Ideas

This Will Make You Smarter

The disciplinary structure in the universities is an important foundation. It enforces methodological rigor. But it doesn’t really correlate with reality. Why do we have one field, psychology, concerning the inner life and another field, sociology, concerning the outer life, when the distinction between the two is porous and maybe insignificant?
This Will Make You Smarter

Systemic Equilibrium

Human societies are already far more similar than ever before. And it would be very tempting to imagine that a modern democracy based on equal rights and opportunities is a system in equilibrium. This seems unlikely given our current energy footprint. More likely, if the total system energy is depleted too fast, is that modern democracies will be compromised if the system crashes to its lowest equilibrium too quickly for socially equitable evolution.
Systemic Equilibrium

The Culture Cycle

No one explains what, exactly, culture is, how it works, or how to change it for the better. A cognitive tool that fills this gap is the culture cycle, a tool that not only describes how culture works but also prescribes how to make lasting change. The culture cycle is the iterative recursive process whereby people create cultures to which they later adapt, and cultures shape people so they act in ways that perpetuate the cultures.
The Culture Cycle

Designing Your Mind

How can we use design thinking to change the way we think? Good design typically begins with some principles and functional objectives. You might wish to perceive and absorb information effectively, concentrate, remember, infer meaning, be creative, write, speak, and communicate well, and enjoy important collaborations and human relationships. How could we design our use of or abstinence from media to achieve these goals?
Designing Your Mind

The Pareto Principle

You see the pattern everywhere: The top one percent of the population controls 35 % of the wealth. On Twitter the top 2 percent of users sends 60% of the messages. In the health care system, the treatment of the most expensive fifth of patients creates four fifths of the overall cost. This pattern was so common that Pareto called it a “predictable imbalance”. Despite this bit of century-old optimism, however, we are still failing to predict it, even though it is everywhere.
The Pareto Principle

Strategic Allocation of Attention

In recent decades, psychology and neuroscience have severely eroded classical notions of free will. The unconscious mind, it turns out, is most of the mind. And yet we can still control the spotlight of attention, focusing on those ideas that will help us succeed. In the end, this may be the only thing we can control.
Strategic Allocation of Attention

Constraint Satisfaction

Much creativity emerges from constraint satisfaction. Creativity can also emerge when you decide to change, exclude, or add a constraint. Perhaps, paradoxically, adding constraints can actually enhance creativity, – if a task is too open or unstructured, it may be so unconstrained that it’s difficult to devise any solution
Constraint Satisfaction

The Web of Causality

If we are trying to identify where the next transformation of our worldview will come from, we need to take a fresh look at our deep intuitions. Causality is usually understood as meaning that there is a single, preceding cause for an event.

However, complex systems, such as financial markets or the Earth’s biosphere, do not seem to obey causality. For every event that occurs, there a multitude of possible causes, and the extent to which one contributes to the event is not clear, not even after the fact! One might say there is a web of causation.
The Web of Causality

Keystone Consumers

Like keystone species, keystone consumers also have a disproportionate impact relative to their abundance. Biologists identify keystone species as conservation priorities because their disappearance could cause the loss of many other species. In the marketplace, keystone consumers should be priorities because their disappearance could lead to the recovery of the resource. Human should protect keystone species and curb keystone consumption. The lives of others depend on it.
Keystone Consumers

The Principle of Empiricism

Empiricism is the deepest and broadest principle for explaining the phenomena in both the natural and social worlds. Empiricism is the principle that says we should see for ourselves instead of trusting the authority of others. Empiricism is the foundation of science.
The Principle of Empiricism

Creative connections

Writers and Ideas
Theatre and ideas