autotelic, autistic, assonance-hole©.

Pattern Thinking

Recently, I caught a number of new authors and doctors and psychologists popping up to talk about this “new kind of thinking” they have named “pattern thinking”. I am amused. This is not “new”, but humans seem to have finally gotten around to noticing that their strictures and structures of “how things are” just aren’t as accurate as they (so frequently) tell themselves.

I note as well that most talking about this “new” way of thinking insist on correlating it to Autism. “oh, these Autistic people, they think differently,” they say, “they think in patterns.

Ahem. I beg to differ; they may well have superior capacity to do so, but they are not some new, mutation that “thinks differently”. Case in point – me. I’m not Autistic, I am what you would call a “pattern thinker”, and I know a good many folk who, to one degree or another, are “pattern thinkers” as well.

In fact, if you hang around with me long enough, you’ll get my introductory monologue to pattern thinking and process engineering. It’s part of a book I’m working on that sets usually esoteric theory, method, and practice of business, analysis, and technology into contextually accurate presentations of pattern and process that anyone (particularly the non-technical) can understand.

They can understand the above because they are “pattern thinkers” as, frankly, are we all.

I think the thing that boggles me most about this “new discovery” malarkey is that there is so much ready evidence at hand that I cannot imagine how any of these folk, with any sincerity whatever, can call it “new”.

How do humans learn? Hell, for that matter, how does any mammal learn? How do we recognize one face from another? How do we determine if “this thing” is [name] or not?

Just because someone in a particular field finally deigned to notice that some folk are much, much better at it than others doesn’t make it “new”; no, not even if they are swaths of humanity that you previously discounted as being capable of being superior at much of anything.

In this, I see a form of pattern thinking that is decidedly unhelpful (albeit traditional) – that only known and accepted forms are good, and that only through moderated and careful framing of the previously “inferior” can a new (more accurately “newly noticed”) form be allowed into the fold called “normalcy”.

Of course, now that it has become acceptable, you have a couple of interesting things happening:

– companies that tended to shun this manner of thinking are suddenly willing to accept and recognize its value

– authors are self-promoting books expounding this “new” way of thinking and its value

And naturally, people who have quietly been living with their “inferiority” are getting a healthy acceptance that is quite long overdue.

So, I suppose in the end, it’s not really a “bad thing” except to the degree that it has taken so long for overcome the various social and cultural structures and just embrace the differences. I’ve been sharing what I know about this manner of thinking (as well as what we all know about it, even if we rarely choose to make the logical links to arrive at the conclusion) for decades. Of course, I’m no “credible authority or author”, so naturally, this doesn’t count. (wry grin)

You ever wonder what the world would be like if “different” and self-discovered wasn’t automatically branded “inferior”, “unsafe”, or “unreliable”?

I know I do.