59 Second Course

Insight Four of the 59 Second Course in Thinking is:

Two cvs options are:

defend the cvs, or escape the cvs

DEFEND the cvs

The history of Western thinking is dominated by Platonic thinking, the search for certainty. The search for THE truth.

This has led to the notorious I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong thinking. Or, my cvs is right and your cvs is wrong. Dialectic thinking. Two-sided thinking. Black vs White thinking. The Westminster system in politics – debating between one side and the other – government vs opposition. In the legal system it’s The Crown vs The Defendent.

There is much value in this strategy. The main value of this system is the strengthening of positions. The feeling of certainty. A feeling of righteousness. God is on OUR side. It is less complex. It is less risky. It is familiar. It is ‘tried and true’. It is logical and ‘common sense’.We have the truth and you do not. I have ‘that feeling inside my head’ that I am right.

This is the option: defend the cvs.

While most of the time we probably do need to defend our cvs the main weakness of this strategy is that it is so slow and costly. Changes come late. Long after the need for change. In extreme cases, it can take hundreds of years of conflict and the loss of many human lives before a change is achieved. The main disadvantage is that most of the thinking effort is devoted to defending a historical position (because it is The Truth) and very little is devoted to designing a new, evolved or innovative position.

The more effort that is devoted to defending the past the less effort that is devoted to designing the future.

ESCAPE the cvs

The other option is: escape the cvs.

This is much easier said than done. Because most Western thinkers have thousands of hours of practise and skill in defending a cvs it is no surprise that they find it so difficult to let go of a cvs. But it is possible to do so.

The whole history of science and innovation is the history of escaping from one cvs and moving to a better one. Sometimes this happens by mistake, mutation or accident as in darwinian evolution. Sometimes by experiment or intuition or curiosity or inspiration or design.

The Universal Brain Software – cvs2bvs – is a tool for doing it by experiment, by curiosity or by design.


What is one of your favourite examples from history of the ESCAPE from a cvs? In 100 words or so describe what, when, where, who, how etc?

37 thoughts on “59 Second Course

  1. The world (and the universe for that matter) was not created by an almighty God in 7 days flat.

    This is controversial and shocking to some people today, but it is a fine example of people still holding onto a cvs and not paying heed to the demonstrated bvs.

    The bvs came in many waves. First the innovative astronomers started to question and challenge the cvs.

    Years later Dawin answered a very terrestrial question about our direct ascent in ‘The Origin of Species’ which further challenged the cvs.

    It has been a long process, a chipping away, to a point where the cvs is nothing more than a non-factual concept, where it were once a practical explanation of all that is around us.

  2. Kennedy’s speech to put a man on the moon and bring him back within a decade is a good example of ESCAPE from a CVS.

    This began a journey of probably millions of escapes from CVS needed to deliver the goal set by the simple statement. It provided the platform for NASA to evolve and grow the program that led to the spectacular success.

    It also caused a number of people in Asia who believed in the moon as a deity to abandon that belief (another ESCAPE).

  3. Google and Virgin – escaped the text book belief that you would perish if you moved away from your core business offering. That he consumer would become dazed and confused about the brand. This has been shattered and indicates its more about the ‘experience’ than the specific product.

  4. a fairly simple example I think… Wayne Bennet is one of the most successful coaches in football. The fact he coaches in the NRL in Australia and is most likely not well know outside this country is not relevant.

    On many occassions over his 25+ year coaching career Benny has been criticised for letting players go seemingly at the peak of their powers. Typically within a few seasons the team is back on top with a new stable of super stars.

    While all the fans and sporting media are trapped in their cvs Benny is already planning to move to the cvsx10.

  5. CVS – the Sun moves around the earth, and the earth is the centre of the Universe, and along comes Copernicus, with his mind blowing BVS!

    This (and plenty of other good stuff!) was gleaned from Roger van Oech’s book, “A Whack on the side of the Head”

  6. “What is one of your favourite examples from history of the ESCAPE from a cvs? In 100 words or so describe what, when, where, who, how etc?”

    The invention of the aircarft by the Wright brothers in 1900 to the modern aircrafts in 2010 is an escape from cvs to bvs. Every year it keeps improving with more ecsaping from cvs to bvs. Now flights are availbale to fly into space. All this happened due to escape from cvs to bvs.

  7. IBM became synonymous with personal computer in the 1980s and 90’s. The personal computer division was a core part of the IBM business. To make a decision to ‘surrender the desktop’ in order to focus more on other areas of business is to me a great example of an escape from a CVS.

  8. Some may remember Mel Gibson when he portrayed William Wallace, Scottish freedom fighter, in the film “Braveheart”? (Not quite an accurate portrayal).

    At the time, the Scots army was made up chiefly of spearmen, like four great armoured ‘hedgehogs’ which were known as schiltrons.

    During one battle, the Scottish long spears pointed outwards at various heights gave these formations a formidable and impenetrable appearance. The gaps between the schiltrons were filled with archers and a small troop of men at arms covered the rear. Wallace unfortunately lost the battle as the schiltrons became isolated and locked into a static defensive position. As the English archers worked their deadly longbows, their hail of arrows was supplemented by crossbow and slingshot and the schiltrons were an easy target, as the men had no defence and nowhere to hide.

    Wallace’s successor, Robert the Bruce, continued with the fight against the English and spent hours training his spearmen to move and march in unison. In so doing, he ensured the schiltrons would serve as an offensive, as well as a defensive, weapon. During a subsequent battle, the schiltrons marched forward, driving the English back at the same time as Bruce brought his right flank forward and turned it northeast to apply even more pressure.

    The greatest CVS to BVS? Moving from defensive to offensive!

  9. I am going to use a very current sporting example. New Orleans Saints have just won the Super Bowl – defeating Indianapolis Colts 31 to 17. It was the first win to the Saints in their 43 year history. They were a club that had never before tasted the success of a Super Bowl and particulalry in the past five years – since Hurricane Katrina hit in August 2005 – had faced adversity from every angle. Firstly a city destroyed, a home gound turned into a haven for hurricane survivors, a coach Sean Payton recruited from outside New Orleans, having to relocate to another city to keep the team going, suggestions that the club should just withdraw from the football competition all together – all before considering the impact on individuals grossly affected by the Hurricane’s devastation.
    Before this season, the Saints had only eigt winning campaigns, and two play off victories in their previous 42 years combined. There were many doubters with people often asking the coach if it was a burden to carry the weight of the city of New Orleans on his shoulders.
    2009 was a season of firsts – New Orleans opened with thier first 13 game winning streak, which earned them the No 1 seeding in the NFC playoffs. This led to their first home NFC title game, first Super Bowl appearance and firs major professional sports championship.
    Despite the excellent year, combined experts from ESPN NFL editors, analysts and writers and Scouts Inc tipped 70/30 against the Saints. It seemed hard(almost impossible) for the majority to move from their cvs of New Orleans and all they had against them to a bvs of New Orleans as Super Bowl Champions. On the other hand, to staunch supporters it was more than just a football team or a football game but a relationship between the Saints, the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. The hopes, dreams and struggles of a community were all reflected in that team.
    Commissioner of the Super Bowl Roger Goodell has since described the journey of New Orleans as “magical”. To those who stopped defending an old cvs and started believing in a bvs – it was dream come true. A rare reward for having the courage to believe in a bvs.

  10. oops! just read about Howard Florey and the boys in Susan’s post Feb 1. So I better find a better example ( a correct one this time! )

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