Subject: Re: is lisp a general purpose lang? From: Erik Naggum <email@example.com> Date: Tue, 02 Apr 2002 18:38:45 GMT Newsgroups: comp.lang.lisp Message-ID: <firstname.lastname@example.org> * email@example.com (MSCHAEF.COM) | How did you get to this speed? I can read such books at approx 30-40 | seconds/page, but any faster and I start to have issues with | comprehension. Are there any standard approaches to increasing reading | speed? There are many ways to learn to read (much) faster, but the first step is generally to acquire the motor skills and to learn to move your eyes and refocus at a very quick and steady pace. This takes quite some time, because, naturally, comprehension will suffer during this training, but the key is to focus on the speed and let comprehension follow, not to believe that missing something is so fundamental that you have to go back and re-read it or slow down. Then, learn to see a larger area of the line -- most people read in an area on the paper only a quarter of an inch wide, but you can expand this to at least one and a half inch, sometimes two. Reading glasses that correct for astigmatism is necessary to make this work well, as even a slight case of astigmatism may produce blurry vision and cause a strain to recognize words unless they are dead center in your focus area. It follows that you can read at a greater distance from the screen/paper and using smaller fonts the better your corrective lenses are. This effect should not be underestimated. Also, approach reading as you approach other sensory input: increase your observational skills by learning to soak up as much as possible as it flows by. Nature has no rewiding button -- treat reading the same way. This is generally a question of concentration and reading with a definite purpose to understand or visualize what is presented to you. In this sense, reading faster is just a case of increasing your internal clock speed. Most people can do this with no problem, but few people make a habit of it, because it does require more mental energy to be spent both in increasing and maintaining concentration. I believe it is a question of whether you can also "listen" to a text instead of wanting to make sense of it or make it fit your preconceptions of what it "should" say. Some people seem to approach the world with a prescriptive attitude -- or forcing the world they deal with to conform to their current thinking -- while others never stop observing it in order to form their current thinking. Most of the former are unable to understand that the latter type even exists because they are guided by their preconceptions, not their observations. In any case, those who are able to observe the flow of information thet they are subjected to, can also learn to read fast mechanically and decide to focus more or less on what they read, somewhat like having CNN or some news-only radio station run in the background. The sensory input to which we are naturally prepared to be subjected is truly vast, and so much more than reading a page or a screen offers, yet the amount of information that becomes the subject of conscious awareness if quite limited -- unless one concentrates on absorbing first and selecting afterwards. Strangely, many who start to read faster observe that they get much better reading comprehension from reading mechanically faster and "letting go" of their need to comprehend fully at all times, because they allow more of the comprehension to proceed less linearly. This also relaes to how we deal with speed. One of the major reasons that older people drive more slowly than younger people is that their processing speed is so much slower that sensory overload incurs below 40 mph, while a younger person who has been trained to speed up his cognition can easily drive more safely at 100 mph. Things like talking to another person in the car, listening to the radio (with varying focus) or talking on a cellular phone (handsfree or not does not make any difference) eats away at the concentration and require reduced speed. The same goes for reading, although the ability to block out annoyances has no safety risk associated with them. In a nutshell, this is all about concentration. /// -- In a fight against something, the fight has value, victory has none. In a fight for something, the fight is a loss, victory merely relief.