Logical and Lateral Thinking
Logical and Lateral Thinking
Lateral thinking refers to a type of thinking which was coined by a Maltese writer, physician and psychologist known as Edward De Bono, and it involves attempts aimed at sparing new thinking through disregarding of patterns that have been established. In essence, lateral thinking is aimed at escaping attempts by the brains to catalog all given perceptions in the patterns which can be able to limit creativity yet efficient. According to De-Bonos book titled Mechanisms of the Mind, the application of some specific tools of lateral thinking can make the brains trained or encouraged to become more creative. The lateral thinking model is also well illustrated in Bonos Lateral Thinking: Step by Step. Lateral thinking is normally concerned with the development or generation of new ideas, and there has been a curious notion that the new ideas are normally concerned with technical invention. However, this is just a small aspect of such a matter, since new ideas are actually a sign of change and the progress that occurs in each field ranging from art to science, personal happiness to even politics (Lee et al, 2013).
Lateral thinking is quite different from vertical or logical thinking, which is actually a traditional form of thinking. In logical thinking, an individual is known to move forward through sequential steps that must all be justified. The distinction between logical and lateral thinking is, therefore, sharp. For example, in lateral thinking, one may be wrong during some steps in order to arrive at a correct solution, while in logical or vertical thinking, this is barely possible. It should, therefore, be noted that lateral thinking can never be a substitute for the vertical thinking, since all of them are complementary apart from being required. This is because while lateral thinking is generative, logical thinking is selective. Vertical thinking allows users to arrive at conclusions through a genuine series of steps. Due to the soundness that is involved in the steps, one is normally arrogantly sure of the conclusions correctness. Lateral thinking is required in order to handle the perpetual choice that is itself normally beyond the reach of logical thinking. Lateral thinking is also characterised by tampering the arrogance of any given rigid conclusion despite the fact how sound such a conclusion seems (Galindo, 2009).
While lateral thinking is known to enhance the effectiveness of logical thinking, vertical thinking on its hand is known to develop ideas which are generated through lateral thinking. While vertical thinking or logical thinking can be used in digging the sale hole a step deeper, lateral thinking, on the other hand, is used in digging of a hole at a different place. Just like in logical thinking, lateral thinking is also a way in which the mind is used. Lateral thinking, therefore, just like logical thinking is an attitude and a habit of the mind. While logical thinking is concerned with the development or proving of the new concept patterns, lateral thinking, on the other hand, is responsible for the restructuring of such patterns through not only providing insight but also provoking new patterns through creativity as well. As a result, it can correctly be ascertained that both forms of thinking (logical and lateral) are quite complementary, and, thus, some skills are necessary to operate both of them, despite the fact that major emphasis in education has actually been placed exclusively on logical thinking. However, the need for the use of lateral thinking has been known to emerge due to the limitations regarding the minds behaviour as being a self-maximizing memory system (DuBrin, 2011).
From the age of 7 years right up to the university age, the process of lateral thinking is quite relevant. Despite the fact that this may seem to be a wide age group, the lateral thinking process is just as basic as logical thinking, and as a result, its relevance is not limited to a specific age group. Lateral thinking is actually deemed to be more relevant when one is studying languages, history, engineering, or science. Just like in logical thinking, lateral thinking is also a general behaviour or attitude of the mind and can be used in making some specific techniques during different occasions or instances. Unlike logical thinking, many processes involved in lateral thinking are normally very contradictory and, therefore, unless a clear distinction is made, there is high possibility that people may create an impression that lateral thinking is responsible for undermining logical thinking. It is, therefore, only through keeping a clear distinction of lateral thinking from logical thinking that individuals can be able to avoid such dangers and, as a result, appreciate the value and importance of both types of thinking. It should be noted by that lateral thinking should never be regarded as an attack on vertical thinking but rather as a method of making it become more effective through addition of creativity (Proctor, 2009).
Lateral thinking refers to the creation or definition of a solution and the eventual working out of a solution. Logical thinking involves the following of logical thoughts and, thus, involves solving a problem through following steps that are set. It is, therefore, good for mathematics. On the other hand, logical thinking refers to thinking outside the box and, thus, it needs more creativity. While logical thinking is known to be selective, lateral thinking is termed to be generative. For instance, lateral thinking is encouraged during brainstorming sessions in order to develop more creating solutions, while logical thinking is adopted during the second phase in order to invent feasible ideas. In mathematical or traditional logical type of thinking, one moves forward through sequential steps and selecting what is only relevant. In lateral thinking, one may deliberately seek out information that is irrelevant just for its sake and not for its effect. In order to achieve correct and innovative solutions in lateral thinking, one may normally be wrong during some stages.
According to a book by Dr. Karl Albrecht Brain Building, logical thinking is not actually a magical process or a matter of genetic endowment. Instead, it is a learned mental process in which an individual consistently uses reasoning in order to arrive at a conclusion. He further asserts that situations or problems which involve logical thinking actually need a structure for the relationships between the facts or for chains of reasoning which make sense. Dr. Albrecht further asserts that the background of all logical thinking is normally sequential thought in which all the vital facts, ideas, and conclusions are taken in a problem and are eventually arranged in a chain-like progression. As a result, thinking logically implies thinking in steps. Logical thinking is a vital foundational skill for mathematics, which normally involves highly sequential processes or steps.
Since the most part of individuals have strong believe that traditional logical thinking is actually the only way of thinking effectively, it is important to indicate the nature of lateral thinking through portraying how it actually differs from the logical form off thinking. People are used to vertical thinking habits to such an extent that some points of difference may appear to be sacrilegious. While vertical thinking is deemed to be selective, lateral thinking is actually deemed to be generative. Rightness is known to matter much in logical thinking, while richness matters much in lateral thinking (Potter, 2010).
While vertical or logical thinking is known to selects a pathway through the exclusion of other pathways, lateral thinking does not select but rather seeks to open some other pathways. In logical thinking, one actually selects one of the most promising solutions or approaches towards a problem by looking at best ways towards a situation. In contrast, in lateral thinking, one generates various alternative approaches to the best which he or she can find. In vertical or logical thinking, an individual may seek for different approaches or strategies until a promising one is found, while in lateral thinking, individuals are known to choose as many approaches as possible until a promising one is found.
In logical thinking, people make attempts at selecting one particular approach. In lateral thinking, on the contrary, an individual generates numerous approaches with a view of generating them. In addition to that, while logical thinking is known to only move in the availability of direction to move, lateral thinking on its part is known to move so as to generate direction. In logical thinking, it is ascertained that one moves in a direction that is already dearly defined towards solving of a problem. In addition to that, an individual is known to use some form of definite approach or technique in logical thinking. However, in lateral thinking, one is known to move just for the sake of moving. In lateral thinking, an individual does not move so as to follow direction. Instead, one moves in order to generate direction.
In logical thinking, an individual designs an experiment with a view of portraying some effect, while in lateral thinking, an individual designs an experiment with a view of providing an opportunity or chance to alter or change ones ideas. In logical thinking, an individual is capable of playing around without a clear direction or purpose through the use of notations, experiments, models, and even ideas. The change and movement that is exhibited in lateral thinking is not normally an end in itself but rather a way through which re-patterning can be achieved. As long as there is both movement and change, the maximizing properties or features of the mind will realize that something important happens. While the logical thinker asserts that he or she knows what she is searching, the lateral thinker, on the other way round, says that he or she is searching, but she or he does not know what it is until he or she finds it. It can, therefore, be well ascertained that while vertical thinking can be termed to be analytical, lateral thinking is termed to be provocative. It should be realized that in order to be capable of using provocative qualities provided in lateral thinking, one should be able to also possess some selective qualities which are provided in vertical or logical thinking (Holston, 2011).
While logical thinking is known to be sequential, lateral thinking is on the opposite side, since it is capable of making jumps. One moves forward through making one step at a time in logical thinking in which the steps are known to directly arise from the steps that proceed. However, in lateral thinking, the steps do not actually have to be sequential, since one is capable of jumping ahead towards a new point and filling the gaps afterwards. Unlike lateral thinking in which an individual does not have to be correct at each and every step, one has to be correct during each and every step in vertical or logical thinking. In essence, one must always be correct or right at any given step in logical thinking. As a result, mathematics and logical functioning cannot function if such necessity is not available. However, in lateral thinking, an individual does not have to be correct or right in each and every step so long as the final conclusion is right or correct. In addition to that, the parts in lateral thinking have to be rally self-supporting during every stage. However, when the last part is fixed into place, the bridge will instantly become self supporting. In vertical or logical thinking, an individual uses the negative so as to block some specific pathways, while in lateral thinking, there is usually no negative (Butterworth et al, 2013).
Logical thinking is different as compared to lateral thinking, because in logical thinking, an individual is known to concentrate and exclude anything that is irrelevant, while in lateral thinking, an individual has the capability of welcoming any chance for intrusions. Logical thinking is selected through exclusion, and one works within a designated reference by throwing out what is irrelevant. On the other hand, in lateral thinking, an individual realizes that indeed, a pattern cannot be internally restructured, which can occur only through outside influence. As a result, one is capable of welcoming influences from outside for their own provocative actions.
In most circumstances, the more irrelevant such influences become, the more chances of changing patterns that are established appear. In vertical thinking categories, labels and classifications are normally fixed, while in lateral thinking, such classifications and labels are not fixed. In logical thinking, labels, categories, and classifications are only deemed to be useful if they are used consistently. This is because logical thinking is dependent upon the identification of things as being members of some type of class or its exclusion. As opposed to vertical or logical thinking, lateral thinking labels are known to change when things are viewed differently from different angles. In lateral thinking, labels are not attached permanently. Instead, they are temporarily used for convenience. Logical thinking, on the other hand, is known to heavily depend on the rigidity of the definitions just like it does in mathematics through stimulation of the lateral thinking. That is why vertical thinking is known to follow most likely paths. Lateral thinking, however, contradicts it by exploring the paths which are most unlikely.
Lateral thinking is quite different from logical thinking, because while lateral thinking can be termed as being deliberately perverse through attempting to look at the least obvious strategies or approaches unlike those ones which are mostly likely. In logical thinking, one is known to normally move ahead on the widest pathway that points the right direction. As a result, vertical or logical thinking is regarded as being a finite process, while lateral thinking is regarded as being a probabilistic process. In vertical thinking, an individual is actually expected to find a definite answer. In case one applies the mathematical method, an answer is definitely guaranteed. However, in lateral thinking, an answer may lack totally, since lateral thinking is known to enhance or increase the chances for the restricting of the patterns and also for an in-depth solution. However, while lateral thinking is known to increase the chances for the achievement of a maximum solution, it does not guarantee promises.