Graph of Thought

chainA phrase that has been really bothering me since I was a teenager is “Chain of Thought” or “Train of Thought” – it even has its own wiki page! As I have recently realized that one use of blogs are meant to be a personal ranting space, so let me do that.

A chain is a lot like a vector, so when I hear the phrase “Chain of Thought”, I see a thinker/brain jumping from link to link, much like an iterator, and most of the links are identical. I don’t think like that, and I’m sure most people don’t either.

When I try to visualize thinking, the picture that comes to my mind is that of a set of stacks, with thoughts popping out of some and being pushed into others.

At other times, thoughts remind me of a tree, with the brain traversing it, sometimes depth first, and sometimes breadth first, but more often, thought looks to me like a graph, with the brain hopping from node to node however the hell it pleases.

A tree is a graph, and a vector is a tree, so why do we have to chain our thoughts by making them look like they follow a linear pattern? They are seldom that linear! Ok, a “Graph of Thought” sounds modern, but trees have been around for much longer than chains!

To me, analogies and models are dangerous oversimplifications. Whenever we use a model to represent something, the thing that is being represented loses a certain part of its being. By sticking to a chain model, we are simplifying our thought process, and perhaps, becoming just a little bit more stupid in the process. I say, let us kill the phrase “Chain of Thought” and climb one teeny weeny step higher on the ladder of evolution.

After this post, I will take the nested brackets that I love (and I do love them (honestly (yes, this is a forced example))) as deep as I want to, without bothering about grammar.

Grammar needs a redesign.