Delivering the future since 2007
The Basic Concept
The basic concept of behind Roger's observations is that humans are evolved, and they are a high performance adaptation to living on Earth. The humans alive today (and all other living organisms for that matter) are the children of winners of a trillion successive contests about who was the best at living on earth. All people alive today have a trillion ancestors who were winners. This means all organisms alive today are well adapted to living on earth.
Roger postulates that our thinking is just as well adapted and just as high performance as our bodies.
The catch is that evolution takes time. It takes tens to thousands of generations to come up with better solutions as living conditions change. This means that human bodies and human thinking are well adapted to Stone Age living conditions, not civilized living conditions. And things change a whole lot between those two environments!
So when odd choices are made by people or communities, odd in the sense that they don't seem to be good choices in the civilized circumstance, it's likely that "Neolithic Village Thinking" is being used by those making the choices and it's not working well.
This is what Roger looks for and points out: When instinctive thinking is being used to solve modern problems, and doing so is not producing a good solution.
Cyreenik Says is about Roger using the thinking styles below to explain choices people make that otherwise have him scratching his head.
After two people make an agreement they have options: They can come through as promised or cheat. Predicting which choice a person will make is the heart of the Prisoners Dilemma Concept.
There are times when a person has to make choices quickly with limited information.
If those times come up often we learn and we can use "Sports Thinking" to make good choices. But when this is the first time we've encountered this situation, and if it's really scary, we use "Panic Thinking" instead of Sports Thinking, and we make strange choices -- sometimes good, sometime really expensive and terrible. Communities can do this as well as individuals.
This is "Panic and Blunder Thinking". An important example of this is the choices Americans made, and asked their leaders to make, following the 9-11 Disaster.
Roger began developing these ideas in the 1980's when he worked in marketing at Novell Inc. This was during its turbulent growth years when it grew from a hopeful startup to an industry leader with a billion dollars in sales. It was an exciting time. He learned a lot, and he wrote his observations of that era up in his book Surfing the High Tech Wave.
In the 1990's and 2000's He added to those ideas as he traveled and taught computer networking in Australia and New Zealand, and English as a second language in Korea. On his travels he learned that while there are many good ways to get things accomplished there are also some interesting constants in human thinking that produce the same stumbling blocks worldwide.
He did some more thinking, and came up with several interesting hypotheses to explain what he was observing. He has written these up in three books:
Cyreenik Says is about Roger using his tools to explain the current events, actions and explanations he reads about... and scratches his head over.
More About Roger
The thinking used to make choices can be broken into two broad categories: Instinctive Thinking and Analytic Thinking.
When a particular style of problem comes up often, and has for thousands of generations, the brain develops hardwiring to deal with it. Vision is the ultimate example of instinctive thinking -- the optical system does this with wondrous efficiency. Another example is falling in love. We don't have to think hard to do that.
The main symptom of when we are using instinctive thinking is it's fast, easy, and comfortable to make a choice. When a person "lets their heart be their guide" they are using instinctive thinking.
But not all life's choices come up every day. Sometimes new and unexpected situations arise. If we can find a solution to this new, strange situation, we win, but instinct won't provide an answer. In such circumstances we use analytic thinking and we learn how to solve the problem. Examples of this are riding a bike, hitting a ball, and learning algebra. This is analytic thinking in action. It's about learning new ways to solve problems.
Civilized life is blessedly different from Stone Age life which means we now use a lot more analytic thinking than we have in the past.
But... instinctive thinking is fast and easy, and warm and fuzzy, so it's easy to use even when it's not giving the best answer.