Decision Rules And Custom

 Have a place for everything and put the thing someplace else.                                              That’s not advice, It’s merely custom. Mark Twain

Advice about how to decide is not hard to find. People love rules that tell them what to do — and they hate them. It is another paradox. We want to be captain of our ship, but we also want a pilot’s manual. Rational procedures for deciding what to do were once  the pilot’s manual. Mark Twain makes the point that conventional rules and customary practices often are not the same thing. People make rules and then don’t follow them. But most people don’t practice conventional wisdom — they practice being caption of their ship. That is merely custom.

Today, what is practiced is now what is also preached. Decision making by the rational book is not the current rule. Conventional wisdom and decision rules  now treat intuition as intelligence. Intelligence and intuition are now considered equally important mental capacities. It is not either/or; it is both/and more. Having a place for everything may be intelligent strategy, but putting some things someplace else may be intuitive practice.

This reminds me of James March’s “Technology of Foolishness” (see my blog of 1-24-16).  March describes how playfulness is part of playing with the rules. Playfulness is the deliberate, temporary relaxation of rules in order to explore the possibilities of alternative rules. Playfulness allows experimentation. At the same time it acknowledges reason. The suspension of the rules is temporary. My present intent is to propose play as an instrument of intelligence, not a substitute.

 “Playfulness”, as a decision strategy, could become conventional wisdom AND custom.Be practical and playful, intelligent and intuitive, focused and flexible about what you do. Treating intuition as intelligence is treating intuition as real. Intuition is defined as: the faculty of knowing or sensing without the use of rational processes; immediate cognition.Intuition allows us to see and use possible creative strategies, playfulness. Creative strategies are not always conventional wisdom.

Rigid decision rules are not good decision strategy. Decision making rules are to guide you, not control you. Let playfulness also guide you. Today we live in a world of rapid change, and change itself is changing. Therefore, shouldn’t we be changinghowwe decide whatwe decide to do? Custom becomes real.

Fuzzy thinking, a branch of mathematics, is defined                                                                                          as “rational thought tempered by intuition”.





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