Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Technophile's Psychic Reader

This is like the Magic 8-Ball, only much, much cooler. Think of all the ways it can tell you what to do. I am intrigued by the idea of using it to break free of creative logjams. Or to decide what to make for dinner. Why, just now, it said to me,

"Discover the recipes you are using and abandon them."

How cool is that?

Wikipedia says of Oblique Strategies,

Oblique Strategies (subtitled over one hundred worthwhile dilemmas) is a set of published cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Now in its fifth edition, they were first published in 1975. Each card contains a phrase or cryptic remark which can be used to break a deadlock or dilemma situation.

A few examples:

  • State the problem in words as clearly as possible
  • Only one element of each kind
  • What would your closest friend do?
  • What to increase? What to reduce?
  • Are there sections? Consider transitions
  • Try faking it!
  • Honour thy error as a hidden intention

From the introduction to the 2001 edition:

These cards evolved from separate observations of the principles underlying what we were doing. Sometimes they were recognised in retrospect (intellect catching up with intuition), sometimes they were identified as they were happening, sometimes they were formulated.

They can be used as a pack, or by drawing a single card from the shuffled pack when a dilemma occurs in a working situation. In this case the card is trusted even if its appropriateness is quite unclear...

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