Brilliant Thinkers Relish Ambiguity

'The Thinker,' by Rodin

'The Thinker,' by Rodin

From www.lifehack.org:

Brilliant thinkers are very comfortable with ambiguity — they welcome it. Routine thinkers like clarity and simplicity; they dislike ambiguity. There is a tendency in our society to reduce complex issues down to simple issues with obviously clear solutions.

We see evidence of this in the tabloid press. There have been some terrible crimes committed in our cities. A violent offender received what is seen to be a lenient sentence. This shows that judges are out of touch with what is needed and that heavy punishment will stop the crime wave.

The brilliant thinker is wary of simple nostrums like these. He or she knows that complex issues usually involve many causes and these may need many different and even conflicting solutions.

Routine thinkers are often dogmatic. They see a clear route forward and they want to follow it. The advantage of this is that they can make decisive and effective executives — up to a point. If the simple route happens to be a good one then they get on with the journey. The downside is that they will likely follow the most obvious idea and not consider creative, complex or controversial choices. The exceptional thinker can see many possibilities and relishes reviewing both sides of any argument. They are happy to discuss and explore multiple possibilities and are keen to challenge conventional wisdom. People around them and subordinates can sometimes consider this approach to be frustrating and indecisive.

Albert Einstein was able to conceive his theory of relativity because he thought that time and space might not be immutable. Neils Bohr made breakthroughs in physics because he was able to think of light as both a stream of particles and as a wave. Picasso could paint classical portraits and yet conceive cubist representations of people…

[continues at www.lifehack.org]

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  • Word Eater

    I'm not absent-minded and wishy-washy. I'm brilliant!

    Thanks, science!

  • nemoide

    Well, that's a relief! …I think.

  • GoodDoktorBad

    Shit rolls downhill, there it makes a fertile valley….

    Life is shit?

    • E.B. Wolf

      Life's lush, beautiful foliage requires shit to nourish their growth.
      Or some shit like that.

      • GoodDoktorBad

        The river of life flows through the colon…

        Shit is Love…

  • jimt62

    What a load

  • http://www.myspace.com/santosramos fabian_ramos

    Boring/Average stuff/people bore me.
    I'm all about the ambiguos.

  • http://twitter.com/emerigent/lists/memberships Emeri Gent [Em]

    Brilliant thinkers are also brilliant thinkers and as such they are not the norm. It is more applicable to say that lazy thinkers relish ambiguity and so ambiguity should not be something one can claim as a free pass. What makes brilliant thinkers brilliant is both their ability to handle ambiguity and their ability to sum up a point in the least words possible.

    In other words, I can never claim to be a brilliant thinker until I have mastered both sides of the critical thinking and creative thinking divide. As of now I sit in the muddy middle where the river of mainstream media flows. I do agree with people like Norman Doidge that say that brain plasticity changes with thought itself, but like any gym work (be it muscle or brains), it requires the infusion of a certain level of challenge and capability, over a significant time frame to transform thinking into innate ability.

    I also don’t know if it is helpful to determine who or what constitutes a brilliant thinker. It becomes a judgment rather than an appreciation of uniqueness. We live in a world full of labels and sometimes I do think we build an expectation that we are hearing from a “brilliant thinker” and we pay regard and attention that we would not for a strangers voice. This means we elevate additional meaning into what is said and thus assist in the creation of this entity called the “brilliant thinker”.

    Equally, a person who might actually be a brilliant thinker may be overlooked because either we cannot penetrate their ambiguity or they are so brilliant that what they say seems inconsequential, until that is if one asks for an explanation. It is easy to dismiss people not because they are ambiguous but because they were actually straight forward, but we have no clue how much meaning they might have packed into what they have actually said.

    At the same time, there is much to be said for the appreciation of plain English and there are people whose sheer ego means that obfuscation is a deliberate ploy. Sure they are brilliant but for me brilliance shines when it comes with a boat load of humility attached to it. The humble brilliant genius is as wonderful as the gentle giant who is physically strong enough to be intimidating but who would never use their power in a egotistical, narrow minded or hurtful way.

    I do agree that ambiguity has a direct link with brilliant thinkers but if that brilliance is being applied rather than wasted, then it is worth referring to as “brilliant” – otherwise where is the shine?

    [Em]

  • http://twitter.com/emerigent/lists/memberships Emeri Gent [Em]

    Brilliant thinkers are also brilliant thinkers and as such they are not the norm. It is more applicable to say that lazy thinkers relish ambiguity and so ambiguity should not be something one can claim as a free pass. What makes brilliant thinkers brilliant is both their ability to handle ambiguity and their ability to sum up a point in the least words possible.

    In other words, I can never claim to be a brilliant thinker until I have mastered both sides of the critical thinking and creative thinking divide. As of now I sit in the muddy middle where the river of mainstream media flows. I do agree with people like Norman Doidge that say that brain plasticity changes with thought itself, but like any gym work (be it muscle or brains), it requires the infusion of a certain level of challenge and capability, over a significant time frame to transform thinking into innate ability.

    I also don't know if it is helpful to determine who or what constitutes a brilliant thinker. It becomes a judgment rather than an appreciation of uniqueness. We live in a world full of labels and sometimes I do think we build an expectation that we are hearing from a “brilliant thinker” and we pay regard and attention that we would not for a strangers voice. This means we elevate additional meaning into what is said and thus assist in the creation of this entity called the “brilliant thinker”.

    Equally, a person who might actually be a brilliant thinker may be overlooked because either we cannot penetrate their ambiguity or they are so brilliant that what they say seems inconsequential, until that is if one asks for an explanation. It is easy to dismiss people not because they are ambiguous but because they were actually straight forward, but we have no clue how much meaning they might have packed into what they have actually said.

    At the same time, there is much to be said for the appreciation of plain English and there are people whose sheer ego means that obfuscation is a deliberate ploy. Sure they are brilliant but for me brilliance shines when it comes with a boat load of humility attached to it. The humble brilliant genius is as wonderful as the gentle giant who is physically strong enough to be intimidating but who would never use their power in a egotistical, narrow minded or hurtful way.

    I do agree that ambiguity has a direct link with brilliant thinkers but if that brilliance is being applied rather than wasted, then it is worth referring to as “brilliant” – otherwise where is the shine?

    [Em]