May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized
Another mental tool I find useful in understanding an issue is to break it up in three parts with the following questions:
- Wat are the street smarts? (Street smarts give an indication of whether there is practical know-how.) It reminds me of Karl Popper’s famous remark when at age 17 he took off from university to become an apprentice in joinery. Said he, only if you have learnt to do things with your hands do you appreciate the material world’s resistance to the execution of ideas.
- Wat is the theory behind this? Is there any theory? Otherwise how can I predict possible outcomes? How can I compare with other approaches?
- What is the philosophy behind this? Is there a philosophy? Is there a wider framework that reaches beyond the present issue and integrates it into other areas of life? A very succesful business friend of mine once said ” A business with a clear cut philosophy will succeed.” Overstated, I think, but with a solid kernel of truth.
The three questions quickly help me to distinguish the fluff from the substance ( all tips, no theory or philosophy) or the impractical from the feasible (all theory and philosophy, no street smarts) or the ponderous and irrelevant, all philosophical fluff and no theory or street smarts.