Transformational and Parallel Thinking – A reflection

In this Parallel Thinking by Edward de Bono p195, he wrote:

Traditional logic is based on ‘is’ and ‘definitions’.  The definitions are what we seek, and that is what Socrates was all about.  Once we have the definition then we ‘judge’ whether something fits that definition or not.

Water logic is based on ‘to’ and ‘destinations’.  ‘What does this lead to?’  ‘What comes next?’  It is more like a road where each town on the road leads to the next town.

Water logic is the logic of perception and self-organizing information systems.  Traditional logic is a ‘game’ we play with the external world, using language boxes as definitions.

In parallel thinking there is a strong place for creativity.  Parallel thinking is not just about judging (critical thinking) but abut generating possibilities.  Creativity is one of the ways of generating possibilities.

In page 215, he wrote:

Traditional thinking is firmly based on ‘judgement’.  This is the key mental activity:

Is/is not



Fit/does not fit


Proved/not proved

What are we judging?

Ref to p217, a contrast between Parallel Thinking and Traditional Thinking could be:

‘What can be’ vs ‘What is’.

Design vs search.

Build vs discover.

Create vs. repeat.

Constructive vs destructive.

Action vs description.

So what are the failures of traditional thinking?

Traditional western thinking has failed because:

  1. it is suitable only for certain purposes and totally inadequate for other purposes
  2. it is actually dangerous and forces us to look at the world in a harmful way
  3. its complacency and its ability to defend itself have made it impossible to develop different thinking methods.

In summary, western thinking is failing because its complacent arrogance prevents it from seeing the extent of its failure. 

Because criticism is so very easy, it has become a dominating habit of even intelligent people.  There is a ridiculous belief that it is enough to get rid of the bad things and what will be left are good things.  Today’s experience all over the world shows that getting rid of the bad things only results in chaos.

The elevation of the ‘critical intelligence’ to the highest level of human endeavour has probably been the single mistake of Western intellectual development.  Yet that is still the basis of our culture and our universities.  That is danger indeed.  Think of all that wasted intellectual talent which might have been harnessed to creative and constructive effort.

Creativity and the design process and parallel thinking itself are only ways of achieving constructive results.

The above thoughts and perspectives challenge me to re-think about the traditional Western thinking system that was fashioned by the Greek Gang of Three (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle).  What was wrong?

Enjoy this:

So instead of using the boxes and judgement of traditional thinking, how about a ‘design forward from a field of parallel possibilities’ ? 

 The present folksonomy movement in Web 2.0 allows for the creative design and collaborative  aggregations under an adaptive learning ecology.

Instead of competition between teams of learners, how about an integration of technology affordance with teaching and learning?  This will foster the collaboration and learning amongst networks and communities of learners?  The present proliferation of free open course ware and social learning networks and educational communities accelerate the spirit of collaboration amongst all parties – institutions, business, educators and learners on a global educational and learning movement.

Success in such movement relies on how educators and learners would create new learning spaces, based on connections, collaborations, and co-operation with Web 2.0 and other emergent technologies both locally and globally. 

See also my posts on Transformational Thinking and Transformational Thinking – additional 2 hats in thinking. These 2 additional hats, when used in conjunction with the 6 hats would allow for transformational thinking at this digital age, especially in education and learning.

Learning and development of new and emergent technology on an institutional and personal level would be deemed necessary to align with transformational and parallel thinking in action.

The world is getting smaller and smaller when educators and learners are within connections on just a few clicks away on their computers in the digital world….

Would connectivism bring people of different thinking closer to each other – those with traditional thinking (critical thinking) and transformational and parallel thinking?

One thought on “Transformational and Parallel Thinking – A reflection

  1. Pingback: If I have dream, what would it be? Part 2 | Learner Weblog

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