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Thinking Whole: The Fundamentals

25 min read

John Krubski and Alexandra K. Camus, Psy.D.

The theoretical background for this issue of Curated, can be traced back nearly two decades. It has been a very expansive journey; one which connects to some of the major breakthroughs in thinking about human thinking. The studies of learning, thinking, creativity, enlightenment, neuroscience, and behavioral economics began to converge spectacularly since the beginning of the 2000’s. It has been a virtual explosion of thinking about thinking.


You could say that it began with the very public recognition of a psychologist for his work in a field for which he had absolutely no qualifications nor experience – or so he believed. In 2002, the Nobel Prize Committee awarded Daniel Kahneman the prize in economics for his work with Amos Tversky in the field of Prospect Theory. Tversky had died and the Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously.

Prospect Theory changed everything; upending most of what was known before in thinking about thinking and laying down the foundations for a new field – behavioral economics. In 2011, Kahneman added a cherry of his making to the Prospect Theory sundae with a book of his own – Thinking, Fast and Slow. In the following year, Michael Lewis further popularized the thinking behind Prospect Theory in a book called “Moneyball,” which eventually made its ways to the movie screen. At the time he wrote the book, Lewis did not know about the connection to Kahneman and Tversky. He later wrote The Undoing Project – 2016), to make up for it.

In 2005, Malcolm Gladwell took all this thinking very much more public in blink; the Power of Thinking Without Thinking. In the same year, Howard Gardner’s book, Five Minds for the Future, argued for the five different disciplines of the mind that it will take to create the collective future we deserve. All these brilliant insights related to making decisions with the information you already have. But what about things that involved innovation, creativity, even genius – how do we manifest things that are yet to be known? Nassim Taleb (The Black Swan – 2007) added that dimension to the discussion. The subtitle of his book (The Impact of the Highly Improbable) argued for allowing a space for what we might not yet know into the thinking mix.

In that same period, authors such as Nancy Andreasen (The Creating Brain; The Neuroscience of Genius – 2005) and the Dalai Lama himself (The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality – 2005) further expanded what we know about the full potential of the mind versus the brain  the concept of enlightenment. The most recent voice added to the conversation being – Ricard & Singer (Beyond The Self: Conversations between Buddhism and Neuroscience – 2017)

We would like to think that adding Thinking Whole to Kahneman’s systems model and providing a prescriptive process (Thinking Whole) for actualizing The Third Way, constitutes a substantive forward advancement to the discussion of thinking about thinking; on the one hand, and providing you, our readers, with an actionable form of using all this theory, on the other.

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