The Ecphorizer

Musings of an Ecphoric Philosopher
Tom Horti

issue #04 (December 1981)

Ecphoric versus ratiocinative thinking

I am impressed by ratiocinative treatises such as JoAnn Malina's philosophical dissertation in the October ECPHORIZER for single-mindedness and stick-to-itiveness in dealing

I do know that -- for me at least - [the ecphoric is] more fun!

with the subject matter. It is a matter of awe for me, because my bead doesn't work that way!

Maybe my neural paths are brachiated more than most (or maybe they leak). The truth of the matter is that, as I happily follow a thought wherever it will lead me, that basic thought acquires many fellow-travelers: some contributing directly, some tangential, and some completely irrelevant, and -- like the proud father who loves all his offspring - I need to explore them all as I go. It isn't that I'm any less capable than others in following a logical train of thought, but when I turn philosopher I enter a truly ecphoric state: let the engrams rouse where they will!

[quoteright](Case in point: while writing the above paragraph, the word 'brachiated' popped into my head as being more satisfactory than 'branched.' When I went to the dictionary to check it cut, I ended up spending a delightful quality hour getting reacquainted with all the 'brachy-' words from my college zoology days before returning to this effort).

For me, such distractions do not interfere with the basic train of thought: if anything, they enrich the process. And pausing to savor the taste or shape of words is especially rewarding. 'Brachiated' turned out to be a dessert word (Oops! That in turn ecphorized engram #1981-4002, a quote from "Off-The-Wall Comments" in the October ECPHORIZER: "Food for thought's not fattening.").

In the company for which I work, there is a markedly different management philosophy between two of the major operating divisions as regards the issue and control of engineering drawings. In one case, the management philosophy dictates that the drawing stands on its own and can have multiple configurations of a part depicted on the drawing, each uniquely identified. In the other case, the philosophy is that drawings are issued only to be applied to a specific product and, therefore, minor differences in configuration are identified by subsidiary documentation and major differences require a new drawing; the drawing number is thus incomplete without the appending of information as to which end product this part will be applied.

I see the "ecphoric philosopher" analogous to the former category in using his storehouse of knowledge and experience with complete disregard as to the original context within which the engram was created, giving him a broader, more flexible base of raw material to draw from in following a philosophical path. The ratiocinator, on the other hand, will tend to search for and activate engrams he already considers pertinent, and have less tendency to explore "irrelevant" engrams in pursuit of his path.

I don't know that the ecphoric is better or worse than the ratiocinative approach. I do know that -- for me at least - it's more fun! 

Ecphoric philosopher Horti went to school in precommunist Hungary. He has spent ten years doing Little Theater producing and acting, is an expert in wholistic massage, and was a systems analyst at Lockheed.

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