Did you ever have one of those experiences where you were struggling with a problem, and somehow your mind completely flipped it around to a solution you could never see on the first side? It’s more than a light bulb going off, it’s like turning your brain inside out.
How does that happen? What is it in our minds that we can keep dogging the same side of the problem and turn it around?
Sometimes it happens when someone else sees the situation differently. I had a miniscule, puny, example this weekend that got me thinking about it. It seems even smaller just writing about it.
It’s my mailing address. You see, I live in a small town where the post office does not deliver mail to the house; I have a community mailbox area, so my postal mailing address is a box number. But if I get deliveries to my house, e.g. from USPS or FedEx, then I have to give my physical address. And when I order Amazon, you don;t know the shipping method in advance, so it gets messy as to what address I use– box number or physical address?
So on Sunday I was visiting a local friend, and somehow we were talking about this, and she said (here is the mind flip) “I just put both addresses, that way they can pick the one that works”.
I never saw that even though it seems obvious.
My mind flipped (a tiny backflip, scored low by the Russian judge).
Okay, a more famous flip?
The most famous mindflip might have been chemist Friedrich KekulÃ© who claimed to have figured out the structure of benzen (a ring) after having a dream of a snake eating its own tail. It seems almost magical- the frustrated scientist, unable to solve the problem, has a metaphorical dream, wakes up, and says “Eureka”!
It seems almost magical, though a number of scholars have cast doubt on what might be a science lab urban myth.
That’s too bad, that story has such a lovely visual to it.
(sidebar- there was a group of advanced chemistry nerds in my high sch0ol that formed a “gang” as it were called… “The Benzene Ring”).
But more to my wondering, how to you make this for a possibility in your own lives/works? I know that getting out of the office/house can help, doing something physical, but are there other ways to get our brains to jump out of a rut to the other side.
How do you do mind flips?
The post "Mind Flips" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2010/03/mind-flips/) on March 22, 2010.