The Science of Thinking

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I just can’t help myself, but to continuously rehash what I find on Maria Popova‘s insightful blog BrainPickings! This particular post caught my attention because I felt it was relevant to the dialogue in several past Dd articles…the concept of what we consider to be “failure,” “uncertainty,” as well as a plethora of other life’s complications and how this affects our development as intellectual, thoughtful individuals.

I love this blog not only because it makes me examine things in my life, but it also gives me great resources to do so.

John Brochman gathered experts to examine the development of the human intellect

Maria’s latest book of mention is the John Brockman’s (editor of the Edge) This Will Make You Smarter


Brockman collaborated with psycholinguist Steven Pinker and psychologist Daniel Kahneman to examine the question on everyone’s mind, “What will make me smarter?”


In the end, they compiled a collection of essays from authors, scientists, architects, and a variety of other “big thinkers” – breaking down how factors such as social networks, daydreaming, educational scenarios, and other cognitive influences affect the way  we think and act.

Believe it or not, daydreaming may have its perks!


It sounds like an interesting amalgamation of information – chronicling how society develops, gains, and breaks down knowledge – a evolution of sorts.

However, what stuck out to me the most was the notion that not only is “failure, “letdowns,” or “uncertainty” necessary for development, but actually makes you smarter. Perhaps, this is a selfish hope, as everyday I am uncertain about when to fully step away from this crazy world of dance.

Wired founder Kevin Kelly notes:

Failure is not something to be avoided but rather something to be cultivated. That’s a lesson from science that benefits not only laboratory research, but design, sport, engineering, art, entrepreneurship, and even daily life itself. All creative avenues yield the maximum when failures are embraced.


The chief innovation that science brought to the state of defeat is a way to manage mishaps. Blunders are kept small, manageable, constant, and trackable. Flops are not quite deliberate, but they are channeled so that something is learned each time things fell. It becomes a matter of failing forward.”

I dig it. Do you?


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Showing 2 comments
  • candice

    I totally believe it and dig it. “Failing forward” is perfect. It reminds me of a hike I was taking once and the guide kept reminding me on the way down to “keep your nose over your toes” because when you lean back to feel safe, and gravity takes you down, there is no way to break your fall. Falling or Failing forward is always the way to go!

  • Heather

    This is such an interesting concept and totally relevant to our recent convos…I want to fail and fail big! I have to agree that the times in my life when I underwent what I percieved as “failure,” were the times when I really did grow the most as a thinker and as a person. Nice post lady!

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