# How many thoughts can we think in a lifetime?

sonhouse
Posers and Puzzles 09 Nov '07 17:07
1. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
09 Nov '07 17:07
By 'a thought' I mean a recognisable concept, like 'I love the summer sky' considered as a thought. So how many of these thoughts do we get in a lifetime, say a lifetime is 100 years, a bit high but a nice round number, also assuming said mind is not senile at the end or suffering from dimentia.
2. 09 Nov '07 17:32
Originally posted by sonhouse
By 'a thought' I mean a recognisable concept, like 'I love the summer sky' considered as a thought. So how many of these thoughts do we get in a lifetime, say a lifetime is 100 years, a bit high but a nice round number, also assuming said mind is not senile at the end or suffering from dimentia.
Interesting thought, I might say.

Thoughts = thoughts + 1
3. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
09 Nov '07 18:10
Originally posted by FabianFnas
Interesting thought, I might say.

Thoughts = thoughts + 1
I was thinking about geniuses like Isaac Asimov, who wrote over 400 books. Now in a book of say 140,000 words and say, just a guess,
14,000 sentences, you could say then that a book could have 14,000 separate thoughts in it. Of course while working on such a project, you can't just put down 14,000 thoughts on paper without thinking many other thoughts directly about the work and then thinking thoughts about your daily life, like 'I'm hungry' or 'lets make love'. So My guess is it takes at least 5 separate thoughts to generate one thought form on paper so the 14,000 thoughts in a book would require some 70,000 separate thoughts to finish the project. So if we assume that number per book, times 400, then old Isaac generated close to 30 million thoughts to complete those projects. I am assuming that would be at the upper end of human ability, perhaps, considering how prolific Asimov really was in his literary life. BTW, those 400 books do not include thousands of letters to people and articles on many many subjects to hundreds of magazines and newspapers, as well as his work on his own Science Fiction magazine he founded, Asimov Science Fiction magazine. So I would have to double that number and say he thought at least 60 million thoughts before he died. A prolific thinker indeed. Compare that to the mental life of your average street urchin living in a box on a warm hole in London, say.
4. joe shmo
Strange Egg
09 Nov '07 18:22
Originally posted by sonhouse
I was thinking about geniuses like Isaac Asimov, who wrote over 400 books. Now in a book of say 140,000 words and say, just a guess,
14,000 sentences, you could say then that a book could have 14,000 separate thoughts in it. Of course while working on such a project, you can't just put down 14,000 thoughts on paper without thinking many other thoughts dire ...[text shortened]... e mental life of your average street urchin living in a box on a warm hole in London, say.
They are probably the same. Think If you had nothing more pressing to do than sit and ponder all day.
5. wolfgang59
09 Nov '07 18:25
Originally posted by sonhouse
By 'a thought' I mean a recognisable concept, like 'I love the summer sky' considered as a thought. So how many of these thoughts do we get in a lifetime, say a lifetime is 100 years, a bit high but a nice round number, also assuming said mind is not senile at the end or suffering from dimentia.
Today I am up to 11.
6. 09 Nov '07 19:43
Originally posted by sonhouse
By 'a thought' I mean a recognisable concept, like 'I love the summer sky' considered as a thought. So how many of these thoughts do we get in a lifetime, say a lifetime is 100 years, a bit high but a nice round number, also assuming said mind is not senile at the end or suffering from dimentia.
are you aware of the amount of information just a NORMAL human brain processes in a microsecond?
changes in light intensities must be counted a a thought by your definition (example, it is dark) canges in temperature, changes in sound. and the processing of the sounds into recognizable concepts (example: hearing a dog bark, the brain myst process that pitch, intensity, etc. into a 'dog'd bark'. our brain processes other complex emotions, all in a matter of microseconds. i'd guess (something) x 10 ^ 1,000
7. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
09 Nov '07 20:521 edit
Originally posted by rubberjaw30
are you aware of the amount of information just a NORMAL human brain processes in a microsecond?
changes in light intensities must be counted a a thought by your definition (example, it is dark) canges in temperature, changes in sound. and the processing of the sounds into recognizable concepts (example: hearing a dog bark, the brain myst process that p other complex emotions, all in a matter of microseconds. i'd guess (something) x 10 ^ 1,000
Of course there are millions of synapse responses and such going on all the time but that is like asking a computer to figure out how many things are going on that makes a computation, how many bits are flying.
I am talking about conscious thoughts, "That is a fine dress", not how many responses to changes in background sounds or temperature or pressures on your foot when you walk, those are not thoughts.
Any bug has that kind of thing going on inside its simple brain.
8. wolfgang59
09 Nov '07 22:31
up to 14 now
9. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
10 Nov '07 03:13
Originally posted by wolfgang59
up to 14 now
Well if you are counting the original ones, you are doing better than most.
10. 10 Nov '07 08:03
Originally posted by sonhouse
I was thinking about geniuses like Isaac Asimov, who wrote over 400 books. Now in a book of say 140,000 words and say, just a guess,
14,000 sentences, you could say then that a book could have 14,000 separate thoughts in it.
That means that when I read this book of Asimov then I get 14,000 separate thoughts in my brain too? His thoughts, but still thoughts.
11. sonhouse
Fast and Curious
10 Nov '07 15:44
Originally posted by FabianFnas
That means that when I read this book of Asimov then I get 14,000 separate thoughts in my brain too? His thoughts, but still thoughts.
Yep, that would be on the input side of the equations but you would be certainly filling your brain with thoughts. I was thinking about the output side of the equation, how many thoughts you could have of an original nature.