One thing that I've been concerned about lately is how to maintain original thinking when diving into a new field. I think that we are subject to the conscious or unconscious effects of paradigm blindness when we learn about a new field. That is, once we learn how it's done traditionally, it's hard for us to come up with new original ideas. This could mean that we’re less able to come up with great ideas that really change a field, instead of incremental ideas that contribute a relatively smaller amount to it.
The reasoning is that, when we learn something new, we are also learning the frameworks and patterns of thought that accompany that new information. An example is the dual process theory of cognition popularized by Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky of System 1 (fast, instinctive thinking) vs. System 2 (slow, deliberative thinking)—when you learn this concept, you’re also learning to think within this framework.
But I think that the more we buy in to a framework of thinking as the ‘right way to think,’ the harder it is to think in novel, original ways. In other words, the more you think in traditional ways, the more you come up with more derivative, less original ideas. Not only that, but I think this happens subconsciously—since these are patterns of thought, we might not even be aware that we are using them, or ignoring that there might be better patterns out there (via confirmation bias).
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