[ by Charles Cameron — proposing that Hesse’s Game is nothing other than the building of conceptual snowmobiles ]
John Robb has a post today on a topic that most ZP readers will be familiar with: the Boyd Snowmobile –
Orientation is the most critical step (by far) in the OODA. Orientation is the step that combines everything in an instant — cultural tradition, morals, training, education, personal experience, emotional intelligence — in a way that provides a decision with direction, scope, and scale.
Orientation provides us with the cross connections necessary for high quality innovation.
Real innovation requires orientation. Here’s Boyd’s example: the snowmobile. It’s unlikely that iteration will yield a snowmobile. It’s a strange device. A mix of skis, tank treads, bike handlebars and outboard motor.
It’s a product derived from connections drawn from numerous sources to combine an innovative whole.
Simply, it’s a product of good orientation.
Notice the significance of connections — “the cross connections necessary for high quality innovation” and “connections drawn from numerous sources to combine an innovative whole”.
If OODA loops are important, orientation is more important — and if corientation is important, making connections is even more so.
Hermann Hesse talked about “wise men and poets and scholars and artists harmoniously building the hundred-gated cathedral of the mind” via the Glass Bead Game — a game of connections:
A Game, for example, might start from a given astronomical configuration, or from the actual theme of a Bach fugue, or from a sentence out of Leibniz or the Upanishads, and from this theme, depending on the intentions and talents of the player, it could either further explore and elaborate the initial motif or else enrich its expressiveness by allusions to kindred concepts. Beginners learned how to establish parallels, by means of the Game’s symbols, between a piece of classical music and the formula for some law of nature. Experts and Masters of the Game freely wove the initial theme into unlimited combinations.
Isn’t that “cathedral of the mind” built — like Boyd’s Snowmobile — of “connections drawn from numerous sources to combine an innovative whole”?
Hesse’s Game is nothing other than the building of conceptual snowmobiles.