Why Did I Not Think of That?

I am often amazed by ideas, points of view, new insights, writings and innovations that others come up with. I keep asking myself, “why did I not think of that”?

So I did a little thinking and came up with this preliminary list:

  • Do I see what most of the others miss?
  • If I do, do I observe it to learn more?
  • Do I reflect about my observations?
  • Do I form hypotheses based on my observations?
  • Do I look for evidence to prove or disprove my hypotheses?
  • Do I share it with others and get other points of view?
  • Do I write about my theories and see whether it evokes any interest?
  • Do I think about the future (not just mine) of everything I use everyday?

If I do, how often do I do it? What about you?

Steven Pinker: Human Intelligence

In this TED Talk,  Steven Pinker talks about the way we use words, how we learn, and how we relate to others.

Human Intelligence consists of:

  • A repertoire of concepts (objects, space, time, causation, intention) useful in social, knowledge intensive species
  • A process of metaphorical abstraction: conceptual structure bleached of its content, applied to new abstract domains

Language – Not Just the Transfer of Ideas

About Semantics from The Stuff of Thought by Steven Pinker

Semantics is about the relation of words to thoughts, but it is also the about the relation of words to other human concerns. Semantics is about the relation of words to reality – the way that speakers commit to a shared understanding of the truth, and the way their thoughts are anchored to things and situations in the world. It is about the relation of words to a community – how a new word, which arises in the act of creation by a single speaker, comes to evoke the same idea in the rest of the population so people can understand one another when they use it. It is about the relation of words to emotions: the way in which words just point to things but are saturated with feelings, which can endow the words with a sense of magic, taboo, and sin. And it is about the words and social relations – how people use language not just to transfer ideas from head to head but to negotiate the kind of relationship they wish to have with their conversational partner.