On Icebergs, Onions and Thinking

Comparing the Layers of an onion vs layers of an iceberg

Iceberg models get us to fixate on one thing, that is hidden, deep down and will supposedly prove to be the source. And in the structure of this logic they are really variations of “onion models”.

Onion models have the same logic – the surface layers are superficial, and as you peel them off you get deep and closer to the source and essence.

Onion Models fall to the same criticism as Iceberg Models:

“Nature does not consist of basic particulars, but fields and processes… There is no bottom level of base particulars with intrinsic properties that upwardly determines everything else. Everything is process all the way “down” and all the way “up”...

“…these processes are “irreducibly relational — they exist only in patterns, networks, organizations, configurations or webs… Phenomena at all scales are not entities or substances but relatively stable [relational] processes…”

“...since processes achieve stability at different levels of complexity, while still interacting with processes at other levels, all are equally real and none has absolute ontological primacy.”…” (Evan Thompson, Mind in Life, p. 440)

One of the greatest of all Onion Model assumptions is that thinking is in the head – really somewhere specific in the brain. But thinking is also irreducibly relational – and yes our type of thinking involves brains, but also bodies (it is embodied), tools (it is extended), specific environments (embedded), emerges in action (enactive), and is highly intra-subjective.

For creativity, & really for any type of thinking we really need to leave the onions behind and get on with experimenting with our active distributed relational extended intrasubjective selves.

on What Is Innovation, and How to Innovate

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