Wednesday, December 6, 2006

What it means to aggregate thinking

I love thinking. They say thinking burns as many calories as when you're having sex...so you may liken thinking to sex. Sounds good, eh? But be warned. Although you can easily fake either one, you don't lose as many calories as doing it for real!

This isn't a sex column, so it's best I get straight to the point and present my thoughts on what aggregated thinking is (and what constitutes faking it). Wiktionary defines aggregation as an act of bringing together, or collecting into a mass or sum.

We programmers are more familiar with aggregation as a slight modification of composition (yeah, we're no fun). Aggregation differs from ordinary composition in that it does not imply ownership. For example, an older model of a car engine will have a carburetor (yeah, it's spelled that way). Take away the engine and the carburetor will lose its usability. That's composition. Then there's a pond with a duck swimming about. Take away the pond and the duck will still be a waddling duck, and will continue to exist as one. That's aggregation.

When used to modify the verb thinking, aggregation may denote:

  1. thinking as a process of collecting or bringing together facts, ideas, and other thoughts and try to make sense out of their fusion,
  2. thinking in order to benefit not only yourself but everyone who is in your thought stream as well,
  3. thinking in a radical way, such as being "one" with what is generally accepted but in a manner that retains one's identity and ownership over thoughts

Clearly, aggregated thinking is awesome brain calisthenics. So aggregate your thinking when you can. God did not create mindless people to go where  mindful" people go. If you lost your backbone, get one ASAP, and start thinking for real.

To fake all these, you can cheat! You can take public opinion and adopt that as your own. You can also squint your eyes and frown like you're in deep thought, trying to look busy! Whichever way, you don't burn calories, and you don't burn off any brain cells. :)

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