Joining the Dots

The ability to make or spot analogies has long been of interest to people who try to judge intelligence. Candidates for graduate work in certain fields, for instance, must take an exam called the Miller Analogies Test, which contains multiple-choice questions such as the following:

Lion
is to Pride as Horse is to:

Vanity
Herd
Corral

In making an analogy, we apply a concept learned in one context to another one. Such a mental operation is in itself mindful. Architects who can see how one setting, say, a hospital, resembles another, say, a hotel, can come up with designs more responsive to complex needs.

Intentionally mixing metaphors with an eye toward finding similarities can spark new insights. Comparing people, businesses, and religions, across and within categories, for example, can lead to a greater understanding of both sides of the comparison.

Jean Piaget
wrote that his work on the child's conception of time, motion, and speed was inspired by Albert Einstein's work in the domain of physics and relativity. According to the physicist Gerald Horton, one of Einstein's many contributions was to generate ideas that lent themselves to "further adaptation and transformation in the imagination of similarly exalted spirits who live on the other side of disciplinary boundaries."

This ability to transcend context is the essence of mindfulness and central to creativity in any field.

[Ellen Langer]
Mindfulness, p.130, 131

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The Principle of Correspondence

This principle embodies the truth that there is always a Correspondence between the laws and phenomena of the various planes of Being and Life. The old Hermetic axiom ran in these words: "As above, so below; as below, so above."

The Kybalion, Chapter 2: "The Seven Hermetic Principles"

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On the same great agility and power of transmission of their brains depends precisely the fact that, with them, every thought so readily evokes all those that are analogous or related to it.

In this way the similarities, analogies, and relations of things in general come so rapidly and readily into their minds, that the same occasion that millions of ordinary people had before them brings them to the thought, to the discovery.

Other men are subsequently surprised at not having made the discovery, because they are certainly able to think afterwards, but not before.

[Arthur Schopenhauer]
The World as Will and Representation, Volume II, p.29

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