A lateral thinker is a sovereign individual who has acquired skills and who consciously values the rights of independent thinkers. The School of Thinking supports free expression and the universal rights of lateral thinkers. Here are ten lateral thinkers rights which are supported by the School of Thinking.

A Universal Declaration of the

Rights of Lateral Thinkers

1. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to use thinking in a quiet and confident manner simply for its own sake because our unique thoughts and thinking are the cognitive property and product of our own proprietary brain and are intrinsically valuable as our own unique Intellectual Property (IP).
2. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to have pride of virtuosity in our lateral thinking skills because lateral thinking is not natural thinking but is an acquired skill. Logical thinking is natural thinking.
3. As lateral thinkers, we have the right to use that skill and to consider a “lateral thinking reaction” rather than a reaction based on emotion or past experience alone. The thinking might make use of experience and emotion, but these would be part of the lateral thinking instead of controlling it.
4. A lateral thinker has the right to free expression and the right to escape from current views of situations and to search for much better views of situations because we can and because it pleases us to do so.
5. A lateral thinker has the universal right to be wrong.
6. A lateral thinker does not have to defend a point of view at all costs. There is the right to see other points of view and the right to design a much better decision.
7. A lateral thinker has the right to acquire wisdom or to seek it out wherever it may be found. Wisdom is quite distinct from the sort of cleverness that is taught in school. Cleverness may be useful for dealing with set puzzles or defending local truths but wisdom is required for designing a better future.
8. A lateral thinker has the right to get on with his or her own work and to get along with other thinkers and if things go wrong a lateral thinker has the right to think things through and to fix them without creating a fuss.
9. A lateral thinker has the right to spell out the factors involved in a situation and also the reasons behind a decision.
10. Above all, a lateral thinker has the right to be asked to think about something, to focus thinking in a deliberate manner upon any subject. Lateral thinking can be used as a tool by the thinker at will. The use of this tool can be enjoyable whatever the outcome. This applied thinking can also be practical—the sort of thinking that is required to create value and get things done.

– Adapted from the Learn-To-Think Coursebook and Instructors Manual © 1982 Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono, Capra New USA.

A wicked problem is one which cannot be solved using human logic, our current and dominant way of thinking.

The rapid acceleration of global climate change, the unprecedented scale of the nuclear threat and the rising hegemony of artificial intelligence are all examples of wicked problems that cannot be solved with logic.

At the level of human2human relationships, many causes of daily conflict are not solved but even exacerbated by binary I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong logic-style thinking.

Logic is natural to the human brain’s limbic system because it is driven by the emotion of fear. In particular, the fear of ‘mistakes’.

In contrast, lateral thinking is not natural to the human brain. It is counter-intuitive. It requires re-wiring. Rather like driving a car, It must be acquired as a skill with deliberate practise and repetition over time.

Lateral thinking is a skill that we should be teaching our children … because they are going to need it!

In this recent DEAKIN University Talk Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson draws attention to “the greatest problem on Earth”.

It’s a wicked problem that’s a hundred times bigger than the problem of global warming and many orders of magnitude greater than the problems of health, water or population. It’s also the greatest opportunity on earth!

If you have 2 minutes you can eavesdrop in on the greatest problem on Earth

Wired-logo-largeMargaret Hamilton wasn’t supposed to invent the modern concept of software and land men on the moon. It was 1960, not a time when women were encouraged to seek out high-powered technical work. Hamilton, a 24-year-old with an undergrad degree in mathematics, had gotten a job as a programmer at MIT, and the plan was for her to support her husband through his three-year stint at Harvard Law. After that, it would be her turn–she wanted a graduate degree in math.

But the Apollo space program came along. And Hamilton stayed in the lab to lead an epic feat of engineering that would help change the future of what was humanly–and digitally–possible.

Click to read the original article in WIRED …


‘Self-Portrait as a painter’ by Vincent van Gogh

In a letter to his younger brother Theo on October 2, 1884, Vincent Van Gogh wrote about the fear of mistakes:

If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. To be good — many people think that they’ll achieve it by doing no harm — and that’s a lie… That leads to stagnation, to mediocrity. Just slap something on it when you see a blank canvas staring at you with a sort of imbecility.

You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. The canvas has an idiotic stare, and mesmerizes some painters so that they turn into idiots themselves.

Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.”

Life itself likewise always turns towards one an infinitely meaningless, discouraging, dispiriting blank side on which there is nothing, any more than on a blank canvas.

But however meaningless and vain, however dead life appears, the man of faith, of energy, of warmth, and who knows something, doesn’t let himself be fobbed off like that. He steps in and does something, and hangs on to that, in short, breaks, “violates”…