself filled the drawers with these apples on a regular basis—her husband delighted in the smell and he found he did his most creative work while inhaling the fumes.
Other artists and thinkers have devised similar peculiar aids to their creative process. When doing his deepest thinking about the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein liked to hold on to a rubber ball that he would periodically squeeze in tandem with the straining of his mind. In order to work, the writer Samuel Johnson required that he had on his desk a cat, which he would periodically stroke to make it purr, and a slice of orange. Supposedly only these various sensual cues could properly stimulate him for his work.
These examples are all related to the phenomenon of synesthesia—moments in which the stimulation of one sense provokes another. For instance, we hear a particular sound and it makes us think of a color. Studies have indicated that synesthesia is far more prevalent among artists and high-level thinkers. Some have speculated that synesthesia represents a high degree of interconnectivity in the brain, which also plays a role in intelligence. Creative people do not simply think in words, but use all of their senses, their entire bodies in the process. They find sense cues that stimulate their thoughts on many levels—whether it be the smell of something strong, or the tactile feel of a rubber ball. What this means is that they are more open to alternative ways of thinking, creating, and sensing the world. They allow themselves a broader range of sense experience. You must expand as well your notion of thinking and creativity beyond the confines of words and intellectualizations. Stimulating your brain and senses from all directions will help unlock your natural creativity and help revive your original mind.
“E. REVERT TO PRIMAL FORMS OF INTELLIGENCE.” Mastery, by Robert Greene, Profile Books, 2012, pp. 198–199.
I've decided to systematically try few items in order to evaluate how much is this technique useful for me and how much are the items usable as occupiers of my inner monkey.
Round lip balsam
This is purely accidental, but I keep in my pocket lip balsam in shape of ball. I've noticed, that when walking to lunch or home from work, I tend to squeeze and turn and bounce with it in my hands.
Fidget spinner had its fifteen minutes of fame and I've never bothered to try it. I've decided to change my mind about that and purchased cheap fidget spinner clone.
Sadly, it proved to be useless for me, as my hands have tendency to squeeze and play with things and this can't be done with rotating items.
Next thing I wanted to try is the fidget cube. But it turns out, that it is almost impossible to get one in the Czech Republic. Sure, there were cheap clones, but even those were kind of hard to get.
At the end, I've managed to buy one on local ebay clone Aukro for fair price around 8€.
Experiment fail ; I've ordered the cube to my sister's work, as I believe that the post office in the place where I live is actually testing branch for the Hell corporation©® presence on earth. And my sister stole it. And she refuses to give it up. That was .. entirely unexpected.
I've ordered a second one some time later and I've got this one:
It should be original Fidget cube, but it is obviously some crappy clone. Half of the buttons don't react and have strange feeling of cheapness about it. Also it is too small to comfortably fit into my hand.
I've used to smoke pipe, when I was working in my first job which put a lot of stress on me. Nicotine helped to reduce it and to cope with it.
I hate the concept of cigarettes. I actually consider them not just unhealthy, but also vulgar. But pipe wasn't that bad.
Since then, I've thrown out all my pipes (I had three at the end), because smoking pipe is actually hard. It often ends unpleasantly, because it doesn't work as expected (you packed the tobacco too lightly or too much, or the tobacco is too wet or too little wet or the air humility is wrong or pressure is wrong or you lighted it badly or many of such things) and it is not much healthy. I tend to smoke too often and become addicted, which I didn't like.
I buy a cigar from time to time. But although it is much easier and arguably better tasting than pipe, it is also a lot messier and leaves room really dusty. Also it costs too much.
I've noticed that what I enjoy most is not the nicotine rush, but that it occupies my inner monkey. So I've decided to try cheaper and not so much health destructive approaches.
I've tried vaping, but I didn't like the experience at all.
TODO: Buy and evaluate
This page will be updated.