We want to maximise scope, detail, and cognitive efficiency of Sensemaking.
One way to achieve this is to replace Sensemaking Frameworks, i.e. Complex Systems of Concepts, with a small set of loosely connected Scale-free Abstractions used as Heuristic Devices:
- widely applicable, highly general concepts that
- enable the description of order on different scales, enhancing detail, and
- reveal similar patterns across these scales, reducing cognitive load.
A set of independent abstractions also supports the
Evolution of sensemaking capabilities better than a more rigid
system: The latter affords only little variation in and thus evolution
of concepts, which means reduced adaptability and resilience of
sensemaking processes. A population of independent abstractions,
allows more variation, which enables sensemaking processes to adapt and
generate new abstractions, not only concretisations of old ones.This is essentially the point Rao (2022) makes: “there
is a limit to how much value there is in sharing” a sensemaking
framework, i.e. an “internally consistent, learnable system of thought
that takes some skill and time to master”. What is more productive, he
contends, is to “encourage genuine variety in objectives on a
sufficiently rich frontier” and focus on “the byproduct[s] of ordinary
efforts to muddle through towards something you want”, i.e. emergent,
practically validated, smaller sensemaking tools.
- Rao (2022), “Dark, Gray, and Light Lore”