Integrating Logic Instead of Shouting Into Debates and Life
One of the things intellectual humans do is ask “why” when a given situation arises. Take today’s chaos, for example. No matter where one falls on the political or social spectrum, they are going to compare it to some other part of their lives and ask, “Why is it so different? What is causing X, Y, and Z to happen?”
The more introspective people might come up with one answer that reflects their life experiences and biases. The more intellectual ones might look at patterns through history.
What if it’s logic we’re missing?
This article by Annie Holmquist on Intellectual Takeout wonders if it might be a lack of training in logical thinking that got us where we were today. Holmquist notes that Benjamin Franklin pointed out the importance of logic as part of education back in his day, but, sadly, modern-day public education has let that fallen by the way-side.
I don’t know. This seems to sit ill with me. Partially because I work in the education system and know the demands, but also because it seems like a pseudo-intellectual argument on her part. I think the term Holmquist might be looking for is a little known term of “complexipacity.” It seems to suit the situation better.
What is complexipacity?
Complexipacity is a term coined by futurist and strategic forecaster, David Pearce Snyder. This phrase is used to describe an individual’s or organisation’s threshold for comprehend and take up complex scenarios. This includes: complex ideas, systems, problems, situations, interactions, or relationships. The complexipacity grows with maturity and experience, but may decrease later in life as we “settle in our ways.”
Something we teach parents at Insanitek is that complexipacity is built into all our life experiences, both at home and out in the “real world.” Believe it or not, it’s something that we all develop naturally as we experience cause and reactions. Eat too many sweets? You’re likely to develop a stomach ache. Our brains create a feedback loop.
Complexipacity is the core to many areas of life: avoiding traffic accidents, handling disputes of a customer, inventing rocketry that would take man beyond the moon, running a cozy company that sells chocolates. We live and learn by our personal experiences. With complexipacity, a person can navigate a variety of situations through layers of nuance with confidence.
So is it logic that we’re missing? I don’t think so. I think it’s the bite-in-the-arse type of experiences that people really learn from that are missing.
There is something in neuroscience and the study of memory called metacognition.
Metacognition is often defined as the thinking we do about thinking. I like to think of it as that inner 4-year-old asking “why” over and over again. Why can’t I have chocolate cake for breakfast? Why is it bad for my health? Why does the body need nutrients? Why… why…. Why.
But, it’s also the adult telling the inner 4-year-old great answers, not just “because I said so.” Try this simple exercise to enhance your own metacognition:
Next time you read something, ask yourself “What do I intend to get out of this?” Then, as you read, look for those specific points that will help you obtain that specific goal. What you are doing in that moment is triggering your brain to start thinking about this particular article in a critical fashion. You look for what you want and make a decision on whether or not the article gives it to you.
This is a simple, but powerful tool you can use to develop more complex thinking and interactions with every part of your world. And a bonus is by asking why and getting people to answer, you’re also helping them develop the same complexipacity.