Pre-requisites of Creative Thinking

I have previously distinguished ‘innovation’ (these days an over-fashionable term) from ‘creative, radical thought’ by suggesting the former is a development or improvement within an existing theory or frame. I am not interested in that quest.  The latter, however, fascinates me; it involves overthrowing an existing framework for a new way of seeing, understanding, valuing and acting.

Two particular qualities I believe are necessary for bold thinking to occur.

The first is to accept that the unconscious plays a critical part in all our thinking and behaviour. We must, in this sense, be ‘post-Freudian’; without a necessity to be ‘Freudian’ (the meaning of such terms demanding too long a discussion to be treated here). This allows us to ask ‘why’ we think X and not Y – which leads us to confront and even change deep seated habits which have long dictated and formed our most basic, unchallenged thoughts and values.

The second is to break through the ‘positivist’ heritage of the last two centuries and accept without doubt that language is not a simple, transparent mirror of reality, but a complex, changing mixture of words inherently ambiguous, allusive and elusive. It is full of opportunities to think afresh, but also full of traps and false detours for the unwary.