Brainstorming Advice [CF Article]

Sometimes it helps to brainstorm privately, but that isn’t as useful as you might expect. It’s more common to hide stuff from both yourself and others rather than just others. Most of what people hide from others is what they’re hiding from themselves. It’s their own opinion and judgment that they care about and fear the most. People don’t want to reveal they’re dumb to themselves or see themselves as dumb.

A person might also see himself as dumb already and think there’s no point in brainstorming cuz his ideas will suck.

The article doesn’t really explain why you think learning how to brainstorm is important, but I think I vaguely understand why. Brainstorming is the conjecture phase of conjecture and criticism, and it’s probably ~impossible to get stuck if you can come up with enough conjectures.

That sounds reasonable, so I’ll practice brainstorming. It also looks fun.

unrelated: I particularly liked these two sentences

Most of what people hide from others is what they’re hiding from themselves. It’s their own opinion and judgment that they care about and fear the most.

I did a few brainstorming sessions over a few days. I didn’t run into any obstructions while brainstorming; I was always able to do a decent amount of it on any topic I chose. However, I also didn’t seem to be getting faster at it or anything.

I don’t have clear brainstorming-related goals, which probably means I don’t have a good enough understanding of why learning how to brainstorm is important. I’m going to stop practicing it until I get a better understanding of why to do it, which I assume will be explained somewhere in Popper.

CR says all learning is by conjectures and refutations. brainstorming means consciously creating conjectures. refutations are also a type of conjecture which can be brainstormed.

an example of where you should use brainstorming is to read my sentences. you should brainstorm meanings they might have. what you do now is rely primarily on old, subconscious automatizations that tell you what my sentences mean. the old automatizations don’t work well enough. so you should use a conscious process and try to do better than your intuition. optimize until it works satisfactorily well and fixes a bunch of errors – e.g. improves attention to detail significantly – then automatize that new process to replace the old automatizations.

you shouldn’t expect noticeable results on the timescale of a few days. being good and fast at core thinking skills takes years of effort. or in other words, if you worked on it for the next year, you wouldn’t run out of things to do (if you seemed to, that means you got stuck). practice and improvement for this kind of thing needs to be integrated into life, but most people find that too hard initially so they should practice specific parts, like brainstorming a list of ten things without “drawing a blank” (a common problem), in isolation. if you don’t have the drawing a blank problem you should consider what problems you do have and how to use practice to deal with them (one problem is attention to detail).

ohhhh. this was very helpful, thanks.

I knew this

abstractly, but didn’t connect the dots and see reading as an application.

This now gives me a very concrete & well-motivated brainstorming goal. I’ll find a reading comprehension test, I’ll brainstorm explicitly about the meaning of the sentences, I’ll try to get a sense of the ~minimum amount of brainstorming I need to do to reliably get 100% of the questions right, then I’ll practice doing that amount of brainstorming on demand over and over again to get faster. I can literally measure my progress in wpm.

You often talk about automatizing grammar. My guess is that you think having good automatizations for grammar parsing is key to making the brainstorming about the meanings of sentences faster.