Lateral thinking – Pt 1

“The chief enemy of creativity is good sense”
Pablo Picasso

If an idea in your mind is made up of small blocks of information, expanding in an additive fashion each time you receive one from your environment, then all your “new” beliefs are, by application of rationalism, biased.

What if I told you that the method of thinking we call logic operates in exactly the way described above. We routinely take up multiple blocks of information, pass them on into our hard-drives and based on previous information we have already stored there, we find a way to add the new information on top of that. This is the reason why it is so ridiculously hard to alter someone’s way of thinking, or to pass an idea which is incompatible to someone else’s already stored information. Logic is the most common method used for thinking, primarily because that is the main – if not the only – method for thinking we have been taught at school, college, university et cetera, sometimes, indirectly even by our families. 

There is a second, less pronounced school of though which most of us would agree it is more of a character trait, rather than something that can be taught, however, remember that we are biased to think by what we already know. Humor and creativity, are what is scientifically labeled “Lateral Thinking”. What both humor and creativity do, more notably, is that they make us smile when we acknowledge them. Less notably, they uptake information in a similar manner logic does, and instead of adding that information on top of previously stored data, they take the whole data (old and new information) and re-arrange their order in a new way. Think for example of a house made of bricks converted into something else made of bricks, such as a wall , or the words in a sentence rearranged to form a sentence with a different meaning, or the logical expectation or how a situation unravels to be challenged. Say you are in a coffee shop and you need a chair to sit, you walk up to a group of strangers who have a vacant seat next to them and you ask them “Is this chair available?” and if they say yes, instead of grabbing the chair, moving it to your table and then sit on it, which is what the strangers would expect you to do, you sit on it right away. The strangers will probably smile because for some reason its fun to redefine what’s supposed to be ordinary in our minds.

I believe for this same reason lateral thinking should be more commonly used in our daily lives. We should try to think of ways in which the blocks of information we possess about something can be rearranged, even if it seems absurd at the beginning. After all, it is change that makes the world go round. Time is not fixed, so why live as if it is?

(To be continued)




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