Arthur Conan Doyle gave Sherlock Holmes life apparently just to bring another tragedy to this world. Throughout his stories, Holmes continued to ruin his life and nearly killed himself twice.
Sliding into drugs (The Sign of the Four) or wrestling Professor Moriarty over Reichenbach Falls (The Final Problem) aren’t particularly ways to live long and successful lives. Holmes did say in that last book that his rewards for solving cases had finally left him financially independent. (Eventually, he retired to a small farm and took up beekeeping, as in His Last Bow.)
His numerous comments concerning relationships with women showed them to be a distraction to his main love, which was deductive forensics. His only known sustained relationship was with a woman who had bested him intellectually.
His only known relative was an admittedly smarter older brother, who Sherlock viewed as lazy, mentions him little, and visits him less. No parents ever surfaced or were discussed.
But is that a way to live your life? A recluse. Monastic. Addiction in remission. No familial relationships of note.
None of us would probably choose that sort of existence.
Holmes obviously missed in his deduction of his own life.
How can I say that?
Because I’ve been there, done that, and lived to tell the tale.
What I found in my own adventures could be called a Detective Engine, in Victorian English, but is really a simple life-analysis system you or anyone can apply to sort out and improve their lives.
The Game is Afoot!
If you would take Scientific Methodology in its simplicities, and then trace it back to the fundamentals of Logic, then you’d have a very workable model to solve things. What can it solve? Just about anything you throw at it. I haven’t found anything yet that stumped it.
Let’s take everything back to simplicities:
Logical thought is apparently based on comparison of two datums, which predicts a third.
If you want to run through all you’ve been taught on logic, you’ll see this pretty much covers the basics. Of course, the Academics make it complex. That’s what they are paid to do. But you can run through your AND, OR, NOT, and XOR statements if you want. They all depend on a minimum of two datums being compared and this results in, or predicts, a third datum.
Analysis is the same as this, just use “patterns” instead of “datum.” And this then can be made incredibly complex to the point of incomprehensibility. Data Analysis has been twisted to mean complex mathematical calculations based on huge datasets of information. What we are looking for is an analysis system you can keep in your mind, that you can count on your fingers.
How to Build a Thunking Machine (In Your Own Backyard)
The trick is that the more complex you make a system (like a machine) the easier it is to break down. The more complex an analysis machine, the more easily flawed are the results. An interesting study I found recently was that around 50% of any particular scientific study can be proved false, due to their errors in method or bias. You can then say that out of all the studies, half contradict the other half, or that Science is half-wrong all the time.
But we are only really interested in stuff that works. For you and me, this means being able to test the data and systems we run across in order to choose which of these make things better for us. And we define what is “better.”
When I was working all this over, years ago, I found that there were some rules for analysis:
1. Anything can be compared to anything.
2. Comparisons make their own rules, which gives a corollary:
2a. An analysis using one comparison doesn’t necessarily get accepted in another field.
These then started to explain faith, imagination, common sense, fiction writing, art, and others. (You’ll have to see my book on this, “Go Thunk Yourself, Again” to get the blow-by-blow – it’s about page 20 of the paperback.)
But logic itself isn’t an analysis system. What I was after was:
To develop a base analytic engine which is capable of evaluation of any bulk of data or particular problem/situation humankind is confronting through living on this planet at this time.
Yes, that’s heady.
But I did it.
Let’s break that down:
1) A base analytic engine – was built out as a system. Meaning that it
a) it works on microcosmic scale as well as macrocosmic,
b) had to be whole, bullet-proof, naturally functional,
c) anyone accurately applying such a system should get results routinely.
2) Capable of evaluation of anything – huge in concept, but pretty sensible. Simply has to work and make sense out of anything you throw at it.
Now there simply wasn’t anything out there that fit the bill. There was something called Analytic Philosophy, also called Philosophical Analysis, but it’s problem was that the academics had complicated both sides of that coin, so it went nowhere.
Revenge of the Internet Trolls on Baker Street
You have to keep in mind that corollary: whatever you analyze won’t necessarily be accepted by others, no matter how true and workable your results are.
This was discussed by Thomas Kuhn in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, where he coined the phrase “paradigm shift.” Scientists used to be burned at the stake as heretics for publishing statements counter to the then-current belief systems. Now it’s all virtual (in most countries) and you will merely get flamed through drive-by troll comments instead.
My experience over the past 50 years is that people don’t easily give up their pet belief-systems. Often, they won’t even inspect data that doesn’t directly and obviously support that which they believe.
This is also a definition for “conventional wisdom.” And the sheer unworkability of such an approach has led to statements such as, “If you find out where everyone is going, move in the opposite direction and 90% of the time, you’ll be much better off.”
The people who won’t examine alternate opinions or views, and who actively shut them down, are just making themselves into victims. This is stupidity, plain and simple.
You can also see this in our Universities, where it was recently pointed out that an MBA isn’t used to start a business, it’s used to get a job. That point is also found in the list of the richest people in America. The top 20 were either college dropouts or got degrees from relatively unknown Midwestern universities as undergrads. Only 1 of these (and not the richest, either) actually graduated from an Ivy League school.
This explains why 50% of scientific studies are wrong: Bias blocking perception.
You can’t see what you won’t look at. Jesus pointed this out, along with the concept that people also weren’t hearing with their natively-installed ears.
Then, when you keep getting involved in “trying to please everyone,” you’ll get tied up doing nothing but apologizing. (That may be the reason they troll to begin with – just to throw you off your game.)
The Little Detective Engine That Could
All that I’ve pointed out to you here and now actually works. It can be factually proved. You just have to master four abilities or mental habits:
1. Your analysis machine will only work to the degree you are brutally honest with yourself and everyone around you, every single peace of information you come across. You have to look at what is actually there. You have to honestly see what you are looking at. Only then can you do any sort of analysis on it.
2. Be able to idealize what is possible for that area, that individual, that operating system you want to fix or improve.
3. Next after that, you have to be able to see things in sequences. You have to be able to envision how things are put together. Like any good mechanic, you have to be able to take things apart to see what piece isn’t working right, and then fix that one point and put everything back together. (Some call this “maintenence.”)
4. Then you have to compare what you fixed and how it’s running with the highest ideal for how it was or should or could be running. How is what you’re looking at working, comparing against what its ideal working condition is, estimate what it would take to fix it or upgrade it against how it will work when you get done.
And you may have to fix a smaller part first in order to fix a larger whole. You make have to back up and figure how to acquire some missing part that needs to be replaced.
But the four points above remain:
a. Brutally honest observation of what is, what you are actually looking at.
b. Envision a better ideal for what you want to sort out or fix.
c. Find the sequences that are in operation and what part of that could be improved in order to move toward that ideal.
d. Compare your new operating basis with the ideal you wanted at the start.
The only limits to all four of those conditions is what you have to work with. You have to deal with what you can actually change or improve in that environment. There also may be limits to the ideals you can envision. That means you might have to slightly or radically change your mind.
You can build a better analysis engine, a detective system, to help you improve the life you are living and the goals you want to achieve.
Of course, like the old joke about the number of psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb, there has to be a real want to change.
Sherlock Holmes constantly worked within his knowledge of the law and it’s imperfect operation. He observed and deduced constantly. What he never apparently studied were his own living conditions and personal ideals. Had he done so, he would have been able to move into a higher quality of life.
And that is all I’ve tried to interest you in doing today.
It’s your life to live. You can live it anyway you want. You can improve it to any quality or quantity you could possibly dream of.
First you have to see that you are living, and how you are living. Then you have to envision how much better it could be. After that, it’s working out what logical steps you would have to take (and in what order) in order to wind up with that result.
All along the way, you will have to compare the results you’re getting against the results you want. And then adjust what you are doing in order to more closely approach that ideal you are looking for.
Right now, that’s the simplest way I can tell you how to improve your life and live a better one.
Choose well. Believe well. Idealize well.
As usual, it’s up to you and you alone to decide your own choices.
While I’ve observed that not everyone has developed these mental abilities, anyone could.
Regardless, the future you and everyone else are heading toward is built from the ideas you and they create today.
Have fun with this.