Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Can philosophers help resolve the real problems that people have in their lives?

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ala1993
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Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by ala1993 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:06 am

Throughout my undergraduate degree, I read everything I could get my hands on. I was disciplined in my studies (read the texts, made notes, brought questions to class etc.) and was proud of what I accomplished.

Now, after 2 Masters degrees, I'm studying for a DPhil and am struggling with disciplining myself. It's not that I don't want to read. It's more that every time I start reading my attention drifts away from the text and I have to read the same page 2, even 3 times. This tends to get frustrating and I stop. It's been this way for a few years (with the occasional burst of interest in one particular thinker/idea/text).

I wondered if any of you have encountered the same, or a similar, problem. If you have, what did you do about it? If you haven't but have any experience with those who have, what advice (if any) would you give?

Thanks in advance.

Gee
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by Gee » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:12 pm

ala1993 wrote:Throughout my undergraduate degree, I read everything I could get my hands on. I was disciplined in my studies (read the texts, made notes, brought questions to class etc.) and was proud of what I accomplished.

Now, after 2 Masters degrees, I'm studying for a DPhil and am struggling with disciplining myself. It's not that I don't want to read. It's more that every time I start reading my attention drifts away from the text and I have to read the same page 2, even 3 times. This tends to get frustrating and I stop. It's been this way for a few years (with the occasional burst of interest in one particular thinker/idea/text).

I wondered if any of you have encountered the same, or a similar, problem. If you have, what did you do about it? If you haven't but have any experience with those who have, what advice (if any) would you give?

Thanks in advance.
Ala1993;

Hello. I have never read any of your posts before, so it is difficult to give advice, or at least good advice, to an unknown person in unknown circumstance. But I will try.

Forty some years ago, I had a similar problem. I could not keep my attention on reading and had some other problems, one of which was exhaustion. I went to a doctor and he tested me for hypoglycemia, which is low blood sugar. The solution was simple; slow down on caffeine and sugar, and eat five well-balanced small meals instead of three average meals.

In one of my medical self-help books, a female doctor stated that when she got close to a menopausal stage of life, her brain seemed to get "teflon coated". Thoughts and information just slipped out of her brain. She recommended an estrogen supplement which can be purchased from a natural remedies type of store. Animal estrogen is prescription, but plant estrogen can be purchased without prescription; or just eat a lot of soy products -- same same. If you choose this route, take especially good care of your teeth, as plant estrogen seems to encourage plaque buildup.

I have MS, which is Multiple Sclerosis. This is supposed to be a disease or disorder of the nervous system, but that is BS. The only thing wrong with my nervous system is that my immune system keeps attacking it and scarring it up; hence, multiple sclerosis or lots of scars. It would be like calling a gun fight a blood disorder, because being shot makes a person bleed. (chuckle chuckle)

Anyway, MS can also cause the symptoms that you have. I use estrogen supplements when my memory and reading ability fail me.

So my advice is get thee to a doctor. And if the doctor pats you on the head and tells you that you are depressed, then get thee to an endocrinologist -- unless you really are depressed about something besides stupid doctors. I recommend an endocrinologist because all of the above problems relate to an unbalanced hormone problem.

G

HexHammer
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by HexHammer » Wed Jul 02, 2014 8:35 pm

I have massive ADHD, I have to read pages 2-3 times just as you, which makes everything I read down to a crawl.

Thus I can't read books but only short notes, I have to spend hours reading small bits at a time of long articles.

In the long run it has kinda benefitted me, as I have to think for myself, and not just make parrotspeeches like other academics.

Wyman
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by Wyman » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:09 am

Take a break. Get out into the real world for awhile. I go through waves. I read hard core philosophy, then literature, then humor, then science, etc.. Sometimes you just get burnt out on one subject.

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SpheresOfBalance
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:59 am

Could be nutrition related, especially if you live in the US of A, due to processed foods, their affects being cumulative. The way to go is whole, organic, non-GM vegetables and fruits, raw for the most part, but lightly cooked, al dente, is acceptable. Three herbs off the top of my head, that help with mental focus and/or memory are sage, rosemary and cinnamon, there are others as well as vitamins.

As far as MS is concerned, it is often misdiagnosed, actually being one of several other ailments including Lyme disease. There are several natural substances that can help, including CBD.

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A_Seagull
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by A_Seagull » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:48 am

ala1993 wrote:Throughout my undergraduate degree, I read everything I could get my hands on. I was disciplined in my studies (read the texts, made notes, brought questions to class etc.) and was proud of what I accomplished.

Now, after 2 Masters degrees, I'm studying for a DPhil and am struggling with disciplining myself. It's not that I don't want to read. It's more that every time I start reading my attention drifts away from the text and I have to read the same page 2, even 3 times. This tends to get frustrating and I stop. It's been this way for a few years (with the occasional burst of interest in one particular thinker/idea/text).

I wondered if any of you have encountered the same, or a similar, problem. If you have, what did you do about it? If you haven't but have any experience with those who have, what advice (if any) would you give?

Thanks in advance.
Interesting post. :) I note you say that you were disciplined and took pride in your studies, I rather think that discipline and pride eventually runs out. I agree with Wyman that you need a break.

It is also a matter of being clear on what your objective is. Do you want to do the PhD so that you can fit into the system and teach philosophy at university? Or do you want to do it because you are passionately interested in philosophy?

If it is the latter, you could further ask yourself: what is the process by which you could best further your learning? Is it necessarily by reading the works of the masters? Or would it be better served by gaining experience of the world beyond the ivory towers?

For myself, I consider myself to be a competent scientist (within the field of astronomy), yet I have never read any work in its original form by the great scientists of the past.

I also consider myself to be a more than competent philosopher, yet, again, I have never read any works in detail by any of the great philosophers. It is the ideas of philosophy that interest me, and I don't need to do a lot of reading of philosophy in order to understand them. And perhaps you don't need to either.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by The Voice of Time » Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:53 pm

I'd go with Spheres of Balance that it could be nutritional.

Fresh vegetables and fruit, fiber-rich bread, non-sugary spreads and pastes, that's what I'd recommend x)

Besides that, existential problems or more psychological problems could lead to "general confusion" (about your life, position in it and your future), a disorientation in meaning and purpose, stress-related focusing problems, an obsession with the object of the problem (a person, a thing, a role, an event, etc.), it could be that you've over time incorporated bad habits or lifestyles that have weakened your ability to pay attention (being drifting in your mind could be because of subconscious issues that lead you to take in more and more new impressions or an addiction to particular impressions, particularly excitement as with regard to gambling, sex, humour, a sense of the epic and the extreme, or a particular environment is more comfortable for you, like surfing the web and playing games, and so forth...).

The list is long, pick and choose x)

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WanderingLands
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by WanderingLands » Fri Jul 04, 2014 2:42 am

Have you ever considered meditating? It may be a great tool to clear your mind whatever distraction you have, inside your mind and whatever else outside that may lurk. That way, you can focus again on reading whatever book you may inquire about.

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The Voice of Time
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by The Voice of Time » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:23 am

WanderingLands wrote:Have you ever considered meditating? It may be a great tool to clear your mind whatever distraction you have, inside your mind and whatever else outside that may lurk. That way, you can focus again on reading whatever book you may inquire about.
It might help to meditate on the subject of his book, I would think, but meditating on other things might not help him get more effective, by simply making him spend a lot of time doing something else than efficient reading ---> the original problem.

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WanderingLands
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Re: Help/advice for once-disciplined reader

Post by WanderingLands » Fri Jul 04, 2014 3:38 am

The Voice of Time wrote: It might help to meditate on the subject of his book, I would think, but meditating on other things might not help him get more effective, by simply making him spend a lot of time doing something else than efficient reading ---> the original problem.
I never really said to meditate on other things. On the contrary, I said to meditate, as in clearing your mind so you can focus on whatever subject that he is reading, which would include his current study into philosophy. Hence, "It may be a great tool to clear your mind whatever distraction you have, inside your mind and whatever else outside that may lurk. That way, you can focus again on reading whatever book you may inquire about".

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