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I’ve been considering for a few days the value of thinking styles. It began when I heard a saying by Osho that “logic is the great coward — all courageous people eventually move beyond logic.” This seems to me an interesting point, and it led to an insight that logic was a limited base for one’s mind and life. It moves in chains from A to B to C and then it stops, and thus it tends to be useful but ultimately a bit shortsighted.
So what is there besides logic? There is associative thinking, creative thinking, chaotic thinking, intuitive thinking, emotional thinking... these are all styles on which you can base your mind’s activity. Associative is probably the lowest energy and the easiest, while creative thinking does things like synthesis and inspiration. Emotional thinking is something we all do sometimes, perhaps we might like a coat because we “like” the feel of it’s fabric.
Of course they have problems too. The reason why logical thinking is popular is because it is reliable once trained. Something like associative thinking led to the ideas of ‘humours’ around the body, which is a concept of medieval medicine, where different humours were associated with different bodily fluids and elements that made up the body. Which is where I feel skilful means comes in. If you can use these alternative thinking styles skilfully, then it should lead to a richer and more capable inner life.
One thinking style will probably end up being dominant. For me up until now that has been logic — I had long training in school in mathematics and studied engineering, and worked in IT, all eminently logical pursuits. But it doesn’t have to stay that way, I feel. One can make an effort to bring other aspects to the fore, spending more time thinking creatively or intuitively.