Reasoning by first principles vs by analogy

AB Watson

For most of us, we end up reasoning by analogy because we’ve had the ‘why‘ question beaten out of us. Naturally, we are born with reasoning by first principles, but our parents, guardians, teacher and mentors eventual put their foot down and say something like because I said so. Our curious mind and quest for reason and answers are destroyed by an authority. Do as I say, because I said so, don’t question me, I’m the chef, your just the cook follow the recipe.

Analogy – noun
– a comparison between one thing and another, typically for the purpose of explanation or clarification.
– a correspondence or partial similarity.
– a thing which is comparable to something else in significant respects.

First principles –
– a basic assumption that cannot be deduced any further.
– starts directly at the level of established science and does not make assumptions

Analogy –
The Church says the sun revolves around the earth, so it must be true.

First principle –
Measuring and comparing the stars, planets and the suns rotation you can conclude that the earth revolves around the sun on your own.

AB Watson

One is accepting someone else’s word, fact or belief that they are smarter, wiser or all knowing then yourself. The other is verifying yourself or taking something to its most basic form and building up from that into a conclusion. One is easy and takes very little effort, the other is time-consuming and hard. To be original isn’t easy, and that saying you are unique and special is horse shit to a point. If you lost your job, do you really think that someone else couldn’t replace you? Or would your work just put out a job opening application and hire someone to replace you in a few weeks? P.S get off your high horse and ground yourself in reality. You are not special.

No one is creative 100% of the time, everyone has influencers. It’s just that the people we admire, that change the world or their fields of work take less and less from their influences. They take less and less so much that the work, the process becomes their own, they breakdown the process and rebuild it into something different, truly unique. Be it questions or going against convention wisdom or the current trend, they become the black sheep by walking a different path. Not something already laid out for them by someone else. You have to understand that conventional wisdom becomes outdated very quickly. What work for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Getting up at 5 am, doing someone else’s morning routine is all bullshit if there isn’t a reason behind it. Emulating someone famous doesn’t mean you will end up like them. If that’s your goal great you are now living envy. Again this is analogy reasoning, it doesn’t prove success in whatever form you perceive success as. So what can you do to start implementing first principles into your creative work? Start as if you were a child again and ask yourself, again and again, that nagging question… why.

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