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The Science of Deduction
Sherlock Holmes's Lifehacks & tips
Author: Revati and SherlockExtra - Translator: Revati - ARTICLE FOR LUKAS
We like to think. Along with the things that affect all of us like birth, physical similarities, common experiences, daydreaming or death, the ability of thinking connects people as well. One of the fantastic characteristics of the Sherlock Holmes stories is that the greatest detective’s opinion is that everybody is a thinking being. Dr. John Watson, the Baker Street Irregulars or the indigenous Tonga - they all think, just like his brother, Mycroft Holmes, the ruler of the British Empire (COMMON MISBELIEF -Sherlock is smarter than Mycroft). It is irrelevant for the sleuth whether he has to solve a crime committed by an illiterate thug or a genius mastermind – he has to take into consideration their motivations, emotions and their different ways of thinking. Because everybody thinks – the only difference is that we do it on various levels. We need to improve our brain to be able to understand the thoughts of others and to get along better.
Géza Hofi, the brilliant Hungarian comedian said:’The human brain is the best distributed thing in the world. Everybody is convinced he or she has more of it than the others.’ - Exceptions: People who have lack of self-confidence don’t think they are smart, but having a look at their life shows how many times smart thinking and a right decision helped them through difficulties. They also have their brains, and they can train it (And if you still rank yourself to the most underestimated, just take into consideration that you’re alive, you did not win a Darwin prize, so nothing proves that you are dumb). As long as we live and our brain is able to act, our IQ can be increased.
If you think you need someone else’s help to develop your brain capacities, you can choose from many training courses aimed at communication and personal development. To apply to an acting group is an excellent decision as well, where you can learn a lot about yourself and others. Joe Navarro is a writer, presenter, advisor and one of the most outstanding expert of body language. He has been an FBI agent, and his opinion is that everybody should learn some acting, because it helps us better understand ourselves and others. Sherlock Holmes is a fine actor himself, and he needs this ability several times. William Shakespeare also said: ’All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.’ Taking part in a course can give us some new friends as well. Now our life is complicated because of the regulations in connection with the Covid-19 pandemic, but we can watch videos and read articles online. One thing is important: choose articles/videos that are written/made by experts. Sometimes you have to do a thorough search to find these – do not stop at the first page of your Google search results. Keep in mind: the great detective also had the firm belief that the quality of the thoughts and information is the most important. Dedicate your time to find and evaluate valuable information.
Hereinafter we go deeper into discovering the minds of ourselves, of others and of Sherlock Holmes. We will touch on real-life, tough facts we have dealt with in earlier articles on this site, but we bring some playful curiosities as well. Sure, you have to read – and we have some practical advice too. Come along! The game is on.
THE GAME IS ON:
1. START UP YOUR FUNNY LITTLE BRAIN – we have to know why studying is so important
It is of great importance to look at studying as a positive thing, as part of our development. Lifelong learning is a well-known expression. Excercising our brain has to be considered as the big chance of advance, not as a difficult obligation. It can be the accomplishment of our personality. The more we know about the world, the less stress it takes to handle challenges.
Lots of students think they have to learn too many unnecessary things. But don’t forget that first we have to be familiar with the rules to play a new game. The main aim of new knowledge may be first to start brainwork, to learn conclusions and to memorize. With the newly gained information our brain builds up new nerve pathways and learns to receive unexpected data. We assess that there are rules and we have to keep them. Don’t belittle yourself or the surprises of life – a seemingly meaningless information may bring you success in the future. A future genius can be hiding in each of us.
Every student can be happy – the fact that you began your studies means that you’ve already taken the first step and you’ve overcome the ’fairytale start’. The cognitive abilities of a small child are developed through tales, playing and talking. These are all very important. Children use mainly these to learn what’s right and what’s wrong, these help to improve their vocabulary and imagination, and shape their range of interest. It is of utmost importance for a parent to dedicate his/her time and often tell tales to his/her child. This way they spend valuable time together, what is necessary for an excellent parent-child relationship. Conan Doyle’s father was a drinker, and the young Arthur escaped to the realm of imagination when his mother told him tales. The stories gave both of them much needed comfort and hope, and they served as the base of Doyle’s success as a writer. We have to stress that solely this wouldn’t have been enough for him getting along. He achieved more than his parents and became world famous because he studied a lot. His father wanted to be a painter, but had to work as a clerk which he didn’t like at all, so he felt his whole life was a failure. When Arthur started his medical practice, he had such a few patients that he began to write just to keep himself occupied. With the success of his Sherlock Holmes stories he decided to give up medicine in favor of writing. He was brave enough to find new possibilities for making a living – unlike his father. Charles Altamont Doyle did not train himself enough to be a truly talented painter, and he didn’t understand why his modest artworks did not bring him the success he had been waiting for. His hatred of his office work, combined with his depression and his heavy drinking made him unable to find lasting pleasure in life. Conan, on the other hand, dared to change his life. Just like his famous hero, Sherlock Holmes, who goes into voluntary exile because of Moriarty and his people, or infiltrates into a gang when it’s necessary for his investigation. While Charles Altamont Doyle was unable to adapt to the events his life brought about, Conan or Sherlock were wise enough to realize what to do to suit and change for the better. The latter two were smarter, they were the winners and the survivors. We can also say that they were brave enough to rebuild their lives. A great player can restart the game if he/she has to. So studying is important in favor of a better present and future.
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (1976) by Bruno Bettelheim
Joe Navarro's books
Conan Doyle: Complete Sherlock Holmes
Sadly in our modern, busy world many parents do not have the time to care for their children. They think school and the media will bring them up, and forget that this duty is theirs. There are good tales and children’s stories, for example Thomas & Friends, which tells with the help of small engines that we all have our own duties, and when we do our task, we can be proud of ourselves. It also shows that to cooperate and to help each other is a good thing. But most of the things broadcasted by the media are quite harmful. Because of the exaggerations of television films many people have false conceptions about relationships. Some series about working in an office or about family life show how people rip somebody off using tough methods. Social media tells you that someone who is in contact with you online is your friend, yet this ’friend’ can be a fake profile. Many people try to recreate dangerous movie scenes or accept challenges. Media has false concepts of hard work, respect, love, friendship, or even of the laws of physics. We can notice that the portrayal of Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is often totally opposes the Canon. Media also shows a fake body image – just think about the photoshopped pictures on social media. Media knowingly uses manipulations to make people feel uncomfortable when they are not ’perfect’. It makes you feel dumb, ugly and worthless – but at the same time it offers the ultimate solution: buy certain products and they will change your life. Media shows it is trendy to change your way of communication. People talk less and less, everybody stares at their smartphones even in someone else’s company, and the most important feature of online communication is the limited use of characters, cutting down of words and expressing feelings with emoticons. This limits the brain’s work and gives a false experience of community. Exactly as Zbigniew Brzezinski, the great political manipulator predicted decades earlier. He said that when people are manipulated with the right media tools, they will be able to be alone in a crowd.
WHY IS THIS A PROBLEM?
Tim van de Vall gave permission to use his illustration on our website. We are very grateful.
Generations grew up without appropriate education. They may dress and behave like a child even in their adulthood, and they often have discomfort like a little boy or girl. People with extreme looks often use their appearance as a living broadsheet, showing they cannot find their place in the world, they don’t know what to do, so their looks are a striking call for help. Some of these people have addictions too (alcoholism, smoking, overdone extreme sports) – these serve the same purpose, calling attention. They are longing for love, but their relationships with others and their performance in work are a failure. They experience lots of disappointment, just like Charles Altamont Doyle. They don’t have the knowledge and ability to solve problems. They are still in the period of beginning, but for an adult it’s not a fairytale anymore, rather a horror story. These people aren’t survivors, they are miserable victims, having lots of stress, making wrong decisions due to inconsistent thinking. It’s hard for them to accept that we all have duties, because they did not learn that these are also the parts of life. They don’t know what British genius Winston Churchill said: ’All the great things are simple and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.’ And these are not only words. With perseverance, studying, adaptation and the right combination of all these they are our chances for a happy and fulfilled life.
The responsibility of a good parent is to let his/her child to progress physically, in mind and in intellection. This way the ’fairytale start’ leads to a student, then an adult who is willing to study. A well-educated child is able to self-instruction, and he/she can be proud of himself/herself and of his/her parents. He/she uses the media, and is not used by it. For these children the manipulating popculture and its superficial symbols aren’t the only existing things, they can also enjoy the true values of art and morality. They are not childish minds in adult bodies like Charles Altamont Doyle, but matured minds – like Conan Doyle, the artist, or Sherlock Holmes, the scientist.
(It is very important to note that when someone is in the first or in the second stage of development but can’t count on his/her parents, self-instruction is still an option.)
Whether we’ve been educated well or not, as we reach adulthood (in the legal sense), we become responsible for our deeds and for our further development. When we start an enterprise but don’t pay all the taxes, we can’t say that we were not familiar with all onerous titles. Ignorance of the law doesn’t escape compliance with it. To run our company well is our own responsibility – in our modern world many possibilities are given to this. If someone commits murder, his/her tough childhood is an extenuation, but in a rightful state it can never be a reason for acquitment. Lots of murders happened throughout history, but this is not the right way to solve problems. Statistics clearly show that most of the criminals belong to two categories. The first have average understanding yet they were either educated badly or missed self-instruction. The second have low mental abilities. During their rehabilitation in prison they get the chance to learn a profession, to have anger management, to go to church, to learn to act and to use the library. This way they can broaden their knowledge and they can realize that cheating or aggression are not the only solutions to life’s problems. These activities don’t let their mental abilities to fade. So hopefully after their release they will better understand the world and the importance of the laws and won’t commit crimes again. Whoever we are, as adults in a civilized society we have to be educated enough to find sophisticated solutions to our problems instead of aggression.
As a matter of course, our brain can remain funny and playful even when we are adults. Playing games is a great way to relax. We need it for having a good mood. But in the second and third stage we have to pay attention to stimulate our mind with useful information and quality knowledge.
The more knowledge we get the more skills and results we’ll have in our profession. If we are confident in our job, we seldom make mistakes, achieve more and do our daily duties with less stress. Sherlock Holmes always begins his investigations with loving incuriosity, and his experiences and correct thinking make him effective. This is true for almost every field of life. Whether we study communication, human relationship, bringing up a child, religion, hobbies, science, art, relaxation techniques or anything we want. It is always worthy to use at least 5-7 different sources. When we have substantial knowledge in lots of topics, the world will be a more colourful place for us. Our insecurity and discomfort decreases, while our self-evaluation develops.
Important note: Studying doesn’t mean that we have to be a geek, a sour official, a little-liked teacher or a dislikable boss. We can remain cool. Our individuality doesn’t change, and we even can achieve more. Above all both our career and relationships can be happier. When you have more knowledge, it opens a bigger ’playground’ for you, you can be more original and popular. A great example for that is Professor Joseph Bell, who was a source of inspiration for Doyle when he created the figure of Sherlock Holmes. He was a legendarily enertaining lecturer. He often told jokes to his audience and had other tricks as well. He could not have been able to do this without a vast amount of knowledge, and he dared to rely on his imagination and insight into human nature. And he surely dedicated his time to make a lesson plan.