why for some people, abstract comes easy? I don’t think it has to do with intuition, since for the most part, abstract objects are far beyond what we can perceive. Maybe it has to do with the ability to following the logic presented by that structure and discover the prominant characters. There are people who are capable of carrying out their thinking further than most others do. Is there a way one can train oneself for that development?

For instance, I read that in a mastectomy the surgeon discovered that the cancer has metastasized to the nearby lymph-nodes. He asked the husband if he wants to take the lymph-nodes out of his wife in this mastectomy instead of opening her up in the future. Ultimately, it is decision for the wife to make, but she was unconsious at the surgical table. How come the surgeon never anticipated this scenario before hand?

what are the hallmarks of thorough thinkers?

  1. Secondary, Tertiary Consequences. should they be chess player, they are those who look gazillion steps ahead and then backtrack to compute the optimal step for now.
  2. Risk Mitigation. have you ever met morons who would just jump into actions regardless of the potential downside?
  3. tentative. There are those who think they know it all, and speak absolutely. There are those who allows the possibility that their vantage point might be limited and speak in a tentative manner. Also I don’t think they are rigid. Sometimes the circumstances constrain the best outcome to be at a higher dimension, i.e. it might not be the optimal solution if you just look at it from one angle. Thorough thinkers are those can can pick up optimal point at high dimensions.
  4. leap. if there is a method for one to go deep into a problem, most people can get there eventuality then there are those who take the leap. They dare to look into places that is not suggestive of an answer.
  5. not just a parrot. sometimes I can feel a woodiness in people’s talk, almost like the experience is not his own, but he know that this is what if suppose to feel like. but there are other who speak in a synnesthesic way. For instance: it is illegal to compute a certain way(comparing math structures to legal systems); to depict an object with this defintiion( comparing math to painting); black-belt of mind. They speak in a particular way, dynamic, as if they are painting to you the animation they have in their minds.

If we categorize thinking into various levels, there seems to be few dimentions we can differentiate one from another:

  1. the considerations factored into his/her thinking. On one side of the spectrum are those who is on autopilot all the time, the thinking they factor in is one : what they are told to be true or trained on. On the other side of the spectrumn are infinity, usually we find housewifes there. Basically people who have too much time on their hands. The optimal seems to be those the know what are the high impact dimmentions they want to consider.
  2. dymanic: there are those who treat reality as static, and there are those who know things are dynamical and prepared for the changess.
  3. hidden information. think of information as oil, there are always more if you know how to squeeze.

Last night, I listened to a podcast of two John Hopkins doctors talk about medical school eduction. They concur that medical schools might be a good place to get an ‘archival style education’, it does not do as good a job teach people how to investigate. With the development of sensing and computing capacity in leaps and bounds, researchers in the healthcare space need to grow new lobes to be able to take advantage of all the new informations.

Their discussion brought me to think about what are the best stories of investigation I’ve ever heard. Here is a list:

  1. using linkedin data to piece together the picture. Institutions always try to deney things, that is their MO, but people in that institution need to find jobs hence detailing their projects in their linkedin page.
  2. due diligence. it is no secrete that chinese government fake their economics data, people went around to source “alternative information” such as satillite imiges, electronic consumptions etc.
  3. 3 RNA’s. I can’t fully recall the details of this particular discovery, but the gist is that people looking at the data and realized the only way this could have been true would be if the transcription is done in pairs of three.

what are the tools for a good investigator?

  1. thinking backward. What must be true for the data to be like that.
  2. alternative routes. usually, there is an obvious route leading to the conclution and numerous hidden routes that not many people can see.
  3. off the label use. things designed for one purpose can be appropriated for the other.
  4. statistical tools. this is actually one of the more potent tools one have and not as easy as one might think to master. much like the evolution from quantum mechanics to statistical mechanics, even if one can describe the interaction of every particle in full, when there are billions of then, information is easier to be registered via the statistical framework.

There are so much knowhow when it comes to physical training. How to handle injuries, how to prevent injuries in the first place, how to activate certain pathways which is known to elevate performance, what are the possible psychological breakdown point, how to reinforce oneself against those phsycological stresses, how to get in the zone etc.

Shouldn’t there be an analogous path for mental training?

Potential mental injury is excessive obcessiveness. It takes a ceratian mentality to get the the level of near perfection. Obcessiveness is almost required for acheivement, but when that mentality is carried over to other aspect of life, there might be problem. How to handle impefection, uncertainty, cyclicality, reality etc. There must be a pshycological routine that ca best prepare us against those potential injuries.

How to find the highly-leverage component of a system.

What about information fasting? It is true the information is crutial in modern economy, after all, you don’t want to be the sucker who pay the most price on things, which is what would happen if you left things on auto-pilot. But is continuous information intake really the alternative? Nowadays, you go on the street and everyone is looking at their phone. From trade talks to newly discovered carcinogen, every piece of information seems to be connected to our lives.

Maybe a better approach to treat information intake is to develop an information protocol where you go for the information rich resources and devour them in one setting. And then synthesize them by recalling.

Maybe there are different states of human existance, and the best approach is to alternating between them.