Saturday, December 8th 2012



Friday, December 7th 2012



Thursday, December 6th 2012


Heroic Clothing

Wednesday, December 5th 2012

A hero doesn't wear clothes. A hero wears Destiny.

The Efficiency Heuristic

Tuesday, December 4th 2012

If it is time consuming to examine an idea in detail, and what you might get out of it is likely to be limited or cannot be widely applied, then pondering that idea becomes expensive in time and energy.

But rather than acknowledging the reason for rejecting the idea - it is expensive to process it - people usually apply a simple heuristic: the idea is "shit", "stupid" or the product of stupidity. The idea is discarded, and an internal psychological opposition to it is erected.

Equally, accepting an idea operates in the similar way. The more efficient it is to process an idea, the more likely a person is to "accept" it.

Certain ideas can trigger emotional responses, too. So if a person has had bad experiences, some ideas will be associated with those experiences. Pondering those ideas will be emotional draining. The cost in time and energy of contemplating those ideas is higher. Equally, if an idea conjures up good feelings then it will feel less costly to process.

People often think narratively and symbolically. This is the more abstract, categorical, narrative, symbolic aspect of thought. The one that is often a rehearsal for actual communication with others: even if it never expressed. What people think they are thinking about is mostly in this narrative, symbolic layer; the layer the person is cognisant of. The rationalisation, the purpose, the meaning, the conscious effort is usually in that layer.

Then there is another aspect of thought: it is a made up of fleeting (but often repeating) pattern of associations that contain mostly memorised emotional states. These are hard to express. Past experience organised into new associations, generating a new internal experiences from old memories. The closest we get to how this manifests itself to the conscious mind is when you recall a dream.

This experiential, emotional layer is much more abstruse; it is a pattern of associations that is hard to describe to yourself, let alone to others. It is fluid and hard to categorise. Beyond art, music and other more experiential forms of communciation, this stuff is hard to describe to others in all but the most limited of ways.

This emotional, less abstract layer forms the substrate for thinking. This layer usually goes unacknowledged and unarticulated, except during periods of heightened emotion where it overwhelms the conscious mind. Often in a socially unacceptable way :-).

Of course, the two layers are not really separate: they segue into one another. But the idea of two layers is a convenient metaphor. Because unlike the conscious and the unconscious, both of these layers can be seen by the conscious mind and acted upon. You can think in both ways. It's just people tend to emphasise the first, abstract, communicable aspect of their thought. Over time a habit forms: this becomes the way they think. Although the other experiential sort of thought occurs, not a lot of time is spent consciously working with it.

So people have the stated reasons for rejecting (or accepting) an idea. That is generated by the first, rational layer. But the more dream-like patterns of associations, either traumatic or pleasurable, are more decisive in working out whether it is efficient to pursue an idea or not. And so the intellectual dominates the conversation but the experiential and "irrational" dominates the efficiency heuristic.

see also:

Jigsaw Multiple

Monday, December 3rd 2012

Jigsaw Multiple

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