Analogous Phenomena.

The title is a play on Jules Verne’s Anomalous Phenomena published around the 1880s and describing a fanciful journey on a comet through space. What’s going through my mind? Analogies, of course! Seth Godin must either be reading my mind or vice versa. Pity he doesn’t cater for interaction on his blog. I suppose it works for him!


Seth’s latest post talks about “Learning by analogy“. That can take you to unexpected places, as I discovered some time ago. I was trying to figure out how electrical power stations knew when to slow down or step up output according to prevailing consumption. At the back of my mind, I was thinking about how to cut  down on waste, particularly for power plants that burnt coal or oil. Hydroelectric and wind turbine based power plants would not present the same concerns. I asked one or two people with engineering backgrounds whether the electrical grid system were analogous to the water supply system, which of course included service reservoirs to contain overflow. To my amazement, I was laughed at and told scornfully that electrical power grids did not work like that at all. Well, I looked up the subject a few weeks later and discovered that there were power plants that could regulate output according to demand, but were more expensive to operate and therefore less favoured. It is telling that we don’t seem to stop at anything just to extract profits! No one cares about managing waste as long as operations are cheaper.

Do you think in terms of analogies? When you do, you’ll be living at the Principle level, not the Methodology level of existence. When you are able to do that, then Methodologies become applications of Principles and no longer become so confusing. In one or two of my previous posts, I talked about spiders. Like to be one?

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