# wringing clothes
###### (a letter to Chet Richards)
So a little progress update on [“wringing clothes”](https://www.facebook.com/artem.grinblat/posts/10158039562623556), which is a technique that entails a double focus on both the purpose of the present moment and on the implicit orientation.
I now think of “wringing clothes” as a kind of alternative to OODA loop.
You see, OODA loop is not very practical as a technique.
It is too complex to employ for moment-to-moment decisions (which I think you've also mentioned, citing that pilots don't "use" OODA during the fights),
and what's more, decisions to a large degree happen automatically, *before* they are consciously registered (cf. Left-brain Interpreter, cf. Change Phenomena 2012 Kev Sheldrake),
so to match the OODA theoretical side with a side that is practical - we need a technique that's oriented towards improving the *automatic* decision-making process!
There's an interesting example in martial arts of influencing the automatic decisions: chi!
Chi can be seen as a *metaphor* that allows a martial artist to think, not in terms of manually controlling their muscles, but in terms of setting a *goal* and having it achieved automatically.
"*The skill consists in directing the energy, or chi, through intention, and the intention then directs the body. The aim is not to use the body directly, with brute muscular force, but to use the will to direct the energy, forming a sensitive feeling of movement; then the physical movement follows*" (Sheldrake, Ways to Go Beyond)
The “wringing clothes” is similar in that it doesn't try to manually operate the OODA loop but instead invests the psychic energy (focus, attention) in the decision-making process (on the opposite sides of it, purpose of present moment and implicit orientation).
Using it for the last month I'd say it's a viable self-hypnosis technique, showing good results.
Previously I was using the plain OODA loop for that, repeating the “*Observe, Orient, Decide, Act*” mantra
(repeating stuff as a way to use self-hypnosis was popularized by Émile Coué)
now I use a simpler “*Moment, Orientation*” mantra, it's shorter and it includes the important “orientation” bit which was missing from the plain OODA version.
Using self-hypnosis to channel the psychic energy (to direct the cathexis) that way - considerably improves the decision making ability, in my experience.
“*Feelings are intrinsically about something: making it possible for an organism to gravitate towards states of at least good and preferably optimal life regulation*” (Man, Damasio, 2019, Homeostasis and soft robotics)
It naturally follows from the “wringing clothes” technique, from delegating the decision-making process to the extended computational capacity of preverbal cognition, that decision making begins to (re)align with the bodily feelings and emotions, leading to the so-called "embodied cognition". Good decisions now match good feelings and emotions, bad decisions are naturally troubling, and the negative emotions are now helpful in overcoming the obstacles.
> Many thanks-- I think you're on to something. Obviously decision conflict can be a big problem, even fatal -- perhaps most famously the Mann Gulch disaster (https://cmapspublic.ihmc.us/rid=1255442493375_13600551_21670/Mann%20Gulch%20Disaster%20(Weick).pdf)
This exercise of affective networks and of working hand in hand with them should really help with the critical situations such as the Mann Gulch disaster.
When the decision making is disconnected from the emotions, a critical situation might easily result in emotions "breaking the dam" and overriding cognition.
When the embodied cognition is practiced, however, it goes both way: as we learn to listen to emotions, we also learn to influence and direct them.
A person who practices embodied cognition should thus have an easier time recognizing the early onsets of an emotional crisis and “surfing” it.
> “I knew I had to transform Alcoa,” O'Neill told me. “But you can't *order* people to change. That's not how the brain works. So I decided I was going to start by focusing on one thing. If I could start disrupting the habits around one thing, it would spread throughout the entire company.”
> Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything.
These quotes from Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit highlight the value of having something simple, something one can form a habit of, in order for the desired changes to occur.
The “*Moment, Orientation*” self-hypnosis mantra has certainly fit that bill for me. And I'd be curious to hear of other “chain reaction” habits that people use to practically employ OODA loop.
> “We were basically ceding decision making to a process that occurred without actually thinking”
Per what I call the “optimization principle” both people and organizations tend to replace *thinking* with habitual routines. To a degree this might be a result of how we allocate psychic energy: by focusing solely on the end results, for example, we're cutting the psychic budget from the very *thinking* that is needed to get us to said results. The habits are a part of such a budget, where thinking has to [compete](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_constraint#Individual_choice) with other budget outlays. The habitual invocation of the OODA loop might thus help us retain the ability to think.