Lenses and theories

Posted: 2017-08-07 , Modified: 2017-08-07

Tags: lenses

Parent: Views


“Theories are like eyeglasses: they bring certain dimensions of the world into sharper focus, and blur other dimensions. But if you choose the right glasses, the world is - on the whole - a little clearer.” - Justin Reich

“Every theoretical physicist who is any good knows six or seven different theoretical representations for exactly the same physics. He knows that they are all equivalent, and that nobody is ever going to be able to decide which one is right at that level, but he keeps them in his head, hoping that they will give him different ideas for guessing.” - Albert Einstein

In many fields (especially design), good work happens “when you view your work from as many perspectives as possible.” - Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design

Examples of lenses: math problem-solving strategies; writing - character, worldbuilding,…

Why lenses? It’s important to explicitly list lenses because… + You can flip through them for diagnosis, for instance, to workshop a story. + Like definitions, lenses encourage you to be clear, concise, and analytic. (cf. the Rumpelstiltskin principle)

I feel most clearminded when I’m looking through one lens. You might have conflicting lenses, but when you jumble them together you get garbage. The only way to see is look through one, absorb the scene, and then move to another lens, to shuffle between them like a quick-action flipbook.

Everyone can come up with their own list of lenses, but we need experience in order to find a list of lenses that work and internalize them. you gain these lenses when you traverse through a lot of viewpoints (through conversations, books, blogs,…) and find them worth considering, even if they contradict each other.