Convergent and divergent thinking


One way of approaching the difference between static and dynamic thinking is by the difference between “convergent” and “divergent” thinking.

As simple as I can explain:

convergent thinking: only one solution is possible to one specific problem.

divergent thinking: many solutions are possible to a problem and there are many  possible ways to get to those solutions.

Here is a beautiful video about this subject:

Leaving ideas next to each other,  “and” vs “or”:
This is part of the difference between convergent and divergent thinking. Ideas can exist next to each other instead of needing to take the one place available for this idea. The word “and” indicates option, “or” indicates only one possibility. Should I do this “or” should I do that? I have this option “and” I have this option.

It might seem to obvious at, but I noticed it is a common mistake. Often I was searching for a way, a clarity to see how I can do right, to find meaning in my life, to direct the meaning in my life. I searched for “the” right answer. The possible answers started to compete. Perfectionism or searching for “right” and “wrong” doesn’t allow the whole to be and to the possibility there might be different answers to one problem.

One of the biggest problems in convergent thinking and communicating is that it means one dominating the other. By definition it doesn’t allow for another idea or feeling to exist. You need to make choices and before you make those choices you can allow multiple perspectives.

We are often cought in judgmental thinking, in moralisation in which we only leave the space for one option. There are many ways to deal with life and many of them are worthwhile. There is no one truth. The truth is carried in many ways.

The multiple meanings of words

The same words are often used in different ways, with different meanings. The way a word is defined for a particular person is not clarified enough.  I give a few examples:

The Ego:

For a lot of guru’s, religion’s and thought systems the ego is something to conquer, to vanquish, to eliminate.

To other’s it is something you need to balance in order to be able to achieve something in society.

What is it exactly? Well it is defined differently by different people.

a few possible definitions:

  • your idea of self worth
  • your entire concept, all of your ideas about who you are
  • the one that makes decisions in you
  • the part of you that believes your emotions are important
  • your pride

More on the unfortunate different and unclear uses of the word ego in this text: The ego By James Harvey Stout

The biggest risk in this misconception is that people actually start to believe the ego is something to get rid of without exactly knowing what they are getting rid of. And that can be a destructive conviction, it can make people believe they are battling the source of all evil while in fact they are killing their ability to make decisions. I don’t say healing your self-perception or humbling or questioning your feeling of importance is a bad thing. I’m saying it needs to be with care for the multiple meanings of the word.

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