In his essay “The Eureka Phenomenon,” famous author Isaac Asimov employs a clever twist to his new view thesis—he presents it in stages.
After almost a page of discussion about going to action movies and involuntary breathing, Asimov summarizes what he’s been saying with a formal new view thesis statement. He says that it’s his feeling that it helps to relax, deliberately, by subjecting your mind to material complicated enough to occupy the voluntary faculty of thought, but superficial enough not to engage the deeper involuntary one, which will allow involuntary thought to bring out what we call “a flash of intuition.”
Asimov then tells the Archimedes story to support that new view thesis. Immediately after that three-page story, however, Asimov states a second, broader version of his original new view thesis with the following—
I suspect that very few significant discoveries are made by the pure technique of voluntary thought; I suspect that voluntary thought may possibly prepare the ground (if even that), but that the final touch, the real inspiration, comes when thinking is under involuntary control.
That’s Asimov’s second stage or main new view thesis statement—he’s saying that involuntary thought, with its flashes of intuition and insight, happens a lot in the broad field of science, not just every once in a while in ordinary, everyday life; and that it happens not just every once in a while in science, either, but “often” in science.
Let’s look at each stage separately, breaking down the first new view into a short series of causes and effects:
CAUSE: deliberately relaxing the mind allows one to engage
EFFECT: automatic, involuntary thought
CAUSE: automatic, involuntary thought provides
EFFECT: a flash of intuition, of insight, of understanding how to solve a problem or what to do next
……………….(this is the reverse of the unstated but commonly accepted old view that hard, stick-to-it, disciplined, worked-at thinking is what effective thinking is all about)
Now let’s see how good a job Asimov does of fulfilling the rules of cause and effect to support this first stage of his new view thesis:
Sequence—first, no results with hard, worked-at thinking
…………………..(“stymied” whenever he wrote himself “into a hole”)
…………………..after seeing an action movie that relaxes his mind, he gets answers to problems essay writing service reddit
…………………..(“I knew exactly what… to do,” what to write)
Present—when relaxed thinking is present, answers are always present
………………(“It never failed.”)
Absent—when relaxed thinking is absent, answers are always absent
……………..(without seeing an action movie, “in utter panic” over flaw in dissertation)
That shows reasoning working well for the first stage of the new view thesis.
For the second stage of the new view thesis, let’s look at the causes and effects:
CAUSE: in science, relaxed, involuntary thinking brings
EFFECT: the “flash of deep insight…the real inspiration” that makes scientific breakthroughs
………………(the reverse of the old view about how scientists work only with experiments and rigid, disciplined, meticulous, ‘scientific’ reasoning)
CAUSE: such insightful breakthroughs occurred many times in history
EFFECT: (speculation) so they must have happened often in science
From frequently occurring factual evidences, Asimov speculates that insightful breakthroughs must have happened often in science, but they simply weren’t recorded. Seems likely, doesn’t it?