Ordering your thoughts: Categories of the mind

The most important first step in thinking is to start looking for patterns and sets of things. For this we need to realise what “looking” really means.


The words “looking” and “seeing” when used in connection with thinking really work as metaphors. “Yes, I see…” A metaphor is a word or figure of speech which suggests comparison. Comparison is what the game is all about. Through comparison we see similarities and differences, on the basis of these we re group experience and forge connections. These are the basis for making the right decisions “Looking” means searching for patterns. “Seeing” means understanding in a particular way, that is when you have discovered the patterns and made the connections.


Metaphysics is the discipline that concerns itself with the way we “see” the world. That has traditionally meant dividing it into categories. Categories are useful because they help us to think about the nature of similarities and differences (see below) That helps us to find patterns and relationships. A relationship is what is really interesting.