At www.cortthinking.com there is a video of an expert teaching C & S to some youngsters. It seemed to me that even an expert struggles to teach C & S: it is perhaps the most difficult tool to use, despite quite possibly being the most important.
Here in Victoria, Australia - we used to ban gambling - then about 15 years ago we had a new bloke running the state and he legalised gambling. One common form of gambling that he allowed was "poker machines" into which you put money and pull the handle and hope to be vindicated.
Now I talked today with a council worker from a nearby town that has poker machines and asked him what effect poker machines had in that town. He said it was very bad - that the poker machine venue offered cheaper food to lure patrons then made their profits on the machines. Local restaurants closed because they could not compete on price.
Now it is probably much more difficult to revoke a gambling licence than to prevent it being issued in the first place - so the question arises: Why did businesses not protest when the introduction of poker machines into their town was first proposed?
It seems to me that a likely explanation is that at the time the adjoining state (N.S.W.) had poker machines - and many people drove from Victoria to spend a weekend just across the border to play these machines. So the towns in N.S.W. near the Victorian border were flush with tourist dollars, and the businesses in my friend's town might have thought, "This could be a tourist magnet for our town too!" (The town does not have a lot of natural beauty to attract tourists).
Had they done a C & S, however, it might have occurred to these business people that other Victorian towns would also get poker machines, and soon there would be no reason for anyone to travel more than a few kilometers for this kind of fun.
To me this illustrates why de Bono thinking, despite how awkward it can sometimes feel, is non-optional if we want a viable future: It's taken 15 years for the townsfolk to realise the consequences of their actions and now they see no way to put the demon back in the bottle.
Fascinating, Captain, fascinating. The trouble with the C&S is surely that it does require you to do something almost super-human. You have to reach into the future and draw out the probable outcomes consistent with a current world-state. So, it already sounds like quantum mechanics, something that a handful of people on the planet understand. As Ed says, you must "project your mind into the future" and try to visualise it. But - how the hell do you do that, already? Actually, he doesn't say. I guess we can all do it to an extent, but the thing that worries me is the unforeseen stuff that can happen between your "current world-state" and the future you are visualising and which then completely changes your "world-line" (to use Feynman's language for a moment). Like everything de Bono, it requires massive practice. Perhaps by practising this particular all-important tool, you open up a very little-known ability of the mind to actually foresee the future. Hmmmmm.
Shamir: When this tool is understood it becomes easy to apply it in different situations.
Indeed; it has helped me enormously to avoid making fatal errors as well. However, I am saying that it is kind of difficult to "understand" the C&S, for the reason I outlined. Perhaps it's best to not even try, clearly the point about powerful gifts (which is what Ted's Tools are) is to use them and get real results in the real world (whatever that is, as I say, nobody can know, although many claim to, usually via Facebook.)
Human minds, as far as we know, aren't terribly well-rehearsed at visualising the future. They are totally, totally gobsmacked and held in thrall by the past, and when I say the past I mean anything from whatever happened one quintillionth of a second ago to virtually the time when we were sea-squirts. From the time we were sea-squirts going back in time is all conjecture, belief and mythology, which is even more attractive to the human mind.
That's the key to Ted's Tools. DON'T try to understand them. Just use them and OFTEN. Trying to understand TT is like a concert pianist playing a particularly difficult passage in public who momentarily allows his imagination to ruin his routine, so he stumbles and makes audible mistakes. The situation that usually happens is the performance is going so well, the mind starts to position itself in the audience as one LISTENING to the concert, rather than the mind PRODUCING the music; a schizoid state that puts you in two universes at once. Laws of physics mandate that a 1st-person experience of self can occupy only one universe at a time. In one word: self-consciousness. Self-consciousness (in this usage) means dividing your mind into both the prisoner and the judge - which is why your playing falters, it's impossible to be having a bad day and playing like a virtuoso simultaneously).
So, after starting out by saying you shouldn't try to understand TT (say beyond a driver's working knowledge of how a car can best be driven rather than the intricacies of the engine, the hydraulic suspension, the automatic transmission etc.) I have spent the whole time doing so.
"Do as I say, Not as I do."
I remember Edward de Bono writing that in slow changing societies people don't need to think so much because they'll die and be replaced by their children who will embrace these small changes. So no need for the Williamsburg residents to practise C & S.
For the rest of us I kinda think there is.
Phil: For the rest of us I kinda think there is.
Let's start with this thing called the European Union. The next step up from Phil's poker machines. With all the instant availability of information these days, the outcome seems to be that humans exploit a situation to death and end up in dire circumstances rather than work to continually improve something as part of both causing and coping with the rapid change of society these days.
In a slow chagning society people might think more about other things than designing new solutions to material problems. Thinking skills may simply be used to solve other types of problems, for example, insights into personal relationship. They may practice C & S on what happnes if you to not help the neighbour when. . .
Good point Asa,
Like the Inuit (Eskimos), spending a lot of time together inside igloos, have apparently developed a richer language for describing human relations than is provided by modern languages.
Having long suggested to people that they should sign up to www.cortthinking.com, I finally took my own advice (in part to have another look at experts teaching C & S).
One of the experts, Nigel Newman, explains that C & S can be made simpler for youngsters by allowing them to set their own time scales rather than use the mandated ones (< 1 yr, 1-5 years, 5-25years, 25y+).
I guess this might be a way for helping people understand 25+ years who have not yet lived that long.
As an aside, during the same lesson he relayed some APC output from Dutch youngsters which seemed very impressive. I can well imagine that youngers will find APC easier than C & S, though these particular youngsters did better than most adults would. Perhaps this is not surprising if they drink water from the same river that Gijs does.
In answer to your question: Can we (human race) continue to survive (in a reasonably civilized form) without the thinking tools?
My answer is that it's likely that the speed of technological progress, large uncontrollable global movements of people, sentiment, money, etc will at some point present the human race with a very difficult situation that it does not have the thinking skill to deal with; and the consequences will be dire.