Solving Real-Life Problems

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Here is a step-by-step method for using thought experiments to solve real life problems.

Reference: Scientific method from Wikipedia

(1) Use your experience

  • Consider the problem.
  • Look for previous explanations.
  • Try to eliminate all inconsistencies using the 12 aspects of mindfulness (see below).

(2) Form a conjecture

  • State a simple hypothesis or conjecture no matter how unconventional it may appear.

(3) Deduce a prediction from that explanation

  • Predict consequences that may follow from that explanation.

(4) Test (Experiment)

  • Check for the opposite of each consequence to disprove the conjecture.

Note that this can never absolutely verify (prove the truth of) the conjecture. It can only falsify the conjecture.

  • If the conjecture cannot be disproven then continue with step (1) until the complexity of the problem is adequately addressed.
  • If the conjecture is disproven then go back to step (2).

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Here are the 12 aspects of mindfulness.

Reference: The 12 Aspects of Mindfulness
  1. Observe without getting influenced by your expectations and desire for answers.

  2. Observe things as they are, without assuming anything.

  3. If something is missing do not imagine something else in its place.

  4. If something does not make sense then do not explain it away.

  5. Use physical senses as well as mental sense to observe.

  6. Let the mind un-stack itself.

  7. Experience fully what is there.

  8. Do not suppress anything.

  9. Associate data freely.

  10. Do not get hung up on name and form.

  11. Contemplate thoughtfully.

  12. Let it all be effortless.

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Comments

  • vinaire  On January 19, 2015 at 4:40 PM

    This is an answer to the following question on Quora.

    http://www.quora.com/What-is-the-best-step-by-step-process-for-using-thought-experiments-to-solve-real-life-problems
    .

  • vinaire  On January 20, 2015 at 3:23 PM

    When looking at a problem, first look at it in the context that is most familiar to you. Then look at it in an increasingly wider context.

    For example, you may look at the problem in a wider context of time. Has it happened before? How far back? How many times? When was the first time? What has been the circumstances? Is there something common to all these instances? Look at the problem in as wide a temporal context as it is real to you.

    You may also look at the problem in a widening context of life. Does this problem happen to other people also? Does it happen in families? Does it happen in societies? How widespread is this problem? Does it happen in a still wider context of cultures and even mankind? Is it a universal problem? Look at the problem in as wide an existential context as it is real to you.

  • vinaire  On January 20, 2015 at 3:50 PM

    In exploring an inconsistency one must visualize all the details with as much reality as possible. This shall include all thoughts, emotions and efforts involved.

    Once you have explored a problem or inconsistency enough then go back and look at the overall situation. Assess how it appears to you now in light of the exploration so far. If your attention goes back to the same inconsistency then continue exploring it further by looking at it in increasingly finer details. If your attention now goes to a new inconsistency then start exploring that inconsistency the same way as you did the previous one.

    Continue with this process until the overall situation starts to resolve. The full resolution may take detailed exploration of many inconsistencies.

    .

  • vinaire  On January 23, 2015 at 6:13 AM

    When exploring an inconsistency, never force any recall or visualization. Simply provide the context in which you want to explore the inconsistency and then let the mind present the details. If no details come up then so be it. Move to the next context.

    If mind present questions, then explore the existing answers as available in references. Look at what others have experienced.

  • Kathleen D. Watkins  On March 1, 2015 at 5:41 AM

    Thanks for giving us logical steps in solving a problem. Every problem has a solution. If it does not have a solution anymore, then its just the truth.

  • vinaire  On March 17, 2015 at 7:58 AM

    Mental perception is very different from physical perception. We try to reference it from physical perception, but, I think, we should look at it from a totally fresh viewpoint.

    Mental perception is the concrete or abstract visualization that is free of inconsistencies.

    Mental perception starts out as visualization. We may call it imagination.The basis of mental perception lies in something that is puzzling to us. Obviously, the physical perceptions have created that puzzle because we are unable to access all physical perceptions fully.

    So we, use mental visualization to fill the gaps in physical perceptions in such a way that the inconsistencies, which have been puzzling us, are resolved. It is like solving a puzzle. This is step 1 of the Scientific Method. This is where a large part of scientific investigation is carried out. But this also goes on continuously in life.

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