I’ve been reading Minksy’s latest book, The Emotion Machine, and he provides some interesting insights into how the mind works. One idea he has involves a “Critic-Selector” model, in which he suggests that we have a kind of “negative expertise” (i.e. a way of learning from our mistakes). The Critics are those who learn to recognize a kind of potential mistake before it happens. His thesis in the book is that “much of our human resourcefulness comes from our ability to switch among different Ways to Think” (83), and he suggests that the many and various emotional states of the brain are some of the very “Ways to Think” that we switch among in order to solve the problems of life. When he speaks of problem-solving as a way of briefly switching most of your Critics off (a.k.a. “brainstorming”) and then turning them on again to examine the options, I thought of Edward de Bono’s “Six Hats” method of creative thinking.
After my reading this morning, it occurred to me that my idea regarding new modes of thinking beyond the conceptual, modes which would capture the changes in thinking that the electronic apparatus are bringing about (the receptual, the exceptual, the deceptual, the inceptual) can connect to this work of de Bono and Minsky. Much of what Ulmer’s work focuses on is how to think creatively: his CATT(t) method, for example, and his book on Heuretics: The Logic of Invention.