The Art of Asking Questions, Incentivising Negative Effort & Deconstructing Human Perception with Malcolm Ocean
In which my Twitter friend Malcolm and I nerd out on esoteric topics ranging from the art of asking questions to the barely known ideas contained in 'Perceptual Control Theory' have shifted his outlook on life and how it relates to his idea of 'dream mashups'.
I predicted that the experience of listening to this conversation might be a little like the feeling of being trapped inside a pinball machine bouncing between unrelated topics... but in fact, what unfolded was a really satisfying dance around parallel threads which centred around our mutual interest of human attention and perception — and how these theories have deep practical value our daily life.
Some of the topics we danced around include:
❓ The value and art of holding questions, and sitting with deep uncertainty.
🔥 His case for an aliveness-based productivity system and discussing why to consider even setting goals in the first place.
🧠 How the barely known ideas contained in 'Perceptual Control Theory' have shifted his outlook on life and how these theories connect to the work of Iain McGilchrist's findings on the differences between our left and right brain hemispheres.
🌎 We talked about our 'domino memes' as a way of attempting to articulate the different levels of impact that we're hoping to make in the world and I also really appreciated his framing of what he calls 'negative effort' which is a way of saying the creative work that we can't not do — and ideas for how we might incentivise this on a wider scale.
👋 Find Malcolm on Twitter: @malcolm_ocean (and his thread collection)
👀 Read his blog: malcolmocean.com
❓ Ribbonfarm blog post on 'Questions are not just for asking'
🧠 His superb Divided Brain Twitter primer
🎲 His 'Domino Meme' (and my domino meme)
📚 A cheeky bootleg copy of 'Making Sense of Behaviour' (the actual book is out of print)