Tag Archives: thinking

Long-Term Thinking and Climate Change

One of the reas­ons the gen­er­al pub­lic are slow in act­ing on cli­mate change in the man­ner the situ­ation’s import­ance demands is our reluct­ance to think too far bey­ond our imme­di­ate time hori­zon. How­ever this should­n’t stop us.

That is the sug­ges­tion of Mar­tin Rees, Astro­nomer Royal, who extols the vir­tues of long-term think­ing more elo­quently than I’ve heard before:

“As in polit­ics,” he says, “the imme­di­ate trumps the import­ant.” Our future-blind­ness may reflect a basic lim­it­a­tion of the brain. “In so far as brains evolved to cope with every­day life on the savan­nah, they evolved in a con­text where you didn’t plan 50 years ahead and you cared about your loc­al com­munity. Although…” A pause. A sip of tea. “Although, it’s odd—I gave a talk at Ely cathed­ral not long ago. The people who built the cathed­ral had a lim­ited view of the world. Their world was the fens, and they thought it would end quite soon, but nev­er­the­less built this won­der­ful struc­ture which is part of our her­it­age 1,000 years later. And it’s shame­ful in a way that we, with our longer hori­zons and great­er resources, are reluct­ant to think 50 years ahead.”

via The Browser

Note: The full art­icle is behind a pay wall. The above quote and the con­text there­of is avail­able.

Epiphanies Through Daydreams

Research aimed at dis­cov­er­ing how ‘Eureka moments’ are triggered and how these moments of clar­ity and insight dif­fer from typ­ic­al meth­od­ic­al reas­on­ing has found that not only are epi­phanies more likely when we’re day­dream­ing, but our state of mind before we tackle a prob­lem is also cru­cial.

They mater­i­al­ize without warn­ing, often through an uncon­scious shift in men­tal per­spect­ive that can abruptly alter how we per­ceive a prob­lem. […] In fact, our brain may be most act­ively engaged when our mind is wan­der­ing and we’ve actu­ally lost track of our thoughts, a new brain-scan­ning study sug­gests. “Solv­ing a prob­lem with insight is fun­da­ment­ally dif­fer­ent from solv­ing a prob­lem ana­lyt­ic­ally”.

[…] Even before we are presen­ted with a prob­lem, our state of mind can affect wheth­er or not we will likely resort to insight­ful think­ing. People in a pos­it­ive mood were more likely to exper­i­ence an insight.

Anoth­er find­ing that fas­cin­ated me was that by mon­it­or­ing the brain waves of the par­ti­cipants, research­ers could pre­dict who would solve a prob­lem through insight up to eight seconds before the answer actu­ally mater­i­al­ised con­sciously.

One les­son to remem­ber from the research: the wan­der­ing, day­dream­ing mind is a cru­cial and import­ant men­tal state where our brains are unusu­ally act­ive.

List of Thought Processes

Thoughts – or spe­cific­ally the men­tal pro­cesses enabling us to think – allow beings to be con­scious, to make decisions, and to ima­gine. Thoughts are what define us as indi­vidu­als.

This list of thought pro­cesses is a (big) list of think­ing styles, meth­ods of think­ing (think­ing skills), and types of thought. When you have some spare time, it’s worth per­us­ing.

I’m soon to read Six Think­ing Hats, and I believe this could be an invalu­able resource once I have the motiv­a­tion to improve my own think­ing pro­cesses. This book looks like it may be inter­est­ing too.

Pre­vi­ous lists this week: List of Cog­nit­ive Biases, List of Logic­al Fal­la­cies, List(s) of Unsolved Prob­lems, List of Com­mon Mis­con­cep­tions