Problem Solving


Thinking for yourself, through others

We learn to think for ourselves by learning the thoughts of other people.

The person who claims to think for himself, but rejects studying from other sources, is influenced by a source he is unaware of. The way to really think independently is to gain enough knowledge so that you can discover hidden assumptions in your views.

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Problem Solving

Our confusion about thinking

Our confusion stems from philosopher Rene Descartes, who decided to withdraw into his room and discard any knowledge that could be faulty. He chose to work from first principles on things he knew to be true from experience.

His new philosophy was formulated as, "I think, therefore I am." Modern philosophy is set in motion by his idea, except that his statement was not that original. Isaac Beeckman may have suggested some of Descartes ideas.

We all start as captives of the beliefs that are in our surroundings.

However, if you want to have independent thoughts, you have to learn more from both those with whom you agree and disagree.


It would be mistaken to think accumulating knowledge always lead to independent thought. We are all aware of groupthink and conformity.

But, conformity and groupthink are solved by more learning. The more you come in contact with ideas, the easier it is to notice faulty reasoning.

Our culture praises originality and creativity. We want our students to think for themselves and not follow blindly.

But thinking for oneself does not mean zero input from others. It means, first, thinking through the ideas of other people. Creativity depends on copying others' ideas.

This element of storytelling focuses on turning around the satire's tool so that instead of laughing at someone else, you will smile at yourself.

This method can have analgesic effects, putting you in a serene state of feeling. A modern example would be Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

As recorded by Aristotle in Poetics, this invention's blueprint is a plot that discloses to the audience that a character is going to get hurt.

Aristotle hypothesised that this invention could stimulate catharsis, releasing the emotional tension after a traumatic fear. Modern research supports this idea. The hurt delay can increase our self-efficacy, a kind of mental strength that makes us better able to recover from our own experiences of trauma.

Reoccuring Story Elements

Shortly after 335 B.C., Greek philosopher Aristotle wrote a short treatise where he proposed that literature was many inventions, each constructed from an innovative use of story.

He suggested that the elements in a story could plug into our imagination, emotions, and other parts of our being, solve problems, and enhance our mental function.

Here, a narrator uses a future-tense voice to address us in the present. In the late 19th century, this invention was engineered into the foundation of the modern thriller, such as H. Rider Haggard in King Solomon's Mines or variants such as The Bourne Identity.

This one can have a potent neural effect: it boosts curiosity, immediately elevating your enthusiasm and energy levels.

This helps with boosting your creativity. This innovation's blueprint is a rule-breaking element inside a larger formal structure, such as the Mother Goose's Medley nursery rhyme:

"Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon."

The secret discloser activates dopamine neurons in the brain to convey the hedonic benefits of loving and being loved, making you more cheerful.

The 1952 love song by E. E. Cummings: "here is the deepest secret nobody knows/ I carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)"

Variants outside of poetry can be found in, for example, the novels of Charlotte Brontë.

This invention is a story told by someone with a human heart and a god's all-seeing eye. Homer first used it in The Iliad, but you can find it throughout more recent fiction.

The invention works by tricking your brain into feeling like you're chanting with a greater human voice. It stimulates an endocrine response that is linked to feeling brave.

In this narrative technique, the narrator leads us inside a character's mind to see the character's remorse. For example, in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, Jo March regrets accidentally burning her sister Meg's hair.

The invention's viewing of a character's private feeling of self-critique stimulates empathy.

The plot twist thrilled Aristotle when he discovered it.

  • It supported his view that literature's inventions were constructed from story.
  • It confirmed that literary inventions could have powerful psychological effects. Recent research shows that when a story turns unexpectedly, it can stimulate a self-transcendent or "spiritual" experience, increasing our overall sense of life purpose.
  • Applying the brown M&Ms into your work life or personal life will make it easier and quicker to assess the things you want to assess.
  • However, despite the situation some people, by luck, could sneak their way in.
  • It is essential to understand how the principle works in order to use it to its full potential and not miss anything important.
  • To use the principle effectively, figure out the things you will be assessing and what your end goal is and modify as needed.
The Origin of the Brown M&Ms Principle

The brown M&M’s principle is the idea that small details can sometimes serve as useful indicators of big issues.

The Brown M&M Principle is also known as the Van Halen Principle originally came from the well-known rock band, Van Halen. Their band's performance was known to be engaging and unforgettable. The brown M&Ms clause was placed in Van Halen's contract to see if their needs were meticulously prepared as they asked for. If a brown M&M is present at their backstage dressing room, they would immediately know that the contract was not read well.

  • The Brown M&M principle is a widely known tactic which you now can use towards your own advantage.
  • Everyone has their own brown M&Ms while some have multiple brown M&Ms. In order to identify what they may be, err on the side of caution and pay attention the all the necessary details.
  • This principle is used to guide you into making the right decision based off of your criteria. It should generally only be used as a part of your judgment and decision-making process.
Relying on more complex tools increase the ability to teach

Humans are most capable of passing knowledge down the generations.

Simple and complex tools generally improve through generations. A study found that with complex tools, teaching consistently led to more improvement compared to other conditions.

Our ancestors could have started to make modest improvements to simple tools without the need for teaching.

However, as tools became more complex, teaching started to become beneficial. Improved teaching skills would, in turn, allow for the creation of more complex and efficient tools.

Hobby to business: questions to ask
  • Will I enjoy doing my hobby on a deadline?
  • Will I enjoy doing this with constant financial pressure to perform?
  • Is this hobby my outlet for relaxation? Because, if it is, you're going to have to find something else to do to unwind.
  • Am I up for a challenge? It can be deeply fulfilling, but it definitely won't be easy.
  • Am I willing to sell myself? Be prepared to sell. It's a skill you will have to learn. 

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