Logos, emblems, symbolism, and really bad ideas

By Gordon Rugg

I’ve been working on logo design recently. It’s a neat example of how concepts that we’ve blogged about fit together. There are no prizes for guessing what the topic of this article will be…

Symbolism and reality; some examplesbannerv1Images from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons; full attributions at the end of this article

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Death, Tarot, Rorschach, scripts, and why economies crash

By Gordon Rugg

The best examples of powerful principles often come from unexpected places.

Today’s article is one of those cases. It’s about why it often makes excellent sense to use a particular method, even when you’re fully aware that the method doesn’t work as advertised on the box, or doesn’t work at all.

It’s a story that starts with one of the most widely misunderstood cards in the Tarot pack. The story also features some old friends, in the form of game theory, pattern matching and script theory. It ends, I hope, with a richer understanding of why human behaviour often makes much more sense when you look at the deep underlying regularities, rather than at the surface appearances.

So, we’ll start with Tarot cards. A surprisingly high proportion of people who use Tarot packs will cheerfully tell you that the cards have no mystical powers. Why would anyone use Tarot cards if they don’t have those powers? There are actually some very good reasons.

bannerv2Sources for images are given at the end of this article

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Game theory

By Gordon Rugg

I’m interested in game theory for various reasons. One reason is that it makes sense of a wide range of phenomena which otherwise look baffling.

Another is that it can be combined with approaches such as Transactional Analysis and script theory, to provide systematic and rigorous analyses of how individual people view the world, and what the likely outcomes will be when those views collide with other people’s views, or with the things that life throws at us.

It’s a powerful technique, and it often produces unexpected and counter-intuitive results.

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In-groups, out-groups and the Other

By Gordon Rugg

This article is a quick overview of some long-established and useful concepts from sociology and related fields.

It’s mainly intended as background for another article that I’ll be posting soon, about how most systems treat people who don’t fit neatly into pre-established pigeonholes.

If you already know about in-groups, out-groups etc you might still find this article interesting, because I’ve included some thoughts about cognitive load as a factor in group dynamics.

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