Tag Archive | Patterns

The Art of Perception 10

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“Pay attention to the gifts around you.”

“Attention is one component of it. The other component is Meaning.

You see what you pay attention to.
You pay attention to what you consider meaningful. Everything else is invisible [<link; very short read].

We have a perceptual map of the world. This perceptual map is largely a map of meaning. In expanding the map, you’re expanding your reality.”

“How do you expand your perceptual map?”

“This is a game in itself.

All the things you usually notice form a perceptual pattern. This pattern traces the boundary of your reality. One way to expand your map is to regularly break this pattern. 

Make it a habit to look at things you don’t normally notice and ask yourself:

How is this a gift?

Use Patterns

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are use patterns?”

“Our default mindset is additive.

The intention is always well-meaning.

‘I’ll add this. Maybe I’ll need it.’

What’s invisible in the moment is that all these well-meaning little things compound [<link; medium read]. In time, little by little adds up to a lot. What’s more, that which is easy to add is (psychologically) hard to remove.” 

“Ironically, most of them you don’t even end up using.”

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pareto Principle applies here as well. You use 20%, and 80% just take up space.

Use Patterns are a conceptual tool for revealing patterns of actual use.

Are you actually using x ?
When did you last use x ?”

“How do you overcome the difficulty of removing them once revealed?”

“Switch to the subtractive mindset.

The strategy is temporary removal. In being temporary, you overcome resistance. 

If at any point, you discover you need any of the removed items, you bring them back; That rarely happens. 

Most often, you discover you never needed them in the first place.”

Beautiful Models: Access-Patterns

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What are access-patterns?”

“You’ve undoubtedly heard of the rule of three.” 

“The idea that things are more memorable (and aesthetic) when presented in threes.”


I call such a meaningful group of three elements, a triad-pattern

A triad-patten also makes things more memorable when retrieving them from your own mind, so it can be used as a memory-retrieval tool.

I call patterns that can be used for memory retrieval, access-patterns.

The triad is but one such pattern.”

“Can you give some examples of other access-patterns?”

“It’s better if I show some to you:


“What is the meaning of the colors?”

“All elements in blue are the access-point of the pattern, the first thing you think about when accessing the pattern mentally.”

“So the patterns with more than one blue element have multiple access-points.”


The monad-pattern is concept-stacking [<link; short read] – fusing concepts together for practical ends. 

For instance, my central value is Loving Play, which means the twin value of Love and Play. 

Another example is my concept of BodyMind, which is a means of expressing the oneness of body and mind.

All other access-patterns are instances of what I call concept-linking – connecting concepts for the purpose of retrieval and creating meaning.

The patterns on the first row are linear-patterns, patterns where the order matters. The rest are non-linear patterns.

For instance let’s take Brian Johnson’s Big Three model: Energy, Work, Love. Here, the order matters, the sequence is what makes it memorable.

We could however express it in a way where verticality matters:


We can think of it as a pyramid, where Energy is the foundation, and Love is the highest end. It’s the same triad, but by changing the pattern, we’ve encoded additional meaning.

Another example of this is the cardinal tetrad-pattern, where the four elements mirror the four cardinal directions. The visual representation encodes additional meaning, making it more memorable.”

Two models of creativity

Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is creativity?”

“To quote Steve Jobs,

Creativity is just connecting things.

I call this the Connections model of creativity.

Creativity is Connecting.

I must say, I love this model. I love it so much that I have the word ‘Connections’ tattooed on my right forearm.”

“I like to pair it with another model.

I call it the Patterns model of creativity.

Creativity is Patterning.

By Pattering I mean two things: 


As concerns pattern-recognition, there’s a quote that’s been stuck on my mind for a very long time:

Genius is only a superior power of seeing. (John Ruskin)

In a flash of insight, I realized that Ruskin’s ‘superior power of seeing‘ is pattern-recognition. The creative genius looks at the same things everyone else looks and consistently sees something different. It’s like he lives in a different reality.”

“Maybe genius is often a polymath because different disciplines give you different ways of seeing reality.

Take Parkour for instance. Once you’ve been practicing for a while, you develop what practitioners call ‘Parkour Vision‘, and from that moment on, the environment is never the same.

By extension, many disciplines (if not all) develop their own kind of similar ‘Vision’. Viewed as a template [<link; medium read], I call it ‘X Vision‘:

– Design Vision
– Poetry Vision
– Photography Vision
– Humor Vision
– Systems Vision

“Interesting idea.

As concern pattern-restructuring, it has two components:


Pattern-restructuring is essentially Lateral Thinking. Breaking internal patterns (eg habit-breaking) or external patterns (eg rules-breaking), and creating new patterns that have value.

The two models are complementary. We might call them synergistic models – a combo, to use Magic the Gathering terminology.”


Fragments from imaginary dialogues

“What is the essence of understanding?”

Mental models.

“What do you mean?”

“To understand something means to form a mental model of a pattern.

Every instance of understanding is an approximation.

The quality of understanding is given by the extent to which the model approximates the pattern.

Let’s take as an example three people who know what an elephant is.

One knows by having read the definition of the animal.
One knows by having seen a picture of the animal.
One knows by having experienced the animal first-hand. (experiential-model)

All of them understand what an elephant is. But their mental model of the animal is different.

The first one hasn’t seen an elephant, but they have from experience a mental model of what a quadrupedal animal is, so they approximate the elephant based on the animal model in that category that is most salient for them.

The more information one learns about the animal – like anatomical details –, the more complex their model of it.”

“This means your understanding of understanding is also a model.”

“Precisely. A functional-model… a mental tool. A tool which enhances my capacity to understand.”