Human Thinking: Is it Rational or Creative?

For a long time we have been taught to think in a specific way, and that is the rational way of thinking. Rational is a word that originated from the Latin rationalis. This way of thinking was, somehow, created mostly by Europeans, Rene Descartes being the most famous in the group, but actually this kind of thinking dates far back in the days when the Greeks gave birth to logic and coherent thoughts.

Thinking Logically

An example of a logical thought would be to say if A is B, and B is C, then C is A.  Another would be, if Socrates was a human, and all human were beautiful, then Socrates was beautiful.  This is logic and we use it in many ways.  One example would be the use of logic in mathematics.  We use a lot of logical thinking in decision making.  We use rational, logical thinking as the preferred way in analyzing a problem.

The Brain Prefers Multi-dimensional Thinking

Now, here’s the problem.  Our brain is not made to think in a rational way.  It is not made to think in bullet points, in mathematical equations, in categories, or in a one dimensional way.  Actually, the brain is a tool that prefers multi-dimensional and associative styles of thinking.  I think the best way to show how your brain works is to let it loose, like when you dream or imagine things.  If you cut down on the external input and focus on the internal input which the brain gives itself, this makes the brain a wonderful, self-organizing system.

With your brain let loose, you are actually dreaming.  When you are dreaming, this is the stage which shows us how your brain functions in the purest way.   It also tells us what your brain actually likes.

I always think of my brain as a Kubrick movie.  I dream in pictures, mostly black and white and at other times in colors, too.  These things morph into each other, associating, with things jumping from A to B, B to C, then C back to A.  These associations do not necessarily mean things are equal to some other things.  Things can be the same but not the same.  There is no single category.  This is the way we think.  Frankly, the way we think is different from how we were taught how to think.

Think in a Way that Suits You

This makes a lot of people miserable, thinking they had acted on their emotions.  Some are threatened by the many ideas that run through their minds even while awake, fearing that they daydream all the time.  They wish they can concentrate in a rational way.  Or, when making decisions, some people doubt themselves and think they should have made a rational decision and not allow their emotions to take over.

However, you should think in a way that suits you and not force a different kind of thinking on yourself.  Let that sink in a little bit as it is profound.  Don’t’ try to think in a way that you think is good but trust your own instinct, emotions and thinking, that all these will be just fine whatever these lead you to do.

How to Enhance Creative Thinking

The question now is, how can you enhance this process of creative thinking? There are a few things you can do, and one is to change your language of thinking. Make your language more free; think less in categories but more in association. Another thing you can do is just try to daydream and build on your imagination. Imagination is a very important tool and a lot of people use it. Imagine is great and can achieve or get to more solutions to a problem just by daydreaming or imagining the solutions.

Mind Mapping

We are coming to an age where it becomes obvious to a lot of people that intuition and emotion are more than just by-products of our coming into our current thinking processes.  The rational part of thinking is just a tiny bit of all the thinking that goes on or that should go on in your brain.  In fact, you can use mind mapping to enhance and retain your cognitive back to a more associative and creative way. It is geared towards letting you see connections that are not completely logical or rational. These are probably things that you don’t understand yourself, but you somehow feel connected to. More often, these are bits of the puzzle that play the most important part when thinking.

Come to think of it, what experiences do you have with creative thinking?  How do you use it?  Do you use it at all or think it is just rubbish?  Let me know.  I’ll be interested.

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