James Bach and I have a thing that we do called “transpection“. It’s not at all new (you do it, Socrates and his interlocutors did it in Plato’s dialogs, and people did it long before that and have done it ever since) but I think James’ word for it is new. Transpection is an exploratory conversation aimed (or chartered) towards discussing and refining a particular idea. Transpection is a way to improve your own thinking by witnessing the thinking of someone else while not revealing your own thinking to them until the end of the session. The word is related to inspection (in which one examines and observes something) introspection (in which one examines and observes one’s mental or emotional processes) and retrospection (in which one examines the past). Transpection involves examining or observing an idea with another person. As James says, “Transpection basically means to learn by putting yourself in someone else’s place. The transpective dialogs I do are about using someone else’s knowledge, biases, and methods as a counterpoint to my own as I try to solve a problem for myself. As I do this, I generally don’t share my own thoughts, for fear of biasing my partner toward my own way of thinking. The essence of transpection is to get the maximum value out of seeing the world as the other person sees it.”
James and I often disagree on certain ideas, but through transpection we come to sort them out and sharpen them. At first, it seemed that we disagreed on testing and checking, but through a transpection session yesterday, we came to agreement and James provided me with a set of attributes whereby we can test whether something is a test or a check.
A check, then, has three attributes:
1) It requires an observation.
2) The observation is linked to a decision rule.
3) The observation and the rule can be applied without sapience.