Multiple personalities

Nov 27 2006 by Edward de Bono Print This Article

Should we integrate

Creativity needs possibility and potential alternatives. Normal thinking needs truth, instant judgment and definite choice. If we look to combine these almost opposite habits of mind, is it possible that we will weaken both of them?

The Japanese approach is to separate them. The thinker deliberately switches into creative mode. There is a danger in this; you can only be creative in those formal situations which require a measure of creativity and at other times creativity is absent.

But then the switching model makes it a lot easier to learn how to think creatively. For instance, you can learn the process of provocation without having to unlearn logical progression.

Each step follows logically from the previous step in normal thinking. With provocation, there might not be a reason for saying something until after it is said; the provocation justifies its use.

So there are pros and cons when it comes to the separation of thinking into defined and stated modes. When asked to choose between two things, the first inclination is often to ask why you cannot have both.

In this case, it is possible to have both. You can have a formal creative thinking mode that you can switch into deliberately. At the same time, you can integrate aspects of creative thinking into your daily thinking mode.

You can add the attitudes and some aspects of the formal tools of lateral thinking to daily thinking as long as they are also kept as part of deliberate creativity. The quest for the underlying concept and for different ways of delivering that concept can become part of ordinary thinking.

You need to have a highly efficient and effective 'creative thinking mode' into which you can switch deliberately and formally. It is also useful to be able to incorporate some of the attitudes of lateral thinking into daily judgmental thinking.

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About The Author

Edward de Bono
Edward de Bono

Edward de Bono (1933-2021) was a leading authority in the field of creative thinking. Over 35 years after the publication of his first book, "The Mechanism of Mind", the basic principles he outlined are now mainstream thinking in the mathematics of self-organising systems and in the design of neuro-computers. His many subsequent books have been translated into 26 languages.