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Michelle James : Logic and Madness

Logic and Madness

By Michelle James

World Science online just put out an article, "Studies find logic lurking in madness" in which they draw connections between pure logical thinking and madness. They found in certain situations "schizophrenics have a reasoning advantage over normal people." They attribute this to schizophrenics lack of common sense which most people have, defining common sense as the ability to put things into a context. Rather than being illogical or irrational, the schizophrenics in this study were hyper-logical and rational, to the exclusion of contextual (whole-brain, non-linear, non-sequential) thinking. Madness, in this case, is the lack of contextual thinking taken to an extreme.

But what about when it is not so extreme that it appears crazy? What about when it is the quiet (yet discordant) hum — the accepted assumptions — that underlies most of our organizational systems and processes? Many of our organizational systems and practices were established from principles and values steeped in more left-brain logic, reductionist, and analytical-only thinking with rationality as a core value. They produced mechanistic systems that ignore our organic ways of being human — which include conceptualizing, contextualizing, and interconnecting.

Storytelling, visual mapping, movement, theater, music, art, creative thinking techniques and other whole brain processes are about weaving seemingly disparate elements into a larger context or extracting relevant data, patterns and connections from a larger context. Each of these whole brain methods involves an understanding, experience and purposeful utilization within a larger context.

In developing new innovations using whole-brain conceptual thinking, you get more ideas and more diverse, varied, creative, and relevant ideas — relevant because they contain a larger context and therefore produce more coherent, inclusive solutions — than left-brain logic and analytical approaches alone produce. •

© 2006 Michelle James. All rights reserved.

Michelle JamesMichelle James, CEO of the Center for Creative Emergence, is a creativity catalyst, consultant and coach to individuals and organizations. More »

6/19/06