Mind-bending Concepts—Non-linear Thinking

The Mind-bender Concepts Series
One so-called paradigm is, "linear thinking," but what it is intended to identify is, "logical thinking," which is only the formalization of, "clear thinking." It is called, "linear thinking," in an attempt to imply that such thinking is limited or faulty because it only works in one limited way.

There is nothing "linear" about logic, but rational thinking does work in only one way, that is, according to one principle, although the actual operations of rational thinking are unlimited in variety and complexity. The principle that always holds has two parts: 1. there can be no contradictions in correct reasoning, and 2. the correctness (truth) of any reasoning is determined by reality itself.

The "linear thinking" paradigm is supported with numerous lies and misrepresentations of the nature of logic itself. Some of those misrepresentations are these:

1. Logic limits reasoning because it must always begin with some one premise.

2. Logic is faulty because all premises are assumptions.

3. Logic is patterned, (e.g. linear) and therefore restrictive. (This is mostly based on the nature of the syllogism.)

4. Logic does not account for feeling.

5. Logic is limited by the limits of the brain.

Non-linear Thinking

Before I explain what is wrong with the five lies about logical thinking, let's have a look at what is supposed to be a different kind of thinking.

The paradigm that is suggested should replace, or at least accompany linear thinking, to overcome its supposed shortcomings, is non-linear thinking, or in the language of de Bono, "lateral thinking." Non-linear thinking, then, must not have any of the shortcoming of logical thinking. Therefore non-linear thinking must not require any premises (since logical thinking does), must make no assumptions (since it is claimed that is what a premise is), must have no kind of pattern (since the fault of logical thinking is that it does have a pattern), must be guided by feelings and have no limitations.

[See Note on non-linear thinking.]

If this sounds like a formula for insanity, it is. It is nothing more than another clumsy academic attempt to put over the irrational.

Logic—Not Linear, Not Limited

Correct thinking, even in its most formal syllogistic form, never begins from one assumed premise. [A syllogism always has two premises, minor and major, for example.] In the context of correct thinking a premise is never an assumption (with the exception of hypothetical thinking), but the identification of a fact of reality from observation.

There is no logical limit on how many premises may be used in one's thinking, or how simple or complex a premise must be. The only restriction is that every premise must be true.

The idea that logic is always patterned, which in some way restricts thinking, is also untrue. Formal logic has a strict pattern in terms of order (because it is a test of the parts of one's thinking), but informal logic has a pattern only in the sense that all knowledge is hierarchical, and every concept has some logical relationship to every other concept, and that no thought can be correct if its context and relationship to all other knowledge is ignored or evaded. Such evasion will always lead to contradictions.

There is certainly nothing linear about correct reason. In fact, following the path of the hierarchy of knowledge, which is determined by the relationship of all aspects of reality itself, can be extremely and tortuously complex.

It is true that logic, or correct reasoning does not consider feeling as having any cognitive content. Except for feelings themselves, no feeling has any bearing on any other fact of reality. To allow feelings, or any consideration of them, to affect one's clear reasoning, is subjectivist lunacy.

The belief that thinking can be limited by the physical nature of the brain or neurological system is a strict physicalist view. It is true, all we can be directly conscious of (perceive) is the physical, but to make the physical all there is denies the very consciousness that perceives it. Consciousness and what consciousness is conscious of are not the same thing. That limited view denies the nature and reality of life, consciousness, and volition, which are real aspects of the natural world, which transcend the physical.

[NOTE: Thinking does not have a direction, it is not movement on a map. If the analogy of a line (linear) is used for correct thinking, then non-linear thinking is just crooked thinking. There is only logical thinking (thinking in agreement with reality) and illogical thinking (thinking that disagrees with reality), and all thinking must be kept in context. Imagination and fantasy, for example, are not illogical, but in perfect agreement with reality in their context. What has no connection with any aspect of reality cannot even be imagined and can never be true.]

[NOTE: Non-linear thinking is sometimes associated with creativity, but it is only related to that kind of "subjectivist" creation that "happens" without conscious thought and choice, like a vomit, which some of that kind of "modern" art both resembles and stimulates. Real creation requires enormous intellectual effort and rational discipline. If thinking had a direction, creative thinking would be the most ruthlessly linear of all.]

[NOTE: On Non-linear Thinking—The idea of non-linear thinking is very appealing, because it suggests the possibility of knowledge that "logical" thinking alone cannot provide.

For example, this site has an article, "Intuition - Nonlinear Thinking to Know Reality," which it explains thus: "Real intuition does what the intellect alone cannot. It senses truths that do not follow directly from the old assumptions, old logic, or old programming. Truths accessed by intuition are therefore transcendental."

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