Motto: “I think- I exist. I decide- I live.”
I had to decide how to present my problem solving rules. Are my potential readers prepared to accept them? Or should I continue to explain first about negative discoveries ( a la Daniel Boorstin), negative definitions (sometimes more comprehensive than the positive ones), negative information (actually it means absent, not missing: in thinking details are critical) and about (n)negativity per se?
Then I decided to jump immediately in mediam res
In http://egooutpeters.blogspot.com/2011/01/my-favorite-i-word.html it is shown that the infinite, inherent, inexorable interestingness of the world creates myriads of situations not good for us humans- and we want to change them- i.e. is an inexhaustible source of problems.
In http://egooutpeters.blogspot.com/2011/02/can-you-guess-word.html I have demonstrated the formidable power of the word
NO (NOT)- and the rules are all based on this word.
Ruth, the wife of Daniel Boorstin, the great American historian and thinker http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_J._Boorstin has created a wonderful metaphor/word-play to illustrate the power of the negative: “Gordian Nots”. To be used together with her husband’s essay “The Age of Negative Discovery”
This is my offer of Gordian Nots for problem solving.
MY PROBLEM SOLVING RULES
1. There are NO isolated problems, they always come in dynamic bunches
2. There are NO final solutions for the really great problems, these have to be solved again and again.
3. NOT solving the problem, but defining it is the critical step .
4. NOT the unknown data, but those known and untrue are the greatest obstacle to ths solution.
5. .NOT what we know, but what we don’t know is more important for solving the problem.
6. NOT the main desired positive effect, but those secondary negative and/or undesired effects decide in most cases if a solution is implemented.
7. NOT all problems have a complete, genuine solution.
8 .NOT the solutions that seem perfect from the start, but those which are very perfectible are the best in many cases.
9. NOT the bright, shiny, spectacular solutions but those elaborated, worked out with difficulty and effort and patience are more valuable and have a larger area of applicability.
10.NOT the solutions that are logical and perfectly rational, but those that are adequate for the feelings of the potential users, even if they are ilogical, have the greatest chances of fast implementation.
11. NOT the quality of the solution but the speed of its implementaion is the decisive factor in many cases. It can be better to have a partial solution applied fast than a slower almost perfect solution.
12. Do NOT accept the premises of the problem, change them as necessary and possible.
13. Do NOT stop at the first solution, seek for alternatives.
Just some remarks:
1)These rules do NOT refer to mathemathical problems but to real life, say, professional and personal, practical problems, asking for good solutioms
2) All these rules use the potential of NO (NOT) to generate natural approaches- in other words to fight existence in it’s own ways.
Rules No. 1 and 2 speak about absence- some evil or harmful issues or ideas must be absent if we want to find a solution.
Rules No. 3 to 11 are based on surprise something unexpected will
happen. Or, we have to make it happen, problems cannot be defeated by standard thinking.
The last two rules prohibit useless or erronated actions.
Only practice can demonstrate the value and usability of these rules..
3) The rules are not arranged in the order of their discovery- No. 3 is the most known- almost an proverb. They are not arranged according to importance- No. 12 by far the most important because it allows us to re-define pragmatically the very wicked, intractable or insoluble problems as: “problems that can be solved only after radically changing their premises.” This is the great difference between the mathematical and the real-life problems.
They are not arranged according to the degree of difficulty because this is problem-dependent.
4) The list of these rules is not closed- they are 13 now (I am not superstitious) but I will try new ones or accept your ideas- as soon as the magic word is present.
5) These Rules are not commandaments, they have to be used with flexibility and creativity, combined, alternatively or succesively
adjusted to the peculiarities of the problem that has to be solved.
6) These Rules do not pretend to be perfect or definitive. They can be in part redondant, the set is partially repetitive, they are even osme contradictions between some of the rules. But exactly so is our existence that delivers us the problems. Their openness and perfectibility are advantages not weaknesses.
7) The Rules are based on my experience, thinking and a series of satori-like events. However, please believe me, they are NOT the work of an amateur I have studied books and papers re. Problem solving, applied problemology, and I have gathered all the wise sayings re problems and solutiom. What I have learned from all these is here- in this group of ideas, in a purified and condensed form.
8) These rules do NOT form a theory of problem solving. They serve for actual work. The philosophy of problem solving is a noble task of paramount importance- but a different one.
9) You cannot use my rules of problem solving. I am giving them to you with pleasure, wholeheartedly. When they will be your own rules, you will be surprised by their efficiency.