Wise words from my friend Dennis Perrin

A friend of mine, Dennis Perrin (www.thinking-training.co.uk), recently got involved in a discussion group on Facebook. I don't think the people in that group really understood Dennis' comments and busily explained to him how he was wrong.

I thought it was a wasteful to have Dennis' valuable insights in a place where they weren't being appreciated, and asked him to allow me present them on my website. Dennis agreed, and what follows here is a smattering of his engagement with this group of self-styled "deep thinkers". Dennis starts by defining the topic, “Facts are perceptual”.

Facts are perceptual: The same car can be both black and white at the same time to two people looking from/with opposite views. (It’s painted black one side, white the other.) You have to temporarily be on the same side to share your views effectively. (Arguments are fatal.) We switch sides while keeping to our values. Judgement of others is mostly best used keeping ourselves quiet. (We have to escape our upbringing, our favourite concepts, and listen with quiet humour, to be the kind of person others would want to listen to.) The world desperately needs our ideas but they cannot be imposed. Revealing “the truth” is just the beginning. Positioning yourself in the future, the truth of the past has to disappear because the future is too precious to lose. The person looking at the white side switches sides for a time and looks together at the other person’s view. Each of them together with the other looks at the same side, then the other side, together. There’s no argument about differences. There’s the acceptance of a different view. No one is right or wrong. There’s the effort at “perceptual movement” (sharing the same views). Enough time is given in order to understand the other view. No insults are traded. Instead of entrenched argument from opposing sides there’s co-operation, Parallel Thinking, lack of judgment. This willingness to “move” opens up the mind and creates a base for a better future.”

"The same thing is called by different names. A different definition of the same problem helps to solve the problem. Something positive by one person is seen as negative by another. Any club where anything different is “bullshit” is not only mediocre but fascist and dangerous."

"Interestingly it’s Plato that started the “truth” idiom. The original fascist. He wrote down the ideas of Socrates who had to drink poison for having new ideas. The main point I’m trying to get over to you (I’m making a bad job of it!) is that we cannot travel on a new road by staying on the old road. Creativity appeals to people interested in change. There’s nothing new or fresh in harking on about the evils of others - even though doing that gives the critics emotional satisfaction. No one gets anywhere."

"There’s things we don’t understand which we should try to understand."

"The uncertain purpose you mention may be a latent fear of change. Real change. The purpose, my purpose, is a creative one. A good purpose! (Not artistic creativity but IDEA creativity!) Genuine creativity (Lateral Thinking) only brings benefits. But “you can’t dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper”."

"If something appears ludicrous that’s your perception of it. “Ludicrous” is not a fact but an emotional reaction. Thinking needs time. Thinking also needs the will to learn and the will to change!"

"The basic premise is more fundamental than the meaning of a particular word. The premise is that our thinking (the thinking of civilisation) is deficient. To correct the deficiency Dr Edward de Bono developed thinking tools which makes Thinking itself both productive and creative. His books are available to read. He’s written about 70! Dr de Bono says that most of our thinking is emotional. First we reach an emotional conclusion, then we use logic to support our conclusion. Using Thinking skills is like the research stage of thinking. When perceptions change, through advanced thinking, conclusions often change because:

  1. The brain allows more incoming information
  2. Rushing to judgement is avoided
  3. Time isn’t wasted following blind alleys
  4. Objectives are clearer
  5. Arguments are unnecessary
  6. The value of new ideas are appreciated
  7. More use is made of existing intelligence
  8. Instead of defending beliefs we enhance them; we construct better ways forward
  9. Lateral thinking and the Six Thinking Hats are simple to learn and easy to use
  10. There’s a learning curve and practice is necessary"

"Dictionary definitions are useful but not absolute. New editions have changes and additional new words. Lateral thinking was a new word invented in the sixties by Edward de Bono to describe a different way of thinking that helps escape judgement, criticism and analysis as the truth."

"Facts change. A bridge is a fact. Later the bridge is updated with new design. The fact changed. Plato created “eternal truths” based on “absolute forms”. Over the following centuries his thinking was borrowed to support any argument that supported any truth. We now know that the brain creates patterns of perception. These patterns are difficult to change especially truth patterns. Hence the need for lateral thinking which helps break out of established routines and patterns. This lateral change is resisted by ego and emotions!"