3 Ideas in 2 Minutes on the Life and Death of Ideas
The 6-3-5 Method, the Brain-Attic & the Purpose of Thinking
I. The 6-3-5 Method
6-3-5 is a simple brainstorming method designed to stimulate the generation of ideas:
Gather a group of 6, have each person write down 3 ideas within 5 minutes.
Have the group exchange the sheets so another person can review the ideas and add 3 more within 5 additional minutes.
Repeat the process until every group member had the chance to consider and contribute to every sheet.
Source: Hank Prunckun, Scientific Methods of Inquiry for Intelligence Analysis
II. The Brain-Attic
Master of deduction Sherlock Holmes was known for his selective ignorance. He famously didn’t much care about useless facts, such as the earth revolving around the sun. Here’s the 19th-century Mr Holmes explaining the reasoning behind this:
I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic.
He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
—Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet
Check out my latest post about 21st-century Sherlock’s Mind Palace Technique, a method to recall information through visualisation.
III. The Purpose of Thinking
English mathematician Alfred North Whitehead on the human advantage of being able to think things through:
The purpose of thinking is to let the ideas die instead of us dying.
—Alfred North Whitehead
Admittedly, that doesn’t make it less painful. 🐘
Have a great week,