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Archive for the ‘dialogue’ Category

I just discovered a wonderful proverb, said to be from west Africa:

If you give me an egg and I give you an egg, we each have one egg.

If you give me an idea and I give you an idea, we each have two ideas.

Of course sharing ideas is central to what slow thinking is about. And if we add to the wisdom of the proverb an understanding of generative dialogue, then we could perhaps say:

If you give me an idea and I give you an idea and we explore our ideas together, we may improve our ideas and discover several new ones along the way.

Ok, so I am unlikely to get a job as a crafter of pithy proverbs, but you get the idea. Slow thinking is at least about sharing ideas, but the energy comes from the interaction and enough time to explore. Our experience each time is that surprising and creative new lines of thinking emerge from the conversation after six or seven people have shared quite separate starting ideas.

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Steven Johnson, in his stimulating book, Emergence, offers a quote by the futurist, Ray Kurzweil to emphasis the importance of pattern formation and recognition.

Because each individual neuron is so slow, [Ray] Kurzweil explains, “we don’t have time to think too many new thoughts when we are pressed to make a decision. The human brain relies on precomputing its analyses and storing them for future reference. We then use our pattern-recognition capability to recognize a situation as compatible to one we have thought about and then draw upon our previously considered conclusions.”

I have offered some reflections on this quote in relation to slow thinking (and prejudice) on my blog, here.

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