Monday, October 29, 2012

Lessons from Sherlock Pt.2

  1. Often what is out of the common is usually a guide rather than a hindrance. In solving a problem of this sort, the grand thing is to be able to reason backwards. That is a very useful accomplishment, and a very easy one, but people do not practice it much. In the everyday affairs of life it is more useful to reason forward, and so the other comes to be neglected. Most people, if you describe a train of events to them, will tell you what the results would be. They can put those events together in their minds, and argue from them that something will come to pass. There are few people however, who, if you told them a result, would be able to evolve from their own inner consciousness what the steps were which led up to that result. This power is what I mean when I talk of reasoning backward, or analytically.
  2. It is a mistake to confound strangeness with mystery. The most commonplace crime is often the most mysterious, because it presents no new or special features from which deductions may be drawn.
  3. The main thing with people when you talk to them in an investigation is to never let them know that their information can be of the slightest importance to you. If you do they will instantly shut up like an oyster. if you listen to them under protest, as it were, you are very likely to get what you want.
  4. As a rule, the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling. Just as a commonplace face is the most difficult to identify.
  5. It should be your business to know things. To train yourself to see what others overlook.
  6. The most difficult crime to track is one which is purposeless.
  7. Crime is common. Logic is rare. Therefore it is upon logic rather than upon crime that you should dwell.
  8. It is of the highest importance in the Art of Detection to be able to recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital. Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of concentrated.
  9. The features given to a man are means by which he shall express his emotions; and you can read a man's train of thought from his features, especially his eyes.
  10. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Art of Deduction.

My entire life I have been obsessed with the thought of knowing what people are thinking. Knowing their secrets, the things they don't want any one else to know. This drove me to explore ways of making this happen, mind you I was 8, so my options were pretty limited. 
First I studied Psychic abilities & ways of obtaining it. As you can imagine it lead me no where & required much more work than I really wanted to apply. Then I read my first Sherlock Holmes story. 
He quickly became my mentor. I didn't just read the stories, I studied them. I have even made notes. Tips from the Great Detective himself on how to know people better than they know themselves. 
I'm not saying I'm perfect.
Goodness no...but I can tell you no one in my family likes watching detective shows with me because I solve the crime within 15 minutes. 
5 minutes if I'm having a good day.

I am going to share with you now a few of the notes I have made. In no real specific order, I have 56 so far.
Let us begin...

  1. Like all other arts, the Science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study, nor is life long enough to allow any mortal to attain the highest possible perfection in it. Before turning to these moral and mental aspects of the matter which present the greatest difficulties, let the inquirer begin by mastering more elementary problems. Let him on meeting a fellow-mortal, learn at a glance to distinguish the history of the man and the trade or profession to which he belongs. Puerile as such an exercise may seem, it sharpens the faculties of observation, and teaches one where to look and what to look for. By a man's fingernails, by the coat sleeve, by the boot, by his trouser knees, by the callosities of his forefinger and thumb, by his expressions, by his shirt cuffs- by each of these things a man's calling is plainly revealed. That all united should fail to enlighten the competent inquirer in any case is almost inconceivable.
  2. You should consider your brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skilled workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain attic. He will have nothing but the tool which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that a little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. It is of the highest importance not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones.
  3.  An observant man can learn by an accurate and systematic examination of all that came in his way. From a drop of water, a logician could infer the possibility of an Atlantic or a Niagara without having seen or heard of one or the other. So all life is a great chain, the nature of which is known whenever we are shown a single link of it.
  4. Always approach a case with an absolutely blank mind, which is always an advantage. Form no theories, just simply observe and draw inferences from your observations.
  5. It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. Insensibly, one begins to trust facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts. It biases the judgement. 
  6. The temptation to form premature theories upon insufficient data is the bane of this profession.
  7. They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains. It's a very bad definition, but it does apply to detective work.
  8. The height of a man, in nine cases out of ten, can be told from the length of his stride.
  9. When a man writes on a wall, his instinct leads him to write above the levels of his own eyes. 
  10. To a great mind, nothing is little.

That is all for now. I'll try to add more tomorrow.