Most ideas in our heads are incomplete. They have logical gaps, and many contradict each other.
But, the flaws go unnoticed, because they aren’t kept in check. Idea generation is mostly random1dots being connected by the unconscious, not logical; ideas need a mechanism to be verified/falsified.
One great mechanism is writing.2Whichever format.
(Speaking is really thoughts coming out unfiltered.3Which, I think, is why clear thinkers tend to be good speakers.)
Writing is painful because the flaws immediately pop out to the eyes. You can “see” the gaps, with no obvious solutions. Writing tells you that you don’t actually understand your ideas.
(I’ve been on a streak of underestimating how long my writings will be, and overestimating how long they’ll take to write. It doesn’t matter how clear they seem inside my head…they’re not.)
The hallmark of clear thinking is concise, flawless writing.
I think that clear thinkers are functionally more intelligent. They can output far greater than what their IQs may say.
Clear thinking lowers the intellectual toll. Clarity turns complex ideas into simple ideas; your brain doesn’t have to store/process as much information. It’s like compressing files (code optimizations).
What Clear Thinking Looks Like
Here’s a math example:
Q: “Mary has 3 lambs. She lost a lamb. How many lambs does she have now?” —15 words.
Q: “3 – 1 = ?” —5 words. (Much easier to solve.)
Here’s a writing example:
A: “I, the author, insist on the assertion that swinging a wooden bat, that is at least 500g, at an angular velocity of at least 90 degrees per second, to hit a flying baseball, has the lowest probability of occurrence, of all sports activities, with the premise of the subject being an average person, given Bayesian probabilities, according to the presupposition that the ball is travelling at the speed of at least 100 kilometres per hour, which requires the eyes to focally adjust along with the ball, while coordinating with multiple joints, contracting the muscle fibres with the right balance.”
B: “I think hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do because the ball is moving really fast.”
Most articles are 10x longer than they could be.
Questions & comments are welcome!