152: Mental Models


This is more of a heuristic than a model, but I derived the idea of “chiastic thinking” from a Chesterton book. The idea is to take an opinion, figure out 2+ axes of which it’s a combination, and examine the opposite corner. To use a silly example, a Star Wars fan fixated on hating Star Trek might graph Star Wars and Star Trek in the corner of ensemble cast sci-fi with large market share and go searching for unpopular sci-fi about a single character to understand the genre better. Or perhaps identify essential elements of Campbell’s journey and explore something that proceeds oppositely. It can be as narrow or broad and as multi-dimensional as you want.

1 Like

You’re overthinking it, lol….


I like this way of thinking about some kinds of problems (and how to reduce their difficulty by turning them into drudgery!)

1 Like

Thanks for posting this. Author has many other interesting posts. « Overthinking everything » got me hooked instantly :grin:

1 Like

More info please? 20 characters

It was probably from Heretics or Orthodoxy. Perhaps something from The Ball and the Cross. He presents contradictory views of a subject and then leaps to a position that rebukes both of them, rather than arguing for a middle position that is a compromise on a linear spectrum.

Chapters III and IV of Orthodoxy show this to an extent. Here’s a link to the full text.


1 Like

Just listened to this episode finally.

Dunbars number, is usually quoted as 5, 15(?), 50 and 150. Each group size having different meaning. Close friends->acquaintances. Some orgs like WL Gore have organized themselves with this number in mind.

The challenge is that Dunbars reasoning for this numbers is at best controversial and maybe even skating on thin ice. Unfortunately I will be away from my citation tools at a client for a few days and so can’t cite references.