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flo's avatar

What do you call people who have the ability to make a connection between seemingly unrelated things?

Asked by flo (7794 points ) October 25th, 2012

A religious person in Fluther brings up his/her god to different topics. He/she sees it’s connected to everything. but that is because god supposedly created everything, so that would make sense, and it may not be the best example But what do you find is related to a lot of things? For some people it is the environment. What is your (or other people you heard of ) thing?

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19 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

You’ve got very different questions here, @flo. Your subject line asks one thing and your details ask something else. Could you please restate for clarity what it is that you’re asking?

flo's avatar

@Jeruba I was thinking people would answer both. If people just read the title, and only address that no problem and for people who can only address the detail part okay too.

Jeruba's avatar

Well, okay, @flo. I don’t really understand the questions as written, so I was thinking a restatement for clarity would help me. I don’t think “synthesizer” or “generalist” is what you were looking for here. I guess I will wait and see how others interpret it.

jerv's avatar

@Jeruba I understand it perfectly!

Not everybody assimilates information the same way. Suppose, for the sake of illustration, that a young child cuts their hand badly with a red-handled kitchen knife. The average person would likely grow up with a fear of knives, but some would grow up with a fear of red objects instead. For them, blue knives would be safe, but a red shirt would be scary.

ADD/ADHD, and most of your ASDs give you interesting data collation; there is no telling what will be associated with what, and many thoughts will sound like gibberish to anybody not on the same wavelength.

Jeruba's avatar

Wow. @flo, is @jerv‘s answer what you were getting at? I thought you were going more for something like a fanatic or zealot—like somebody who thinks everything that comes up has to do with religion in some way. But I was kind of stumped by “what do you find is related to a lot of things?”

augustlan's avatar

Are you talking about how you often bring up Toddlers & Tiaras/pedophiles/Snookie in unrelated questions, for instance? I’d call it your hobby horse. People often have issues that they are a little fanatical about, and to them, that issue seems connected to everything.

wundayatta's avatar

A synthesist. There are people who have a broad knowledge of many things. They can see a problem in one discipline and then see something that requires the same kind of solution in another discipline, even though the subject matter has nothing to do with each other. It’s a great talent if you have it.

JLeslie's avatar

I was thinking similar to @wundayatta when I first saw the questions. But the details of the questions made me think of what @augustlan wrote. Which, in the end brings me to what @Jeruba asked.

Adagio's avatar

I often find when I am in conversation with someone that something they say, or I say, sparks off a totally unrelated memory. Perhaps not the kind of answer you were looking for but then I’m not sure that I understand your question……

zenvelo's avatar

You’re talking about two different types of people: those who find a one-stop solution to everything, such as application of their religious view, and those who find the relationship between disparate events and actions, such as seeing that increased gas prices can cause more coal to be burned in China which increases global climate change which affects an animals habitat in Nova Scotia.

The first we call simple-minded, the second can be considered genius.

Earthgirl's avatar

@wundayatta answered as I would have. I think “big picture” outlook and “forest for the trees” and integrative. Holistic thinking and intuitive leaps all show a person who is able to draw connections between disparate things. I can involve analytical thinking and usually does, but it’s not reductionist or dualistic.
There are always questions behind the questions. There are usually assumptions inherent in the way something is worded. Making arbitrary divisions between subjects is convenient for categorical purposes but it leads to putting blinders on in a way that reduces awareness and narrows focus sometimes to the detriment of creative problem solving and insight into a situation. As @wundayatta says, this is a terrific skill to have in my opinion. It is sorely needed in this world of ours.
zenvolo Well put! The simple minded ones are the ones with the blinders on. The geniuses are the ones we are sorely in need of!

Shippy's avatar

Why do you care?

JLeslie's avatar

To answer better about why you go to Toddlers and Tiaras and pedophilia all the time. Scientists have done studies where they watch what part of the brain lights up when discussing topics. They found that some memories show up in a part of the brain for cognitive thinking and emotions all at once. Events that are very traumatic have strong links in the emotional centers, and when other events trigger the same emotions, it brings back old memories that were tied to that emotion. It kind of explains PTSD. Let’s say someone survives a battle, and during the battle they were terrified and had horrible feelings of despair and lack of control. Then after the fact, months or years later, they are having a conversation about something unrelated that triggers these same emotions. The brain, once one of the emotions related to the first event is triggered, regains all those horrible feelings in that moment, even can bring back images from the first event. Kind of the reverse of the original event where a horrible thing happened and then you react emotionally to the event, this time the emotion is tapped, and it brings back the memories of events that have tapped that emotion before. So, the person is re-living the feelings with just as much intensity, even picturing the event vividly sometimes.

And, unrelated, I agree with @zenvelo also.

Earthgirl's avatar

Kevin Bacon

flo's avatar

In order of sequence, @wundayatta @zenvelo @Earthgirl got my thinking.

From @zenvelo‘s post ”...and those who find the relationship between disparate events and actions, such as seeing that increased gas prices can cause more coal to be burned in China which increases global climate change which affects an animals habitat in Nova Scotia.” as I mentioned the environment as an example.

Sorry I couldn’t have been clearer.

I will be back to add some more to this but I hope more people will answer.

Jeruba's avatar

So you were looking for synthesizer or generalist. Someone who perceives interrelationships across the commonly accepted boundaries of things, who recognizes links and parallels and disparate influences because he or she sees a bigger picture. Someone who gets Indra’s net.

Kardamom's avatar

Intuitive. I have a friend that is very intutitive. Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Man, the answer was right in front of my face, and very simple, but I never would have thought of it in a million years, but Albert came up with it in a second, because it was obvious to him.” That’s because he’s highly intuitive.

zenvelo's avatar

@flo Connecting your various posts together, seeing the interrelationships, I see you are just critical of anyone who attempts to answer one of your questions.

Consider this connection: a person who sees that increased gas prices effect coal demand in Europe, which increases the need for coal ships, which raises employment in Belfast where ships are made. So the shopkeepers make more money and invest in nicer home furnishings. And thus kids in Northern Ireland are not mired in poverty. Seeing connections among disparate elements is a rare skill.

flo's avatar

@Jeruba I went to the link you posted, it would take me a lot of time to digest that but thank you.
@Kardamom Great word.
@zenvelo 1)But my questions are not seemingly unrelated (which my OP is about) They are totally related to me.

2) ‘I see you are just critical of anyone who attempts to answer one of your questions.’’
If that means I don’t pretend everyone’s answer to my Q is right no matter how erroneous their answer or parts of their answers are, I don’t know if I measure up to that, but I think I can live definitely live with that.

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