Schema

Here comes a train of thought!

A schema is a framework that our brain uses to organize or interpret new information or experiences. For example, we all have a schema of a dog. A dog has fur, four legs, two ears, etc. Our brains collected all of this information about dogs and categorized it. Schemas can also be a way of dealing with situations. Young children develop the action of crawling as a way of moving around, which is a schema. Schemas are often modified or accommodated. A child may think that crawling is the only way of moving around until they gain the ability to walk. Their schema of mobility is modified so that they accept both crawling and walking as ways of getting from one point to another.

I was looking at some van Gogh paintings, and one in particular stood out. I had seen the bedroom in Arles painting a hundred times, but this time it looked different. It looked like it was pulling me in, the way that the lines were angled and the vanishing point was just beyond the window. Then I realized that it was like my room. I’ve spent a lot of time lately in my room, solitary and bored. I mostly just watch Netflix and do homework, but sometimes I just sit and do nothing. This is probably because I don’t want to do anything. I’ve lost interest in a lot of things that I use to enjoy. I feel like this painting was giving me a warning. Its pulling me in, but it’s just a room. The window in the painting is open and the entire world is out there. So if the whole world is out there, why do I keep returning to the same place, and doing the same things?

I obviously have a lot of schemas in my brain, but I’m probably not aware of a lot of them. There has to be a group of schemas that is causing me to act this way. I don’t want to be bored, sad, or numb. I want to break out of this pattern, but it is proving more difficult than I thought. I recently tried painting again. It has been at least five months since the last time I’ve painted. It was nice to paint again because I was accessing the schema I use to paint. This schema includes all the information that I sub consciously use when I paint, like the color theory, proportions, brush types, etc. Accessing this information again was comforting and familiar. However, it still wasn’t as fun as it used to be. I’ve tried reading again. I reread the deathly hallows. That book is definitely one of my favorites, but I found myself distracted while reading it. I couldn’t focus on the words. I don’t know what distracted me either. I also tried watching a nature documentary on snakes. This was the one that held my attention. The schema I have for snakes holds a lot of information, from memories of working with snakes, to all the information I’ve learned about all the different sub species. I will always enjoy accessing my schemas for animals.

I’ve found a couple schemas that can help me get out of this state, but I think in order to really change, I need to understand what schemas have been modified to lead me to this situation. In the meantime, I’m going to create new schemas. There’s a website called hogwartsishere.com that allows you to take nine-week Hogwarts courses online. With everything from defense against the dark arts, to herbology, I can learn everything about the world that Hogwarts exists in. (I know that this is incredibly nerdy, and everyone who isn’t a die- hard HP fan just threw up in their mouths when they read this). I’m existentially bored! What else am I going to do? I’m also expanding and assimilating my schema for music. “Gold coast” by Grouplove, “Talk is cheap” by Chet Faker, “Float on” by Modest Mouse, and “Why’d you only call me when you’re high” by The Arctic Monkeys are just a few songs I’ve been adding to my schema, while also retaining all of my old favorites that I’ll never lose such as the red hot chili peppers, Regina Spektor, nirvana, Lana del Rey, the black keys, etc.

With all this talk about schemas, I have created a concept in my mind that I’m currently developing. What if our entire lives could be giant schemas that we could assimilate or accommodate with each other? What if we could gather each person’s life as a schema and put it into a computer or a data base that we could use to access these schemas after someone dies. It would be amazing to access van Gogh’s life\schema. What if we could replace our schemas with another’s? I don’t think any of this would be possible, but it would be really cool. I think that’s what I like about philosophy. You can ask as many questions as you want; because regardless of whether or not they are answerable, the process of thinking up these questions is very entertaining.

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