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Rumination

From Academic Kids

Rumination may mean a calm lengthy intent consideration, but can have several meanings, which need to be adressed separately

One extract from a thesis on Rumination:


"What is rumination? Not quite what the depths of your mind believe it to be, I can guarantee you that. Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases, which we will refer to as I have lost my dictionary, places 'rumination' among this list of similar words:

Thought, reflection, consideration, meditation, study, speculation, deliberation, pondering, headwork, contemplation.

Now, let's take a moment here to dissect this, all in search of a compounded, more precise meaning.'Thought', we will start with; obviously most activities of abstract activity come under such a word, which leaves us with only an umbrella term at best. 'Reflection' and things get slightly more interesting. That word, when applied to another thesaurus, begins to achingly suggest 'thought upon the past', almost getting as sentimental as saying 'reminiscing', like a grandmother, nostalgically remembering a time before Cliff Richard. And whilst thought on past experiences is not only essential to rumination but all thought, this term must also only become a small part of our jigsaw puzzle, narrowing down the field, as it were.

'Consideration' and we have a centerpiece, not just the skyline, for our puzzle. If somebody tells you to 'consider' something, they are implying a specific concentration of ones thinking-power to be directed to 'hack away' or dwell upon a particular aspect of something. But when one ruminates, they must apply this rigorous energy to as many aspects as can be possible. As a side note, I would like to apologize for the use of the word 'energy' to describe something other than fuel or electricity; I'm not and have never been associated with a Fung-Shui expert.

'Meditation'. Meditation implies, does it not, something gentler than 'consideration' and concentration. To lightly breath on the feather of thought, one would think. Those that meditate must leave all sense of self behind, and allow ones mind to free itself, and that is something that can be reached by rumination, but is merely a by-product of a heavy session of rumination, rather than the goal. Meditation, in so far as its religious roots testify, must mostly be left behind to dwell peacefully on the roadside. Rumination is not meditation, because it requires a great effort whereby one pieces together an intricate web, not the search for inner-peace.

'Study'. Ar. Now. I see. Well. Study- you think of a man in a deerstalker hat, perhaps, pouring over ambiguously natured books and manuscripts, or perhaps a student (though why you would is beyond me) in a library, water-eyed and desperate. Study; reading references, learning, adding to knowledge, increasing knowledge of something. No. Not rumination, not our puppy. Of course learning is of the utmost importance, and rumination cannot be done without having already learnt, but to ruminate assumes this previous action. You don't expect to crap without eating, but eating isn't crapping: this essentially sums the whole damn thing up. And it fits very nicely, as ruminating is very much like a major bowel movement. You have acquired the information and now it must be processed. You can expect some straining, but you can be sure of a result if done correctly.

And so our puzzle is half complete. We have discarded some pieces, placed others more highly than some, and on the whole made a bit of a vague mess of it all. But it is all in the name of a specific understanding of that one, all-important word. And so we turn to our next word, which is like a gallant and defiant pawn, which has crept down the left side and is bothering our Queen.

'Speculation' is the opposite of 'Reflection'. Do you remember 'Reflection'? We, or at least the boorish I, had come to the conclusion that it was thought applied to the past, a nostalgic look at a previous matter. 'Speculation' deals with the future, and therefore uses the two-part weapon, best used when dealing with the future. By using 'Reflection' on the past as the first half, and 'deduction' of the future as the second half, one is able it 'second-guess' the fates. For example: my niece sends me a letter, from her location at a University, asking for some of my monies. I reflect on the fact that my last donation went on a lump of marijuana the size of my fist and deduce the fact that she may do it again, and politely decline. I have beaten the fates to it with my two-pronged attack, by speculating on the matter. Speculation is a deadly part of rumination, and one of its most formidable weapons.

'Deliberation', and I go back to my bowel movement analogy; rumination is very much a careful, calm, patient process, with much 'deliberation'. Forced to use Chambers Dictionary, one would find something very much like this.

Rumination: to 'chew the cud', to mull things over, to meditate on a matter, a slow deliberate process. Chambers, the arse that it is, is quite annoying here. We have already agreed that 'meditation' is quite a wrong way of describing our subject word, but the dictionary's staff are poor old tormented souls and can therefore be forgiven somewhat, whilst not actually encouraged. However, in their vulgar way, they do add something to our jigsaw with 'mull things over' and their dropping of the word 'deliberation'. 'Mull things over', indeed; this implies, does it not, a cow slowly chewing away on a problem and spit it back it, chewed up and solved- very good indeed. 'Deliberation' is that slow, thoughtful, patient, nicely concentrated process.

'Pondering' and 'headwork' are both as useless and as vague as each other. Of course its 'headwork', you fool. Though 'pondering', come to think of it, does hint toward that same, benign, slow use of mind that 'deliberation' has already given us. All of these previous words, however, have been little but a prelude to our jackpot, our 'bingo', if you are going to be vulgar about it. Hold on to your hats, here it comes.

'Contemplation'. It shouldn't be trapped in those quote marks, actually. Contemplation. Chew the cud, benignly be pateint in thought, delberate, think, have thought, amabilité, apply your ponderings to, digest. Out of all the previous words, we have hit upon our most prominent and closest to our Mother Word. It adds somewhat to the drama that it comes last in the list, does it not . All of our words, like Hánsel and Gretel's trail of bread crumbs, have given us now much less vague picture. The jigsaw, which will only ever be complete in a true ruminator's mind, is less blurred, more complete : we can see Queen Victoria, skyline and all, and lo : she is ruminating.

Thought, reflection, consideration, meditation, study, speculation, deliberation, pondering, headwork, contemplation.

Have this with you throughout this essay. Together, they are not words; they are Something Other. In all my years of rumination, however, I have never had to 'learn', as it where, about the actual process of rumination: rumination is the engine, the base, and the structure. The learning before hand and the consequences of the results, are not anything to do with it, really. Describing rumination is like trying to describe the colour blue or the sound of a tree falling in the woods if there is no one there to hear it. It may be different to everyone, but how the hell am I to know? All I know is that, if used correctly, it can be quite wondrous."

--Jamesmoran 11:18, 7 Nov 2004 (UTC)jjm

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