Fuzzy on the Dark Side is an approximation of the ‘Approximate Thinking’ super idea: an expedition into the worlds of stories, ideas, science, and the synthesis of human knowledge.
It sheds the light on our complicated relationship with incompleteness and assumptions. ‘Fuzzy on the Dark Side’ is a book about thinking, creativity, identities, and systems.
Fuzzy on the Dark Side : A brief Introduction
Why are ignorant people so confident?
How do politicians utilize conflation to influence groups?
Why do scientists fall for similar mistakes?
How is complexity managed?
Why does culture effortlessly shape what we can do?
Fuzzy on the Dark Side (FDS) argues: Because of approximations!
Don’t you sometimes wish you had person X’s confidence as they babble with conviction about things they obviously know nothing about? I’ve frequently heard people saying “I wish I had their self-confidence” while referring to someone doing something (on the face of it, to other people) entertainingly wrong… to say the least.
Well, they (the extremely confident people) feel they know what they’re talking about.
Politics is usually a messy mix of different concepts and themes that it becomes almost impossible to have a logical step-by-step focused discussion with someone whose enthusiasm easily gets the best of them and they start throwing a predetermined mess of loosely related concepts around.
They get angry because this discussion – to them – is not really about political concepts. It is about ‘us’ and ‘our god’ and ‘our country’ and ‘our values’.
Surprisingly, scientists can fall for mistakes of the same nature. Shocking, I know… but they too can be an unreasonable bunch: did you think all these -isms are a matter of hard science?
And it goes on… in language, in marketing, in management, and beyond.
This is Approximation : One thought or expression is replaced by something else (for a variety of reasons), and it ends up causing many problems (this is the dark side).
Incompleteness pervades our interactions with the world. Its effects on individual and group behaviors can foster creativity or create invisible prisons. We navigate incompleteness with approximations and, too often, end up on the ‘dark side’.
Themes of “Fuzzy on the Dark Side” : Approximate Thinking and its surprising effects everywhere !
The effects of approximate thinking (and its smaller siblings, approximate communication, and approximate action) can be seen at work, in personal relationships, in management, marketing, politics, science, language, culture.
Through stories and a set of interconnected arguments, Fuzzy on the Dark Side presents a broader understanding of an individual’s mental life and how identities, incompleteness, and social contexts shape it.
Starting with an identification of what approximations mean, and how they can be a great tool (creativity, understanding, growth) or a dangerous trap (illusions, conflicts, waste), FDS then moves to explore the reasons that make intelligence inevitably incomplete. The general model is applied to the fields of language, work, science, communications, politics, management, marketing, and culture.
As we examine approximations and think about their origins and the problems they can create, the reader will encounter glimpses from physics, biology, philosophy of science, management, marketing, politics, systems theory, fuzzy logic, geometry, design and creativity, culture, and neuro-science and more…
Fuzzy on the Dark Side is a book about incompleteness, creativity, thinking, identities, and systems. Roughly – it is an approximation of the ‘Approximate Thinking’ super idea.
Questions to reflect on
- Are accuracy and clear thinking are overrated (specifically, do we give ourselves too much credit on that front?)?
- Why are we approximating most of the time (and especially in ‘critical’ times)?
- Is there a way out of all this fuzziness and approximation?
- The darkness around you:
- Are you making good decisions?
- How ‘branded’ are our brains?
- Are scientists as scientific as you think?
- Should we build better languages?
- What is ‘the will of the people’?
- Who is really working?
- What can we do to escape the dark side?
A Fuzzy Explanation of Fuzzy Thinking
Fuzzy on the Dark Side resembles a tourist’s trip much more than a scientist’s expedition. It contains stories and anecdotes, and tries to apply the ideas to situations that we directly experience.
The aim was to present a rich perspective in a creative way.
The reader of FDS will encounter many quotes, anecdotes, and research summaries. There is also an enigmatic fictional (somehow) series that tells the story of the meeting between Grumis (a green AI bird) and an interesting fellow who is building a tower (Zif). The series refers, symbolically and allegorically, to the themes being discussed, and the reader is invited to try and figure out who all the characters are (most are based on real people).
Scattered throughout the book are a series of images / paintings / art with no labels or captions. They are – however – closely related to the ideas being discussed around them, and this is something the reader can try searching for.
‘Fuzzy on the Dark Side’ is meant to be informative, interesting, and challenging. I hope you find the outcome (approximately) acceptable !
This post includes a section in one of the book’s chapters. I love Atlas.. but when he shrugged, he created disproportionate sales results. Can Fuzzy Thinking, as modeled above, explain?
Beyond – Short Stories & Graphic Novels
The Stories page contains a more subjective and creative narrative / story exploration (in different forms) of themes similar to the ones motivating “Fuzzy on the Dark Side”, including thinking, creativity, culture, knowledge, language, identity, illusions, individuality, work, and ambition.