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David R.

@dav_rr748

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Mental Maps

A mental map is a first-person perspective of an area that an individual possesses. This is a type of subconscious map that shows the individual what places look like and how to interact with them.

Every individual has their own mental map, a large and a small one, wherein the former is used to recall towns, states, and countries; while the latter is to navigate smaller areas like your home, or the way to your favorite cafe. We subconsciously use our mental maps to plan all of our activities.

@dav_rr748

Mental Maps: You Don't Need a GPS to Get Where You Want to Go

thoughtco.com

There is a division in psychology that looks at human and animal behavior, that division is called behaviorism. This theory assumes that every single behavior done is a response to environmental stimuli.

With this understanding, behavioral geography is seeking to understand how people build, how they change, and how the landscapes, in particular, affect and influence the behavior of both humans and animals.

  1. The possibility of every individual having different mind maps is likely. This is due to the fact that mental maps aren't just the perceptions of your own spaces, but they are also the perceptions of places you've never been to before.
  2. Mental maps are based on assumptions and conjecture which can affect human interaction significantly.
  3. Borders of neighboring countries may see boundaries differently.

Since mental maps can be created for places you've never been to for social media, news outlets, and even movies are able to depict faraway places for people to vividly create their own mental maps of them.

However, most media representations of these places are not entirely accurate and will only cause the formation of distorted or error-filled mental maps. Such in the case of the map we've all grown to see, the Mercator's map, wherein for centuries it has depicted the size of Africa wrongly.

As humans, we often subconsciously attach emotion to the mental maps we've created along with the infromation that we've come to know, whether it may be accurate or not, this significantly alter's one's perception.

We must keep in mind that we shouldn't fully trust the infromation that is delivered to us. This is a deplorable issue that is never to be taken lightly like biased crime statistics, because regardless of where it may be from, it has enough power to influence over someone's choices.

  • Jootsing or “Jumping Out Of The System” is a technique to encourage creativity in science, philosophy, and the arts.
  • All systems have rules. With jootsing, a system’s rules can be used as a starting point to work against.
  • The term was coined by Douglas Hofstadter, an American scholar of cognitive science, physics, and comparative literature.

Jootsing: the art of jumping out of the system

nesslabs.com

Daniel Dennett
“It helps to know the tradition if you want to subvert it. That’s why so few dabblers or novices succeed in coming up with anything truly creative.”
  • Jootsing means studying the rules of the system before you can break them.
  • Jootsing is a much more extreme version of thinking outside the box. Jootsing forces us to completely break away from the box, to create within a space that breaks the fundamental characteristics of the box.
  • But jootsing is not about breaking the rules for the sake of breaking the rules.
  • “You need water to use shampoo” → Dry shampoo
  • “You need a license to drive a taxi” → Uber
  • “You need alcohol to make cocktails” → Mocktails.
Jootsing Consists Of Three Steps
  • Study the system. Read all the fundamental books, articles, and research papers that explore your system of interest. Contact experts, ask questions, become familiar with relevant policies. 
  • Understand the rules. While you study the system, make sure to take notes as to what rules are commonly considered as unbreakable. 
  • Jump out of the system. Take the rules one by one, and think of ways to break each of them.
Cautiously Optimistic

Our predictions usually seem to fall towards extremes, either too optimistic or too pessimistic. We underestimate how bad things can be in the short term, and how much better they can eventually turn out to be in the longer run. This leads to bad decisions, laughably wrong forecasts and predictions and a lot of confusion.

A reasonably optimistic person is a little cautious, a little cynical, and expects surprises, setbacks, bewilderment and disappointment.

The Reasonable Optimist · Collaborative Fund

collaborativefund.com

Too much optimism prevents us from accurately predicting and understanding the pain and struggle that is inevitable in the future.

What it does is it reduces our stress and anxiety and provides a ‘playground’ where we can imagine alternative realities which we need to believe in.

A realistically optimistic person knows that though things will happen, things that will be surprising, disappointing or completely out of control.

The war-torn countries of the 1940s, Germany and Japan, quickly recovered and exceeded the expectations of the world, ranking much higher in development than many countries who had not experienced war.


Progress happens at an exponential rate when people learn new things, and when there is collective pain, suffering and misery, people learn a lot.

  1. Creativity is only needed at the top. The truth is that creativity applies to everything. The executives are not only the ones who experience conflict, everyone does.
  2. People are creative (or not) based on what they do. But creativity does not only appear for artistic people. It manifests in every field.
  3. Creativity can’t be developed. But creativity is not born, it is developed by continuous practice and focus.
  4. "Creativity isn’t my job". In reality, creativity must be applied at all levels. Everyone could benefit from being creative.
  5. _"My technical skills and experience are enough." _The truth is those skills and experiences could be enhanced with creativity. Don't just rely on what you know, be creative in applying it.

5 Common Myths About Creativity

forbes.com

The Helsinki Bus Station Theory

The Helsinki Bus Station Theory broadly means that our creativity, life and career paths may seem the same as we begin, but our uniqueness and real creative work starts as we branch out eventually, discovering our niche, and being masters of our work in a unique way.

The Proven Path to Creating Unique and Meaningful Work

jamesclear.com

Staying on the Bus

If a person 'stays on the bus', gives his best and goes the mile in his work, in time, he will start to see his work shine.

Mastery requires Consistency

Consistency leads to eventual success, which may not be visible in the start (just as a start of bus journey from the same familiar routes) but as life branches out, things start to take shape.

Re-work and Revise

Re-working, re-visiting, and revision of your learning and your creative piece will make all the difference.

Elite, super successful people revise and rework their way to mastery.

The Problem Of Indeterminacy Explained

Due to factors such as ‘analysis paralysis’, many people are unable to resolve a problem, feeling uncomfortable and experiencing confusion and obstacles, falling into the state of indeterminacy.

Some people take the problems head-on even if they don’t understand them fully, and others pretend that they understand, but do not.

Don't Be Scared Of Indeterminacy

hackernoon.com

  1. Accept that you don’t know everything.
  2. You will learn as you move forward and embark on a solution.
  3. Keep reviewing, improvising and re-evaluating your plan.
  4. Beware of availability bias, where your present thinking seems more important and all-encompassing than it is.
How we perceive philosophy

When most people think of philosophy, they believe philosophers simply argue about arguing. Philosophy is viewed as impractical and irrelevant to current issues.

In reality, philosophy is likely more useful and important to the average person today than any other time in history.

Why We All Need Philosophy | Mark Manson

markmanson.net

Bertrand Russell
"Science is what you know. Philosophy is what you don’t know."

Philosophy is examining our understanding of reality and knowledge. Philosophy consists of three major branches:

  1. Metaphysics - What is true about existence.
  2. Epistemology - How we can know that it is true. Epistemology has given us science, logic/reason, economics, psychology, and other theories of knowledge.
  3. Ethics - What actions we should take as a result of this knowledge. Ethics contains concepts such as democracy, human rights, the treatment of animals, and the environment.

When you order your thoughts into a coherent belief system, you are engaging in philosophy. To criticize philosophy, you must rely on philosophy.

Philosophy then teaches us the fundamental techniques to find meaning and purpose. At some point in our lives, we have to ask and answer the following questions for ourselves.

  • What is true?
  • Why do I believe it to be true?
  • How should I live based on what I believe?

Not answering these questions will result in a mental or emotional crisis, such as depression, anxiety, and an inability to find a sense of purpose.

The 21st-century life interfered with our ability to answer these questions:

  • What I know to be true?. The flood of information (fake news, bad science, social media rumors, manipulative marketing, propaganda) is harder to understand if you can't trust information.
  • How I know what is true?. Scandals of corruption are unveiled in every major institution. We are also more aware of irrational biases, prejudices, and wrong assumptions.
  • How I should live based on what I believe?. Without knowing what is true or how to find truth, it is less clear how we should live. It creates a sense of existential anxiety and insecurity.
  • René Descartes wrote in 1641, "I think; therefore I am." Descartes realized that we could never be sure that our perceptions are true - Your memories could be invented. Your room could be a hallucination. - But he knew with certainty that he existed. The fact that he could ask questions meant that he existed.
  • About a hundred years later, David Hume showed that we could never be sure that our understanding of cause and effect is true. No matter how often something occured in the past, it is impossible to prove that it will happen in the future.
  • Immanuel Kant built on Descartes' and Hume's ideas and said there is a difference between our perception of something and the thing in itself. I can see a tree, I can touch it and experience it, but I can never know the tree or experience life as the tree experiences life. I can only interpret the tree through my own senses.

All this is a way to show that whatever you believe you know to be true - you don't. Human understanding is too limited. We should then be careful what we choose to accept as true.

Once you begin to question the significance of everything that happens in your life, you may realize that much of what you believe and value was not determined by you but by the people and culture around you.

In many cases, we grew up with good values, but everyone has its dysfunctions and obsessions. As adults, we need to reevaluate our values and beliefs and define what matters among a flood of useless information. Doing so will carry consequences for our own mental and emotional well-being. It will also determine the kind of footprint we leave in the world.

Marcus Aurelius
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane."

Philosophy deals with concepts that are abstract and universal. Much effort goes into redefining definitions of ideas such as justice, equality, and freedom. These abstract ideas spread to ground-level activists and politicians who, over the years, materialize these ideas that reshape our lives.

Unless you are aware of them and notice the intellectual forces shaping and dictating how you view the world, you are helpless and will be influenced by them.

The Appeal to Force

This fallacy occurs when a person makes a threat of physical or psychological violence against others if they refuse to accept the conclusions offered. It can also happen when a person claims that accepting a conclusion or idea will lead to harm or disaster.

Children are more prone to this fallacy when they say, "If you don't agree, I'll punish you!"

Appeal to Force/Fear - Argumentum ad Baculum

thoughtco.com

Adults use the fallacy more subtly.

"If you don't support the spending bill to develop better airplanes, our enemies will think we are weak and will attack us at some point, killing millions." The person offering this argument is using psychological pressure to get agreement. There is no apparent connection between "our enemies" and the conclusion that it will be in the country's best interest.

Articles and their authors

When living difficult times, people feel the need to know that they are safe and they mostly try to find this safety in the articles they read, the news they listen to and the people they love.

However, it is also during these times that authors write down less or more well-documented opinions. And this is something you should definitely pay attention to when reading an article.

Stretching the Expertise Bubble

psychologytoday.com

The so-called 'expertise bubble' refers to the fact that an expert's knowledge can only apply directly to a limited amount of matters or to particular situations or settings.

When they provide insights on a topic in which their expertise bubble overlaps, this leads to the so-called 'the expertise sweet spot'. On the contrary, when the gap becomes big, their insights lose value.

In order to make sure that you are adopting a valid position of a true expert, try out the below techniques that will help you determine how well the person really masters his or her field:

  • Whenever a person claims to be an expert in a field where they do not have previous experience, double check their claims.
  • If the problem is complex and one person claims to know the answer, learn to be doubtful and double check.
  • When the expert prefers to use the technique of the best/ worst scenarios, better embrace skepticism.
  • If the expert relies on counterintuitive claims, check out his reasoning.
Structured thinking

With structured thinking, you methodically break down problems and solve them bit by bit.

It's your ability to use logic, practice deduction, and build a big answer by asking many small questions.

This 3-Minute Exercise Will Change the Way You Solve Problems

forge.medium.com

The best way to improve your structured thinking is to ask yourself questions where you can't find the answers online (like, for example, how many customers visit your favorite restaurant every year?)

First, you start with what you know, then further break the problem down.

Structure may seem like it is stifling creativity, but it is not. Creativity thrives on rules. Within the boundaries, your thoughts can think freely.

When you know how to think, not just what to think, you can become an innovative problem solver, which can benefit you throughout your life.

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