Observe, Analyze, Apply

by phil on Wednesday Apr 30, 2003 12:51 AM
thinking strategies

What's up with the imperative "Observe, Analyze, Apply"?

It must be important enough to be part of the title of this site? Well, the title serves a practical purpose. Search for "Philip Dhingra Observe" on Google and click "I'm Feeling Lucky" and you'll get to my site immediately.

The meaning behind the message is simple. "Observe, Analyze, Apply" is my description of the essential feedback loop for functioning in this life. There is an input or stimulus in your environment. For example, you read the paper, you hear a conversation, and you feel pain. You observe these things and that information then enters your brain. Your mind then processes that, usually performing transformations. These algorithms help you draw conclusions, cohere knowledge, or create more feelings for observation. After your analysis, you then apply. You can act on that information, or you can hold back. Either way, the information factors in some way, either through use or disuse. Your application then exposes you to new environments and therefore new observations, creating a infinitely repeating loop of information processing until you perish.

Before I continue with the practical reasoning behind this model, some edifying word games...

Now, theoretically, this phrase can be shortened. We could, for example, remove Analyze. You observe something in your environment, and then you observe mental processes that occur automatically in your head. Eventually, you apply something based on those observations, which could involve more images or thoughts that pop into your head, further cycling back to your observation. So you just see things outside, see things inside, maybe then apply things inside, or apply things outside.

You could also remove the "Apply" part of the process. You just observe, and then you analyze, but that analysis provides the conviction within you to create an action. If your conviction is strong enough, you will HAVE to do something. But what is to say that anything you did wasn't something you HAD to do. After seeing that you were hungry, and analyzed that food was available in the kitchen, you then just got up and went there. You didn't need to apply because seeing and feeling was enough to create doing. If you say you could have withheld, what's to say that that was not just your analysis of priorities.

Now, interestingly, you can remove Observe as well. You don't need to actively observe to receive new information. Your analysis can begin to encompass the observations as well. What's to say what comes in isn't already in analytical form. Your application of an analysis then presents you with new environments and new stimuli in the world, thus replenishing your observations.

I came up with this system, though, not for philosophical entertainment, but for expediency. When I was younger, I was overwhelmed by the advice I was receiving from my parents and from my world. I wanted to act on all advice at once. At the same time, I also was worried about whether I'd be able to succeed the way I wanted to succeed. I had read stories about Bill Gates and the like, which made me curious about how they go to where they were and how I too could make such achievements. The "Observe, Analyze, Apply" system provided me with a method of ordering priorities. I figured all my success could be reduced to a proficiency in any of those three areas. I either saw some great idea, or I had some creative thought, or I had took something to action. I could also use this model for finding the source of failure. I knew that failing at something would always be due to some deficiency in one of those three areas. I could get too swamped in just looking and enjoying my environment without every thinking or acting on it. I could also just be lost in a philosophical world of analysis, tearing and thinking about things without getting in new information or turning my analysis into action. Thirdly, I could also just be too caught in action that I lose sight of the big picture or do anything creative.

Once again, everything is information judo. As homo sapien nodes, our best tools are first our ability to gather new information, our ability to transform that information, and then our ability to redistribute that information back to our environment.

For you, Philosophistry can be an observation deck for new ideas and interesting thought. For me, Philosophistry is definitely the sharpening of my analyzing skills. For both of us, hopefully, we can come from here to then later do things of relevance.

Good luck!

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