Either / And / Or

I frequently sketch out mind maps to explore product ideas.

Last week I mapped out three simple options for how a product could interact with three different groups. They were all mutually exclusive options until I realized they didn’t have to be.

Why do we so often look at the world through Either / Or statements?

There are enough constraints for us to guide us in our pursuits: Time. Money. Knowledge. Network. Conviction. Motivation. Confidence. Etc.

Why do we constrain ourselves prematurely? Why not start with Either / And and apply the above constraints incrementally, step-by-step, or in different combinations, permutations and intensities to arrive at a clear decision?

To quote Burroughs -

The whole concept of EITHER/OR. Right or wrong, physical or mental, true or false, the whole concept of OR will be deleted from the language and replaced by juxtaposition, by AND. This is done to some extent in any pictorial language where the two concepts stand literally side by side. These falsifications inherent in English and other Western alphabetical languages give the reactive mind commands their overwhelming force in the languages. Consider the IS of identity. When I say to be me, to be you, to be myself, to be others — whatever I may be called upon to be or say that I am — I am not the verbal label ‘myself’. I cannot be and am not the verbal label ‘myself’. The word BE in English contains, as a virus contains, its precoded message of damage, the categorical imperative of permanent condition.


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