On Thinking and Systems 2
Fragments from imaginary dialogues
“How can I become a better thinker?”
“Let’s think of thinking as a system.
What is the essential highest-order output of the system for you?”
“To become a better thinker you need to become better at generating creative output.
The quality of the output depends on the quality of the input.
To optimize the output, you need to optimize the input.
What are the main subcomponents of this system?”
“I’m thinking they’re three in number:
– The information system
– The querying system (conscious process)
– The retrieval system (subconscious process)”
“You’re using a database metaphoric model.”
“I guess I am.”
“The retrieval system works the same for all of us. We all have the same potential. That’s a constant.
The information and querying systems are variable. These two systems are what differentiates the better thinker from the rest.
So better thinking depends on two things:
– Information quality
– Querying quality
We can metaphorically think of information as the materials for thinking, and of querying as the manufacturing of creative thought.
Quality information is what we call knowledge. By that I mean content quality and organization quality.”
“What do you mean by organization?”
“Organization is a measure of how interconnected the information is, and how it’s structured. For instance mental models are a beautiful means of structuring information, which makes it more retrievable and usable.”
“Does quality querying mean asking the right questions?
“Ultimately, thinking is a dance between the conscious and the subconscious.
Besides asking the right questions, querying means creating optimal conditions for the subconscious to do its magic.”