Some of the best thinkers throughout history have shared a common trait: They recognized that the world we perceive has deep, subtle patterns running through it. By deeply thinking and exploring the world around us, they discerned these patterns and the relationships they implied. In each case, recognizing these patterns led them to major discoveries and breakthroughs.
The Imaginary Foundation, a Swiss think tank that does experimental research on new ways of thinking and the power of the imagination, has published The Pattern Seeker Trading Cards, a collection of 23 cards that pays tribute to these relentless explorers. The cover of the aqua-colored cardboard box in which the set of 23 cards is stored says, “To understand is to perceive patterns.”
From classic geniuses like Albert Einstein and Marie Curie to modern thinkers like Robert Wright (game theory) and Ray Kurzweil (inventor and futurist), this set of trading cards is a powerful reminder of the benefits of looking more deeply at our world around us and what makes it tick. Einstein was awe-struck by the deep levels of order he perceived in the Universe. Watson and Crick delved down deep into the stuff that makes us human and discovered the double helix of DNA. And Charles Darwin looked at the complexity and diversity of life and realized that all organisms that have ever lived are joined by a pattern called evolution by natural selection.
What’s the connection with visual thinking?
Mind mapping software helps us to do the same thing: To bring order out of a maelstrom of information, knowledge and ideas. To play “what if?” with different arrangements of elements. And to perceive new relationships and connections between them that wouldn’t otherwise be apparent.
Whether we’re using visual thinking to develop plans, make decisions or solve vexing business problems, or doing other aspects of our work and study, the Pattern Seeker Trading Cards remind us to never stop thinking about our world and to keep asking why? What makes it like this? What underlies what I can see on the surface of this situation? And what can I learn from it?
The Pattern Seeker Trading Card set can be ordered from The Imaginary Foundation’s website for US$18.