A Thought Experiment
A thought experiment is when you have an idea and take that idea to its logical end through rules and parameters that already exist or develop as the thought experiment matures.
Mostly through conversation and the use of verbal experimentation and arguments.
The purpose of having thought experiments is to expand your abilities to think, innovate, find patterns, plan, and imagine. Having this ability will allow you to break free from the influences of others, understand things quicker, learn faster, and develop better plans.
Fallacies (Common Sense) are a great example of Thought Experiments that are brought to their conclusion. Although these arguments themselves represent bad logic and unsound reasoning. How people came to the conclusions that these are fallacies is the essence of what a Thought Experiment is.
A deeper look at one of the fallacies and the thought experiment that created it:
Needling: simply attempting to make the other person angry, without trying to address the argument at hand. Sometimes this is a delaying tactic.
You are watching a political talk show. You realize that the talk show host isn’t actually presenting any counter arguments or evidence and is simply goading the politician to see if he can get a rise out of him. You begin to discuss with your friend about the tactic and he says that it is a viable argument technique where as you believe it’s not an argument at all, but just a tactic to disclaim someone whose beliefs you don’t believe in. You continue to talk it over until your friend agrees that it is a tactic and not an argument. Making it a fallacy because the logic and reasoning to think of it as such is bad. You then call the fallacy needling because you are trying to poke the other with verbal needles to frustrate and annoy.
For a look at more fallacies, check out this list. (A very good list to know for your next debate or negotiation as finding false logic is a lot easier than you’d think.)
Your friend has a great idea for a Television Show. You create the premise and the characters. You continue to develop it until the show takes on a mind of its own and the characters take such shape that you can no longer just make them do anything. Because the characters develop their own rules/personalities (as if out of nowhere) that if they were written to do an action out of character, people won’t believe it. Thus a thought experiment has been created with rules that guide where the show can go. Until it reaches its logical end of happy, sad, eventful, or uneventful ending.
Now that you understand the concept of a Thought Experiment… here is the nitty-gritty on how to create one.
Step #1: Throw out all your beliefs and biases to ensure the purity of your thought experiment.
This rule is important as any outside influence of your thought experiment can lead to fallacies and bad logic. This rule is less important for creative thought experiments as where the logical end goes is less based on reality and more based on one’s imagination.
Step #2: Decide to create rules for the Thought Experiment at the beginning or let them develop over time.
You can develop the rules for a thought experiment to be as outrageous to as realistic as possible. All depends on the end goal of the Thought Experiment.
Realistic Rules (Black)
1. Follows realities rules and order of operation
2. Follows Logic and Reason (No Fallacies)
3. No Biases or Assumptions
Creative Rules (White)
1. Follows a set of rules not dictated by material facts
2. Rules can develop laissez faire and become permanent as they develop
3. Assumptions can be used to build the Thought Experiment to places reality won’t allow without proven facts.
Combination Rules (Gray)
1. Follows a set of rules that are based in reality, but can change with current events.
2. Rules follow logic and reason, but includes the actions with a probability of low success so nothing is ruled out.
3. Assumptions are allowed, but must be proven throughout the thought experiment.
#3: Talk through your Thought Experiment
With the others in the Thought Experiment, talk through the thoughts you have or had. Ensuring to maintain the rules. Where the experimentation comes into play is having the idea be bounced, fleshed out, and redone to by many diverse people with different views, angles and experiences to meet the rules and logic of the thought experiment. The experimentation comes from the fact you don’t know where the thought process will go, what other rules will develop during the experiment, and the scenarios, scenes, or actors that develop.
#4: Take your Thought Experiments to their Logical End
An example on the creative side would be a storyline for a character. The more you flesh out the character and create a world around him, the easier it becomes to bring them to their logical end. Therefore a Tragic Character dies to redeem himself. A Happy Character wins the day. Or any combination of paths that the story may take. (Uses made-up rules and parameters to dictate the path of fictitious characters)
An example on the realistic side, is having a thought experiment on real life events and people. Such as finding the truth of the matter behind the actions of what others do, such as rivals, friends, and enemies. Finding the motives behind their actions or to build an idea of the interworking’s of what’s really going on. (Uses real world facts to develop theories about the real world)
A great example of a Combination is making a plan off the real world. Because plans make a lot of assumptions about how the real world will work according to the plan, but more than likely has to change before the end. This combination of the realistic to the creative side of thought experiments allows you to build your thoughts and bring them to fruition even if they don’t come to reality in any shape or form.
Think well. Be well.
#1: Figure-Out your learning style.
If no free class exists, it’s time to build your own.
But before you do, you have to know what your learning-style is.
Because if you don’t, you could be finding learning tools that are useless to you because you don’t learn in that particular way.
A good example is people who learn hands-on versus people who learn conceptually. People who learn conceptually like to use graphs, figures, maps, and other tools to learn a concept, and will tell hands-on people that that is the only way to learn. Whereas hands-on people like to see how something is done with the help of another person to show them what’s right. Finding out what type you are is important to your learning success and completing your own self-study.
To find out your learning style take these two questionnaires and combine them to see what styles best compliment you.
1. The Vark Quiz – Short Form with quick summary of your learning-style
2. Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire – Long Form with in-depth analysis of your learning style
After you take these quick questionnaires. You will find out if your learning-style is active or reflective, sensing or intuitive, visual or sensing, and sequential or global.
With each of these styles comes specific techniques that work best with that type of learner as well as others that work with all. That will be covered in later. Now let’s go over each style of learner and their strengths and weaknesses.
1st Spectrum of 4 that details how you like to learn.
Does this sound like YOU?
Don’t like to be lectured?
Hate being forced to sit there without any active participation?
Then you have active learner tendencies. Because active learners like learning to be participative and interesting. Which is why you will have a kid who can remember every stat and name of his favorite baseball team, but can’t will never remember anything about the state capitals. Because one is active and can be discussed with friends while the other is taught dryly with no entertainment value.
Or does this sound like you?
Don’t like when other people talk during lectures? Or when you’re studying?
Hate every time someone asks a question or slows down the class?
Then you have reflective tendencies. Being the opposite of active learners. You don’t want people to interrupt your process of listening, thinking, and digesting of information. Where an active learner wants to use the information immediately, a reflective learners wants to reflect upon the information and use it later.
2nd Spectrum of 4 that details how you like to learn.
Does this sound like you?
Like to memorize?
Learning facts and figures?
While using the techniques you have always used?
Not liking when things get outside your scope?
Then you’re a sensor. You like repetition, memorization, and well established methods, formulas, and procedures that work so you don’t have to think. You enjoy things that already work with no problems and issues that you can reuse again and again on old and new situations.
Or does this sound like you?
Like challenging new problems?
With the ability to think outside the box to find new solutions?
Then you are an intuitive learner. You enjoy taking on new challenges and enjoy figuring them out, both their problems and solution. Even if either haven’t been figured out yet. Intuitive learners learn usually conceptually and theoretically.
3rd Spectrum of 4 that details how you like to learn.
Does this sound like you?
Like to learn by actually seeing something done?
Not told, but physically shown from A to Z?
Then you’re a visual learner. And the reality is. Most people are. Visual learners learn by seeing How-To Videos, on-the-job training, and flowcharts, graphs, and other visuals that help implant images to memory.
Or does this sound like you?
Do you learn by reading and writing?
Without having to be shown how to do it, but told?
Then you are a verbal learner. Verbal learners are able to understand how to do things by reading how others did it or being told how they did, and independent from having to actually being shown how to do it. Entailing they are better at figuring out the minute details that may not be as explicit as seeing how it is done.
4th Spectrum of 4 that details how you like to learn.
Does this sound like you?
Like to learn step-by-step? In a logical sequence?
Each step building on the next until it all finally makes sense?
If you do, you are a sequential learner. This type of learner loves step-by-step processes and learns logically by learning the basics and fundamentals of a subject. Building upon the subject by stacking new information on top of each other until the whole picture is known.
Or does this sound like you?
Like to immerse yourself in the information?
Learning randomly until you have that “eureka” moment?
Then you are most likely a global learner. Someone who likes to learn everything about a subject, but in no particular order until one day it all clicks together and you master the subject. The major difference between the two is that sequential learners are able to use the information relatively immediately to take a test while it takes a global learner a certain period of time to let it conceptualize before they can effectively take a test on it. Because the information doesn’t make any sense to you until it clicks in your mind.
But like every spectrum, everyone has more and less the tendencies of each type. As many people display both. It just matters which way you lean more and knowing the best ways to take advantage of your own combination of learning styles to maximize your learning return to become a meta-learner.
An active/reflective learner may like to participate in group work to get feedback from others in the group, but want to do their own work alone and bring it to the group roughly completed.
A sensing/intuitive learner is someone who likes to use established-methods to figure out problems, but likes to change-it-up to see if the established method can be made better.
A visual/verbal learner may learn best by combining both words and pictures so they can read the steps as they see them being done. Helping them learn that much faster.
And finally, a sequential/global learner may be able to learn sequentially, but only if each presented topic is fully discussed without pieces missing.
Now check us out next week when we take what we have learned so far and use it to find the best learning techniques that will work for your particular learning-style.
#2: Learn-to-Learn: A Guide to Find the Best Techniques for Your Learning-Style.
Reference for Learning Styles:
Common Sense is a lie.
A lie that has frustrated me for a long long time as it is the cause of most
misunderstandings and hatreds in the world.
Why is Common Sense a lie?
Well let’s define it first:
Common Sense as defined from thee Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
The initial problem with this definition is the assumption of “Simple Perception”.
And where the disconnect lies is in the assumption “that perception is reality.”
Where in the real world, perception doesn’t exist.
As perception is just the way you process the world, but it is not the way it is.
This makes perception subjective.
For example, the old saying, “Hindsight is 20/20” is a perfect example of why Common Sense and Perception do not exist.
Because Common Sense is the application of techniques and actions based on a Subjective Perception which can be proven wrong by Reality or Hindsight.
The problem lies that “Common Sense” dictates that there is a right answer.
A right answer for whom?
Because my right answers are probably different than your right answer.
Therefore my common sense answer is different than your common sense answer. Which is paradoxical as how can common sense have different answers.
The Myth: Common Sense is Natural.
The next issue with common sense beyond not existing is that it is assumed to be natural…
But it is not natural. You are not born with it and it doesn’t come to people naturally.
“Sense” which is common is instead created by experiences. Experiences that you had yourself or learned from someone else.
This is where "Sense" comes from.
So because “Sense” is learned and experienced, it cannot be assumed to be natural. As many people never have the same experiences. Let alone “perceive” them “the right way” so it becomes “Common Sense”.
SO what is means is:
Showing that Common Sense is fundamentally fallible because it assumes:
So the Real Question is how-do you untangle yourself from the ingrained false logic of “Common Sense” and “Perception is Reality”?
How to Untangle Yourself from your Perception and “Common Sense”.
1. First, you have to identify what your perception or belief is that you think is Common Sense.
a. For Example:
i. People believe that it’s “Common Sense” to drink caffeine to stay awake.
ii. But studies show that it is better to take a 30 minute power-nap than to power through with caffeine.
1. Web MD: Power of Power Napping
2. Next, find why you have this belief, how it could be wrong, and what is perpetuating it.
a. For Example:
i. People believe caffeine is the right answer because their peers or role models do it.
ii. People believe it works because it “Worked” for them.
1. Meaning you tried it yourself and you got the results you wanted
2. But what “Works” is subjective to the person
3. Meaning it may have not been the best way to do it
3. Then go out and get a second opinion from someone else that explains why your belief or Common Sense could be wrong.
a. Even though you may have this belief, you may not be easily able to see it and recognize its causes
i. Why do I want caffeine?
1. Am I addicted to it?
ii. Is it because it tastes good?
iii. Do I drink it out of habit?
b. So you need to go out and find someone who is looking at you from “Outside the Box.” who has an objective view of the situation
i. Because if you ask someone with the same belief, they will most likely tell you are crazy and that you are wrong about trying to change your belief.
ii. For Example:
1. You want to try Power Naps and want to kick caffeine
2. You ask someone who believes that caffeine works and says why change what works? (Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix it Fallacy.)
4. Now evaluate your responses and your objective observer’s responses in #2 & 3 of this list with the assumption that everything you wrote down is true.
a. Argue for each point by creating supporting evidence that justify why your belief could be wrong and how your belief could be bases off something irrational such as:
ii. Opinions (Of Yourself and Others)
b. For Example:
i. I am addicted.
1. It’s the ONLY THING that works.
2. My friends are doing it.
5. Once you feel like you've got it, redefine your Belief and Common Sense and brainstorm how to change your mind about how it just can’t be completely true or actually exist.
a. Here is the hardest part of the process, the moment where you accept that your belief or perception isn't true to reality and that Common Sense can’t exist.
b. For Example:
i. I accept that the Common Sense of drinking caffeine to stay awake is not the only answer to this problem.
ii. I accept that is most likely a cause of my past experiences that caused me to believe that it is the only way to stay awake.
iii. I accept that my experiences alone create a “Sense” that is not all that Common.
Why you should do this?
Our perception of reality does not exist, but is the belief that it does. As all beliefs are ultimately opinions. Which is why they vary hugely from individual to individual.
So allowing our perception to be more adaptable. Becoming gradually more and more in line with ultimate reality is helpful and useful to making a better world. Because in the end, perception fizzles out, and we always dwell in reality, in knowledge, in certainty.
Lucas Thomas, professional writer, entrepreneur, and business owner.