Laterally thinking …

I listened to a book (or half, anyway) the other day by Edward de Bono called Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step. It was a bit old-fashioned, having been written in the 1970s (crickey, I must be positively antique), and was really aimed at educators and teachers. It was still an interesting look at the type of thinking we are often taught, and the ‘other’ option.

The two types of thinking de Bono talks about are vertical thinking and lateral thinking. He posits that education focuses primarily on vertical thinking (although, I think in the last 40 years this has changed somewhat) which is the seeking or learning of knowledge along a logical line where each step is built on the one before. Lateral thinking is following a more sideways path of seemingly unrelated thoughts that can then, perhaps, be connected.

His useful visual image is that vertical thinking is akin to digging a particular hole deeper and deeper to reveal more of the treasure down there. De Bono stresses that this is vital thinking and that his promotion of alternatives in no way lessens its importance. Lateral thinking, on the other hand, is like digging a range of shallower holes across an area to see what might be uncovered that way. Further, I tentatively add my own image – that creativity is seeing possible ways that these many holes can be connected by unexpected tunnels.

I’m taking a couple of weeks’ holiday from painting to go on a road trip but it seems to me that my swirling thoughts over the many miles of road ahead can still strive for lateral-ness! In fact, it’s probably a good opportunity with new sights and experiences to set me off. Lots of ground, lots of shovels, lots of holes I hope.

I’ll keep you posted.


2 thoughts on “Laterally thinking …

  1. Double Smiles!

    Funny what life has in store:

    In just four,

    Paragraphs you summarized Edward de Bono

    Pro bono,

    Far better than the lengthy attempt of a long ago teacher:

    When put in art terms, you’re a definite reach-er

    Out to simplify

    For my lay eye,

    Such dense, to me dry stuff,

    With a beautiful succinctness and connection which was enough,

    To send me down into a warren,

    Both so healing and so foreign:

    Road trip

    Down any rabbit hole

    And up and out;

    A best of what life is all about.

    Connecting dots, outside the norms

    No matter if deep or shallow,

    Creates endless possible new forms

    From tender, to fierce to mallow.

    Mallow is an edible plant which once our ancestors new,

    Before roasting marshmallows was a popular thing, over camping fire coals to do:

    Soothing and calming to the throat and gut tract,

    It tastes delicious too and that’s a fact.

    The leaves and the “peas” which are flower buds set,

    Make a healthful addition to salads, and yet,

    The finishing touch is the lavender purple bloom,

    So throw those in too, and be sure to make room,

    For dessert later on from the marsh mallow root,

    Which is delightful, as tea too; just so much to toot,

    About this little plant which connects so many dots,

    With so many uses, and yet millions and lots,

    Of people never knew or have forgotten,

    Which might indeed seem rather rotten,

    Except for the fact,

    That on a little road trip,

    I once took a dip,

    In a herb shop with teas,

    Where and ancient cuandera asked what would please,

    And began to take my whole little family in

    To her warren of medicine foods and that thin

    Line between the spirit and soul,

    The body and whole,

    That fragile place,

    Where we seek for grace

    And peace

    And release.

    And up and over and out we came,

    To new trips and warren dives, never the same,

    Because we have become much more connected and earthed;


    To keep seeking

    And speaking,

    Spreading the word,

    So good warren dives, to best connections are heard.

    Laterally thinking,

    Left me blinking!

    Wow, all the way over there and down and under,

    You’re off to dive warrens and explore and wonder,

    Venture and search,

    Experience and lurch,

    Taking the new in,

    traveling that thin,


    So fine!

    So just as us,

    So far away,

    Like a magic bus,

    Were transported by holes and dots and warrens, in play

    And in hope.


    There’s hardly any light between us albeit there 10 000 miles,

    And that, my friend

    Leaves my mind in a bend,

    And I’m thinking us both with smiles!

    Bon voyage! TB


    1. You are so clever.

      Thank you. I am glad the post set you thinking and so pleased you felt compelled to write. I love it. It is a special 10,000 miles between us that is being crossed with thoughts and words.

      K xx


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