Oblique Strategies is a set of cards created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, published in 1975. Each card contains a phrase or a question that can be used to jumpstart a thinking process or brainstorm. For example:
“Honor thy error as a hidden intention.”
“You don’t have to be ashamed of using your own ideas.”
“What to maintain?”
“Do we need holes?”
Though no longer available, Oblique Strategies was also released as an iPhone app.
I sometimes use the deck thinking about a specific creative problem. While looking at random cards using the app I realized the one flaw the deck has, these strategies only encourage further thinking concerning whatever you are working on. Though random and thought-provocking these questions and phrases are by definition about whatever brings you to the cards.
I started thinking that what I wanted and needed was a deck of cards, inspired by Oblique Strategies, that would instead take me away from what I was focusing on and introduce a new subject. A kind of controlled distraction. I wanted a question or a subject on something I didn’t know, that I could research as quickly or deeply as I wanted in order to cleanse my thinking palette. That’s how The Autodidact Deck was born. I developed a pack of 100 cards to be released here over time.
You can use the cards as they are posted to go on a self-learning adventure.
And here is the first card released: