Solve Any Problem Using this One Chart of all of History

It’s all been done, there’s nothing new under the sun. 

This is a problem solving technique that has worked for me when thinking through problems creatively. 

Below is every major civilisation in History. Most were destroyed by natural disasters or completely unpredictable outside forces. In general, they did more things right than they did wrong to survive many hundreds or thousands of years to become the pinnacle of their era and geography. 

Pick 3 civilisations from East to West across any timeline. 

YouTube a 10-min documentary from the History Channel. I recommend watching YouTube on 2x with Closed Captioning on. It takes a few minutes to get used to but once you’re over the hump you’ll be fine. 

It’ll take you about 30 mins to watch the mini-documentaries. 

(You’ve got the answer to your problem in your brain, you just don’t know it yet.)

Put on a timer for 20 mins (30 if you’re cool) close your eyes and listen to the video here (don’t forget to put YouTube back to regular speed)

Try to sit up a little straighter and close your eyes. Once closed and the video is on pose yourself the question. After that try to take a step back from your thoughts. Don’t struggle with them but try not to have a back and forth conversation with yourself either. 

If you’re interested in the neuroscience of the discursive and reticular activating system system you can take a look here but essentially this is the same as the “Eureka” effect where solutions come to you while you shower or are performing a mundane activity. Here you’re intentionally using the knowledge of neurobiology to force the issue. 

By watching the mini documentaries various synaptic chains in the brain that are problem-solution oriented get “warm”. They literally get warmer due to the electrical current that passes through the chains of synapses while watching and then for some time have less electrical resistance. This is the “usual suspects” effect where the villain makes up a story using random items in the room, or how mentalists make you pick a certain number. 

Setting the question just before the “Non-Sleep Deep Rest” prods the reticular activating system. The reticular activating system is what solves what is known as the “binding problem” of consciousness, where the brain gets signals from various senses at slightly different times and stitches it into the world you see. It also more importantly excludes sensations that are irrelevant, like the feeling of your foot in your shoe, or the sound of a far away horn. This is known as the “memory-prediction framework” first postulated by Dr. Jeff Hawkins speaks about in his 2004 book On Intellegence . The reticular activating system scans your internal world during discursive states (such as during NSDR) for relevant data the way it scans your external world for snakes, like if you’re sitting in your garden and see the water hose your RAS will proceed to scare the shit out of you. Like that except it’ll keep an eye out for solutions internally. 

Close your eyes and listen to the video. Listening to a monotone such as the chant, while allowing your mind to wander, and then bringing it back to an imagined spot in the center of your temple, allows your brainwaves to slow down and allow electrical signals to pass through both sides of the brain more easily. The problem-solution synapses that were warmed up by the mini-documentaries are the most easily triggered and the combination of slower brainwaves and intentionally focusing the reticular activating system on the matter at hand helps to connect disparate themes and paradigms in your brain that would normally be fairly tightly compartmentalised. This practice tends to carry into different parts of life once you start to do it regularly. 

There’s a lot of great work on this by Dr. Wendy Suzuki Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the NYU Center for Neural Science in her experiments on meditation, exercise, memory and cognition. 

A little congratulations to Dr. Suzuki who has recently been named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at NYU. You can find in this excellent interview of her by Dr. Andrew Huberman at Stanford here 


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