Mental Models

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About Mental Models and Their Power

It is one thing to know the known mental models. But the real value comes from knowing where and how to apply them - not only within but across multiple disciplines. The major disciplines have their respective mental models. The interesting part and creativity comes from applying the models to situations where it is not obvious that they apply. As a simple example - consider Inertia. This applies clearly in physics - but one can easily see the application of this law in business and other areas. It appears that the application of mental models in far-fetched cases is the true genius of knowing how to work with mental models - to tap their creative and explanatory potential. Because the obvious mental models - everyone can see them. The less obvious applications - can lead to profound creative insight - in that simply few people can make the connection- thus the problems are deemed 'hard' to average people. The value of interdisciplinary, open, rapid learning lies in securing a broad base of knowledge across many areas - so that connections between the disciplines can be made fluently. This applies to many areas of learning or performance - such as the more languages you know the faster you can learn a 'completely new' one - the more of the natural sciences you know the more interesting insights you can make - the more you know about physiology the better sportsman you can be - the more you know about design the better you can design something in an area you have no experience with. Indeed, the concept of Mental Model Escape Velocity can be coined here - a condition where just about any new problem not previously solved has an easy solution - as derived readily from combining a finite set of existing models. This would be a condition of effortless creativity and problem-solving ability.

In addition to mental models - mental performance hacks can be taught - to improve counting, memory, logic, physiological control of the body, cognitive overrides - or peak performance in many ares.

For OSE, since we are aiming to popularize innovation by the masses - it is useful to make all the mental models, skills, and hacks - transparent and accessible for easy learning. We believe that 98% of the population can operate at the creative genius level [1]. Instead, by the time people reach adulthood - only 2% operate with creative genius. Getting this back to near-perfect level as found in children is a tangible goal - we simply cannot dumb people down through schooling. In fact, schooling should develop the 98% of genius further - to hypergenius level. There is no limit to how people can evolve in the areas of intelligence, creativity, and transcendence. So that people become less creative as they age is a bug in societial design which needs to be fixed.

Understanding mental models can be a start to more effective behavior. Accurate mental models help improve the accuracy with which people perceive reality - and thus help in effective negotiation of life. Accurate mental models can help people improve their mental health, in so far as mental models influence our psychology. The combination of Cognitive Skills, Emotional Intelligence, and Body Intelligence can contribute to making a person whole - or building the Integrated Human.

To Sum Up

The real mastery of mental models comes only when you can apply the models across all disciplines -ir - observing that a specific mental model probably has a close analogue in a different field. And understanding the edge cases, exceptions, applications. There will always be exceptions - and true understanding means that one is able to reconcile these exceptions. And apply the mental model to facilitate absolutely creative problemsolvjg in a NY discipline - especially the design of complex systems.

OSE Application

As such we are creating a 1 year course - Learning How to Think - part of and Year 1 of OSE School. It's all that you ever wanted to learn in college but didn't. An exploration of numerous common mental models - simple yet all people get them wrong at least some of the time. Imagine learning how to learn - which you never learned in college. Imagine learning how to count - I assure you that understanding numbers is so critical yet there is much more to this than it seems. Imagine learning how to read - and you probably think that you know how to read already but you can begin to grast 10x more in 10x less time I'd you follow best-practice hacks. And much more. And understand everything about everything: by delving into an interdisciplinary survey of all known key mental models/concepts until you see the underlying patterns that cross all disciplines - and thus make wisdom accesible to all. But this is not for the faint of heart. It requires discipline and dedication - but with practice - you can start a life where you master your self as a foundation for contributing to humankind's progress. Immortality is the simple end.


Knowing 'everything about everything' is accessible to many more people - given the right guidance. We almost all have genius to start with. If only it didn't disappear...

But it does. I have noticed in my experience at OSE - as we develop open source blueprints for civilization - and engage in building the world around us - that a critical block forany people is the ability to problemsolve and produce creative solutions - based on correct mental models. I think I undersand how the folly of The Best and the Brightest falls into this. And how people, with disciplinary training, and a world of proprietary products where you Rarely Learn the Best Information - rarely get a chance to break through the chains of the status quo. We have plenty of ideas to work with - but there is a truly sad state of human ability that blocks us. Top talent is rare, and if it exists - it is mostly a casualty of propriety endeavors - which by definition do not spread their wealth - of knowledge. So we are in a downward cycle where the world is mediocre at best - and where the outliers try to poach talent from one another as the rest of the world remains suboptimal. Im not saying that we akew the bell curve far to the right. The bell curve will always exist - that's just probability - but what I am saying is that we can shift the entire bell curve to the right - Ie - improve everyone at the same time -:put all of humanity on a higher plane of existence. That is happening already in some places, but we can't make an honest claim that gross ignorance and lost opporunity is rare. We should not be so proud that fewer people live at $2/day today than a decades ago - $2/day is still abominable and nothing to be proud of.

To put humanity on a higher plane must start with more people learning how to think, and education transforming so that schools no longer systematically kill off genius. This results on problem-solving ability. This is critical to human prosperity - it's timeless.

I have made a personal commitment to improve critical thinking to the point that any college or unschooling graduate can access full financial independence at noore than 2 hours of work per day, so they can focus on what really matters. Modern wisdom technology can make this happen easily. We don't need to be exceptional to do this. We just can't be stupid about the basics of how the world works. Learning how to think can get us there.

Only after learning how to think should we learn specific disciplines. Otherwise, we are wasting a lot of time in inefficient learning and thinking. So that after we learn how to think - we can make rapid progress to transforming the state of the numerous unsolved pressing world issues. If you want to be solving pressing world issues for a living - this is for you.


  1. Additive and Multiplicative Systems

OSE Specific


  • Farnam Street List - [2]- looks better than Weinberg below.

Problem Solving

  • "I don’t want to be a great-problem-solver. I want to avoid problems – prevent them from happening and doing right from the beginning." — Peter Bevelin on Seeking Wisdom, Mental Models, Learning, and a Lot More


  • Super Thinking by Gabriel Weinberg (founder of DuckDuckGo) - [3]. Reviews - [4]. Critical review - [Over long passages it feels the author copy-pasted from Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow, Rolf Dobelli's The Art of Thinking Clearly, Malcolm Gladwell's Blink, etc. for his own notebook and decided to publish it afterwards.]


  • Logical Fallacies
  • General Semantics - states that all we have are mental models - they are all abstractions of reality. This is the seminal work for driving ourselves sane.