10 July 2015

RVO:Creativity Mental Block #8: Avoiding Ambiguity

This post is a continuation of THIS POST. Please read it before you read this post 

Ambiguous situations are both confusing and they could create communication problems. Due to this we are taught to 'avoid ambiguity'.

In the imaginative phase, ambiguity can help us by asking questions like 'what is going on here', 'what does this mean' and 'how else can this be interpreted'.

'If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you will be amazed at the result' ---George Patton

The author mentions the following sources of ambiguity.

One Paradoxes: Paradoxes are statements that appear contradictory but which on deeper thought, point to a truth. Paradoxes 'whack' us out of our narrow thoughts and forces us to question our assumptions. 'Seeing the paradox' is the crux of creative thinking since it is the ability to entertain two different , often contradictory ideas at the same time.
My favorite examples of paradoxes.
'When I came home, I expected a surprise, and there was no surprise for me, so I was surprised' --- Ludwig Wittgenstein
'Any company large enough to have a research lab, is too large to listen to it' --- Alan Kay
'The little I know, I owe it to my ignorance' -- Orville Mars
'I have such high regard for truth that I use it sparingly' --- Timothy Connor
'Happiness is the absence of striving for happiness' --- Cheng Tzu

One strategy to deal with ambiguity is to be our own Oracle. T/he purpose of Oracle is to delve more deeply into our intuition when dealing with a problem. To tap into your internal Oracle, you have to follow these steps.

Create a question to ask to Oracle. This question focus our thinking.
A way to generate random information. The random selection is important. A random piece of information, due to its unpredictability, forces us to look at the problem in a new way.

You should have an attitude that interprets the resulting random piece of information as answer to our question.

The author explains this approach in quite a detail.

Step one is to phrase our question clearly. To do that first we have to clear our mind, relax and focus our mind. Now form the question
Second step is to open our mind to things that have no connections to the idea that we are developing. Select something in the world at random.
Step three is to associate the random thing to your situation. Remember that there is a connection and it is our responsibility to find it. Be creative. Think out of the box. Be metaphorical

Yet another approach is to listen to our dreams. Dreams are sources of ambiguity. To unleash the power of dreams, the author uses the following technique. Before going to sleep, visualize the problem that he is working on without trying to solve it. Once he gets the idea in his dreams, he writes them down.

When we try to remember the dream, try to remember the following.

One, how did you feel in the dream?
Two, How d you feel about the dream?
Three, Who is in the dream
Four, Where does it take place?
Five, How do different people react?

Dreams are ways in which the subconscious mind is speaking to us.

'The way up and way down are one and the same' --- Heraclitus

Question: What is our source of ambiguity? Everyone should have their own sources of ambiguity. For author, it is the sayings of Heraclitus. We have to find ours.

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