Diagrammatic thinking has been developed over the years in order to facilitate the process of making sense of complex, seemingly random, situations. For example, a driver who is driving at seventy miles per hour on a wet slippery road is unlikely to stop, because she has already been through this situation so many times before. However, by visualizing a picture of a car stopped at that same speed, this driver can begin to understand that the image represents reality in her mind. By using the analogy, this driver can then imagine what it would be like to come to a decision at that speed. A driver who was to visualize a car at the point at which it has slowed down would begin to see that the problem was not the road itself, but rather the decision she had taken when she pulled over.
Diagrammatic reasoning has also been used to illustrate mathematical concepts. An example of this is a child’s toy called the Fibonacci sequence, which has an array of numbers arranged in a particular order. By using diagrams of the Fibonacci sequence and their associated frequencies, a child can learn to associate numbers and patterns and develop an intuition for their own personal numbers.
Diagrammatic thinking is used in an infinite number of different ways, including as an explanation of science, politics, art and business. The study of the diagrams can be used to explain the structure of a scientific experiment, the history of an era, the origin of a phenomenon, or the meaning of a mathematical or scientific word. The diagrammatic method can be used to examine and interpret all manner of written texts – from a children’s story to a textbook, from poetry to technical writing.
Diagrammatical reasoning can also be used to make sense of artistic representations such as paintings and sculpture. For example, if a painter were to illustrate a painting, he would use a chart, or grid, or other type of chart, showing different colors, shapes, sizes, and position within the painting. By visually viewing the painting from a diagrammatic point of view, the painter can see how the different elements of the painting interact with one another to create the finished product.
Diagrammatical reasoning also occurs when a person is interpreting or explaining a scientific concept to another person. For instance, a student who is taking a chemistry class might be expected to describe the properties of two substances under a microscope. However, if the student uses a graphmatic diagram to graphically demonstrate the relationship between the two substances, he can help the student understand the relationship between the properties of each substance by visualizing the relationship between the properties of the substances in relation to each other. By using a diagrammatic analogy, the student can begin to see why this relationship is correct and why this relationship is true.
Diagrammatical reasoning can be applied to all forms of art – from a child’s coloring page to a professional artist’s portfolio. By using an illustrative diagram in place of words, the artist can explain the meaning of the material better and help the artist to understand how the different colors relate to each other. The diagram can be used to show the difference between an abstract form and an object, to explain an effect of light, or to demonstrate the relationships between different tones or hues of a color.
The most important point to remember about diagrams is that they are just an illustration, an interpretation of something else. They do not actually depict the real thing – they are merely a way to describe the relationship between the objects being depicted. A drawing or photograph cannot be seen under a microscope and so it cannot be described with an illustration. Diagrams are simply illustrations of the way things look. Therefore, a person’s inability to understand an example of the diagrammatically, purely from a visual standpoint, does not necessarily mean that he or she is unable to reason or comprehend the meaning behind the diagram.