#065 What is thinking?

What IS thinking!

This question could keep a room full of philosophers happy for a hundred years. But in the School of Thinking we are not concerned with thinking as contemplation, philosophical discussion or academic description, we are concerned with thinking as an operating skill – the kind of thinking that gets things done. The definition we use is: Thinking is the skill of using intelligence to get things done.

Thinking is the skill of using intelligence to get things done.

Thinking vs Doing?

To many people THINKING is the opposite of DOING. They set these two activities up as mutually exclusive opposites in their mind. With practice, however, you can develop your ability to use thinking as a skill, just like you can develop cooking, golf, leadership, painting, acting or aikido. All human skills can be learned or developed.

Paul MacCready, inventor of the Gossamer Albatross and the father of man-powered flight once wrote to me from California:
“When first watching a School of Thinking class in action, I was amazed that something so simple and so much fun could be so quick and effective in developing a person’s “thinking muscle”. We all, as individuals and as caretakers of our precious earth, need these thinking skills”.

Dr MacCready’s metaphor of thinking as a ‘muscle’ is a good one. It’s betterthan the old-fashioned idea of thinking as a ‘gift’. If thinking is only a gift, there’s not much you can do about it. But, if it’s more like a muscle then there’s a lot you can do to develop your thinking power.

That’s why we look at thinking as a skill. We want to help you enhance your skill and develop your intellectual capital. The goal is to reach an alternating balance between thought-based action and action-based thought.

Thought-Based Action: THINK-START-DO.

Thought-based action is the kind of action that’s based on thinking. For example, you are reading a magazine and you read about a story set in the Greek island of Patmos. You start to think about the Greek islands and decide you want to actually go there.

You figure out a plan, you find out about costs for fares etc, you set a date and you finally go and visit Patmos and the Greek islands. You thought something out, got started and then did it – thought-based action: THINK-START-DO. This is how I came to visit Patmos in the summer of ’84.

Action-Based Thought: DO-NOTICE-THINK.

Action-based thought is the kind of thinking that’s based on action. For example, a customer walks into a store and the salesperson says “Can I help you?”. The customer then says, “No thanks, just looking” then pirouettes and walks out of the store. Most salespeople keep making the same mistake day-after-day, week-after-week, year-after-year.

But the thinking salesperson might say to herself something like this “Whenever a customer walks into a store and I ask if I can help them I notice that usually drives them back out of the store. Maybe I can think of some other thing I could do that would not have that effect. What could I do instead?” Action-based thought: DO-NOTICE-THINK.

The Alternating Balance

The skilled thinker can alternate a balance between thought-based action

and action-based thought, between THINK-START-DO and DO-NOTICE-THINK.

This is what cognetics is all about – action based on noticing feedback plus feedback based on noticing action – SDNT = START-DO-NOTICE-THINK continuing in a continuous series of loops or a kind of cognetics spiral on into the future, exploring the cognos, the vast universe of possible thoughts.

These guys are thinking, too.

The Cognetics Spiral

START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK
spiralling on into the cognos.

Start Do Notice Think, or its trigger code SDNT, is a powerful search engine for your necktop that will enable the brainuser to approach any situation, any problem, any opportunity with confidence. To be doubly negative, there is no situation that can’t be managed by SDNT:

1. First you Start. This is like switching the necktop from OFF to ON
2. Then you Do … something … anything
3. Then you Notice the feedback from your actions, carefully and objectively
4. Then you Think. What happened? What were the consequences?
What did I like about them? What didn’t I like about them?
5. Then repeat 1 – 5.

This is exploring, and off you go again SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT … on into the future, surfing the cognos.

What if …? Thinking

One of the most famous users of the “what if …?” type of thinking was a young thinker, a lad of sixteen, called Albert Einstein. At that age Albert wrote to his uncle wondering what he would see if he was sitting on a light beam.

By the time he was twenty-six, in 1905, he had solved that problem and changed forever the laws of physics and the way future generations would understand the world. This “what if …?” thinking he called a gedanken or ‘thought experiment’. One of the great thinker’s most quoted sayings is, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

Science acknowledges Einstein’s thought experiments as among the greatest triumphs ever produced by a human brain. His thinking feats made him famous, not just in the scientific community, but amongst the public at large. He, in effect, became science’s first superstar! Until he died in 1955 he was always at the centre of much publicity and public interest.

At first he was the eccentric, the genius who never wore socks. Then he became a leading pacifist and opponent of rearmament whose traditional education left him with a lifelong suspicion of all forms of authority.

As the Nazis spread across Europe he advised President Roosevelt that it would be possible to make an atom bomb. However, when the bombs were actually used on Japan he immediately sought the establishment of a world authority that would control these weapons.

Today, posters of Albert Einstein are best sellers. It’s encouraging to know that these posters of the scientist, humanitarian, inventor, Nobel prize winner and thinker, are stuck on the walls of many a teenager’s bedroom along with their other heroes of rock, movies and sport.

Hardware and Software

Like Einstein, we all have some pretty awesome hardware in our twin-hemispheric, necktop, personal computer. Our problem, however, is that we are very short on software. The traditional western approach to thinking is simply reactive, logical judgement – the slapping on of the “right” and “wrong” labels.

This has always led to extravagant, destructive clashes throughout history and is hopelessly inadequate for designing a safe future in a rapidly changing world. In this SOT training you can go beyond your existing logic software with new SOT brain software called cognetics. There are a range of SOT brain apps that you can use to extend your thinking skills.

Logic and Cognetics

If you would like to get a “feel” for the difference between logic and cognetics (both of which are software systems designed to handle information in the brain) you can try the following simple exercise:

EXERCISE: There follows two sets of words which help describe the process involved in each brain software – logic or cognetics. Relax for a moment and take a nice deep breath, then repeat the words in capitals slowly and evenly over and over until you get the “feel” for the way each software handle its information.

Do it first for logic (repeat about 10 times):

RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG
RIGHT … WRONG

Do it now for cognetics (repeat about 10 times):
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK
START … DO … NOTICE … THINK

You may have noticed that logic uses a kind of labelling or “mail-sorting” approach to dealing with information. Logic reacts to information using judgment based on historical experience.

It fits, it’s right; it doesn’t fit, it’s wrong etc.

This is, of course, very useful in a secondary way and for looking back at static, theoretical, situations. By itself, however, it’s totally inadequate for dealing with most fluid, forward-looking situations in real life.

With cognetics, you may have noticed a quite different, open-ended, spiralling effect as movement is created (START … DO) and then feedback is evaluated (NOTICE … THINK) and further movement, with adjustments based on the feedback is then continued.

Thinking is Movement

There is no “right”way to think. The key to thinking is movement. Movement through the cognos, movement through think-space, movement through the ideosphere, movement through the universe of possible thoughts.

Whether you move out or in or up or down, sideways, backwards or upside-down reverse pikes, it doesn’t matter. Whether you take great leaps, use stepping-stones, random provocations, lateral thinking, flip-a-coin, or fantastic images, it all works.

Whether you use intuition, alpha-visualisations, TM, tarot cards, I-Ching, runes, prayer, auto-suggestion, cognetics, hypotheticals, scientific method, professional counselling, net surfing or “ask the oracle” – it all adds up to movement.

The essential key in thinking is movement – escape from your CVS. Once you have movement, you get feedback and, as we have seen, it’s this noticing feedback which is the essential ingredient for further thinking, which is to say, surfing the cognos.

Is this array doing actual thinking?

Thought Experiment:

A Thought Experiment is an experiment you carry out in your brain, using only thinking – your imagination. For example, you could imagine what would happen if cigarettes were square and not round. You think it through and imagine the consequences and possibilities and outcomes.

SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT
SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT
SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT
SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT SDNT

START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK
START DO NOTICE THINK START DO NOTICE THINK

 

DFQ #065:

Design your own Thought Experiment. Enjoy the exercise.

Explain at least three of the imagined outcomes here …

1.

2.

3.

272 thoughts on “#065 What is thinking?

  1. Is the western world losing skills of artistry in moving to a technology economy?

    1. The upscaling of the western world to finance and tech and outsourcing of manufacturing and more manual tasks at low rates is developing an off set dependency (scarcity of skills) to the point where we may lose some independance and see prices rise with a balance of power shift to the emerging economies.

    2. TEchnology is becoming an equsliser – democrasizing learning to a degree and allowing for offshoring technical works – helping share some wealth across the globe.

    3. Is modern (1st world man) losing touch from reality and become less competitive (in teh darwinian sense) – are we losing the ability to move, have a base level of independt survival and social skills – is the connected making us more disconnected. Have our technosphere evolved faster than our physiology and social spheres.

  2. What if people around the world decide that marrige is good thing.1-if i have decided to married in my earliy age.2-imagin if the women’s are happy to have many men as their husdands.3-what if the marridd was successful and they have started bearing children for well being of the coupls.the world would live freely with sickness or disease.

  3. Suppose a person has no aim in life, then

    1. They would think a day is just a day

    A day has different meaning to different people. For example, to the first time parents, the day is special because it is the time they become parents. To a well planned person, the day is a step closer to a goal. On the other hand, to the aimless person, a day simply mean performing duties. What they are dong has no meaning.

    2. They are doing what others around them are doing

    A person who has aims has idea or set of principle that they are living by. On contrary, an aimless person has no such idea or principle. Therefore, their actions or behaviors may not be consistent or depend on .

    3. They may not initiate group activities.

    Group activities such as birthday party are meant to celebrate an event (birthday, graduation, wedding, reunion, etc.). The person may experience no joy or pride in these achievement or milestone to plan any celebration.

  4. What if emerging technologies in the relatively near future (decades not centuries) created an Age of Abundance for all of Humanity? What would happen?

    No nore scarcity – No more need for Money – Financial System fades away. No longer required?

    Everyone has everything they need – What happens to Society? If everyone has everything they need there is No Competition. What happens to the World’s population? Does it increase or decrease?

    What happens to the Arts and Creativity? Does it just die? No more artists living lives of suffering and adversity and creating wonderful art.

  5. In my mind the whole purpose of thinking is to create. To think of ways to be more, do more, have more, and then coming up with plans and ways of implementing those thoughts so they become something real and tangible. This isn’t necessarily a selfish thing either; it’s really about expressing yourself for the betterment of yourself and others. Many great leaders were great thinkers. They were also people of great courage. They acted with resolve, having the strength of their convictions to make their thoughts reality, despite existing circumstances and situations that weren’t conducive or favourable to their aims. They monitored things as they went along, accepted when their plans needed changing, and then made the necessary changes required for the fulfilment of their goals. This to me is intelligence, it’s what thinking is really about.

  6. imagine if everyone was physically and mentally healthy throughout their lives

    1. pharmaceutical companies would go bust and therefore business in total would be making less money
    2. people would be happy
    3. hospitals would only be employing staff for breaking limbs and deaths
    4. surgeries would close
    5. there would be more expansion due to thinking deeper thoughts
    6. wars would end and people will be at peace and peaceful
    7. counsellors psychologists and others wouldn’t be.
    8. people would live in one world community
    9. people would love eachother and their nieghbors
    10. there would be no more ”enemies”

    and the way to make this happen- is to eat healthy plant-based food! but of course natures physcial abnormalities might still be there but almost all disorders and mental illness can be cured from a plant-based life.. – disclaimer this is not established by the current medical authorities..

  7. Here’s my Personal Thought Experiment about a book I am almost ready to publish:

    What if nobody ever reads this book?

    1. It’s ok, as I learned a great amount of benefits from the thinking and work involved in doing the observations and research to create this book.

    2. Without the knowledge contained herein, conditions will remain anti-life.

    3. I might be discouraged about being the only one who benefits from knowing and applying the wisdom.

  8. Imagine if at night we could see and hear the explosions of the sun.

    1) People would be scare at first.
    2) Parties would be organized to watch the sun.
    3) Every night would be 12/21/12

  9. Imagine if every Australian citizen was given a one-off payment of $250,000 by the government when they turned 21.

    1. Young people could live it up while young.
    2. Students could spend all their time studying rather than having to work to support themselves.
    3. People might spend more years in education.
    4. Some people would “blow” the money.
    5. Money could be spent overseas on travel. Would we want to limit spending to within Australia.
    6. New businesses could start up which advice people how to manage their money.
    7. Big boost to the Australian economy.
    8. Incentive for people to become Australian citizens before 21.

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