This Edition is going to introduce a couple of the building blocks of thinking that I think are important. It's worth saying that unlike some other writers I don't think that any of these (or ones I will describe in future) stand alone. Thinking in life is about a process that brings in the right building blocks in an order that helps us make sense of the world. But we can't talk about process without the elements, so let's begin...
When thinking about the building blocks of thinking, it's hard not to reach immediately for Aristotle. A full and accurate history would detail how his ideas about logic had been circulating for some time in different parts of the Ancient world, but he's the one whose epic works survived through to influence us the most and so for now I'm going to just run with that. If you have any good links or books about the earliest origins of logic, I'm all ears! You can reply to this email, or find me on Twitter.
We begin with Deduction (2 min read) - a way to combine things we know to create new facts to build bigger thoughts with.
The first element of deduction is some kind of statement about relationships.
- So, for example - All squares have four sides.
- Following that we have a descriptive statement e.g. This field is a square.
- Finally we can make a deduction : - This field has four sides.
Deduction is not without problems (you can read more about them in the linked piece) but it is the foundation for thinking - letting us build solidly from things we know.
The next question is what to do when we don't know? Aristotle's first answer is the method of Induction (2 min read)
Aristotle articulated induction as reasoning from the specific to the general. That is from examples to a rule. (Once we have a rule, we can then use it in deduction.) We find evidence, examples of something and create a rule, or prediction from it.
The sun rises in the east in the mornings I have checked, therefore the sun rises in the east every morning.
Finally for now (thank God, I hear you say...) his thoughts on Analogy (1 min read) are important because while it's the method most able to lead us astray, it's also I suspect one of the human superpowers. In using analogy we can go from one example to understanding something vital about something else. Deduction might be the epitome of "cold logic" and induction the base case for "machines can examine a lot more data (examples) than we ever could" but perhaps where information is sparse is where we might thrive.
Think Like A Curator
In one of those difficult bits of newsletter timing, I was able to catch up with Patricia Hurducaș (2 min read) for a short interview after the first Salon in her series, but not in time for the last Edition. However, the last Salon in the series is next week!
Tool for Thought - Quick Look - Creativity Tarot
Zooming out to the other end of thinking, to that moment of creative stuckness, as opposed to the building blocks of analysis we have the Creativity Tarot from Sarah and Leila. I had not been to John Willshire's Cardstock meetup for a while (a group for people creating card decks for various non-game uses) but I recently came across Marshall McLuhan's Distant Early Warning card deck and mentioned it to John. He actually got hold of one (they are neither easy nor cheap to get) and gave us all an unboxing at a recent meeting. You can view it on Youtube here. (DEW part starts at about 34 minutes.) It is very McLuhan and was fun to see but very much of it's time.
More of the present moment was a preview of the new Creativity Tarot deck. You hear a bit about it in the early part of the video linked above. Sarah and Leila also volunteered to tweet a card to attendees as as sample. Here is what I received:
- Today - 1st July - at 1715 London Time (BST) (not long after you receive this email) I will be discussing Formal and Informal Learning with Ziga Brencic in the slightly overnamed "Thinking Masterminds" Twitter Space. You can join here, which should work on both web app and phone, but you will only be able to speak if you join using your phone.
- Thinking Masterminds will hold another Twitter space on on July 8th at 1715 BST discussing "Deep Focus Thinking vs Overview Thinking". There is no link yet as Twitter Spaces does not yet allow scheduling more than one event at a time.
- How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life with Gillian Tett on Monday, 12th July at 6:30pm BST looks like an interesting exploration of another lens on understanding our world.
- Patricia Hurducas' fascinating series of three Interintellect Salons on Curation concludes with the third salon on Friday July 9th.
- Interesting looking discussion on Cultivating Creativity hosted by Neville Mehra on Thursday 15th July.
- And of course, Edition #003 of this newsletter will be out on Thursday 15th July afternoon London time - feel free to share this Edition with a friend before then. ;-)
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