The power of gestalt
May 6, 2006
I am a big believer in gestalt. A gestalt is what you get when you absorb varying and often seemingly unrelated tidbits of information and then take a leap beyond the pattern that emerges. The important point is this: no individual bits of information or any combination can adequately describe the final conclusion. The gestalt is by definition greater than the whole.
You don’t get gestalt in a field by going through analyst reports, studying trends. Those are useful but insufficient. I suppose that obtaining gestalt is a great by-product of intellectual curiosity – after all it’s a lot more fun to be doing things because you enjoy them than to try to get something out of them!
I suppose I can justify the variety of my readings and entertainment this way. Every week I read The Economist and New Scientist cover to cover, which I complement with Forbes, Time, Fortune, Business Week, but also Entertainment Weekly and Premiere. I love movies of all genres, be they artsy foreign movies or the latest blockbuster, books of all genres from Ron Chernow biographies to the latest Dan Brown thriller and love playing video games.
So next time you are berated for seeking mindless entertainment in the form of a blockbuster movie or a video game, retort you are in the process of getting gestalt 🙂