Learning how to gossip intelligently is a powerful instrument for serious self-critism, because it is much easier to identify the mistakes of others than that of our own. So, make a habit of criticizing the thinking of others.
This is the opinion of Daniel Kahneman, who argues that to become a good thinker we need to acquire a large set of diagnostic labels to identify thinking errors, like those that are available for physicians. In his bestseller Thinking, Fast and Slow, he explains the vocabulary he developed in conversations with Amos Tversky since the 1970’s. They spent several years studying and documenting bias of intuitive thinking in various tasks – assigning probabilities, forecasting the future, assessing hypotheses and estimating frequencies.
Nowadays it is generally accepted that our minds are susceptible to systematic errors. This has led to the dominant opinion that the more rational the thinking is, the better the outcomes.
However, there are striking stories about the effectiveness of using intuition. There are surely marvels in intuitive thinking.
The psychologist Gary Klein describes a team of firefighters that entered a house in which the kitchen was on fire.
“Soon after they started hosing down the kitchen, the commander heard himself shout, “ Let’s get out of here!” without realizing why. The floor collapsed almost immediately after the firefighters escaped. Only after the act did the commander realize that the fire had been unusually quiet and that his ears had been unusually hot. Together, these impressions prompted what he called a “sixth sense of danger”. He had no idea what was wrong, but he knew something was wrong. It turned out that the heart of the fire had not been in the kitchen but in the basement beneath where the men had stood”
There are other scholarsthat study intuitive thinking. In another blog post we will pay attention to Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is a 2005 book by Malcolm Gladwell. It is all about mental processes that work rapidly and automatically from relatively little information. It considers both the strengths of the adaptive unconscious, for example in expert judgement, and its pitfalls such as stereotypes.
There are surely marvels in using your intuition.Edward de Bono dedicated one specific thinking hat to feelings, emotions, beliefs and intuition – the Red Hat. Doing so, he separated spontaneous thinking from deliberate rational thinking.
In the next blog we will draw a concept map about the ideas of Daniel Kahneman about the how rational thinking influences intuitive thinking, and how intuitive thinking influence rational thinking. To lift a corner of the veil: Kahneman hypotheses that there are two virtual systems working in the brain. An automatic associative memory that constructs a coherent interpretation of what is going on in our world at any instant. He calls it system 1. A much slower system 2 that prevents system 1 for biases and errors, but is a rather lazy one.
Photo: “Hole Wall And Fire” by twobee