## Linear thinking LO22818

Chuck Saur (csaur@remc8.k12.mi.us)
Thu, 07 Oct 1999 08:51:23 -0400

Hello group!

It appears to me that there might be a chance to ask for some additional
clarity in this discussion of linearity v. global or lateral thinking...

Is this dual categorization meaningful to understanding thinking? Or is
thinking merely creativity in a covert form? I could easily (in my
thinking) substitute my own category for linear thinking with "sequential
thinking" in many cases. I don't think the common use of the concept
linear thinking implies logical thought patterns in all, or even many
cases. But simply moving from item to item or thought to thought (like
devouring one food group before moving on to the next) may or may not
include elements of logic. I have accused, and have been accused of
exhibiting "linear thinking" where others have valued something else...I
understood this to be a criticism of my choice of thinking methods if not
the outcomes.

But I saw some clarity in At's discussion of linearity when he used the
following:

> The terms " line", "linear" and "linearity" play a major role in
> mathematical thinking. Note that I am not saying that mathematical
> thinking is linear. What I am saying is that mathematicians have studied
> the "line" and "linearity" to a degree which dazzles the mind. Their best
> known descripition of a straight line is the formula
> y = mx + c

Maybe this gives linear thinking a more firm definition as a process.
Where in At's discussion there is a function to determine the
characteristics of the "line in space", I could easily relate this to the
concept to Senge's mental models, where the constant or f(x) determines
not only the slope and other characteristics of the line; but the
recurring mental model applied to determine a "line of reasoning". (At,
is that phrase close to your intent?)

So, are there times when "linear" is confused with "sequential" thinking,
in practice and common discourse? And if thinking is simply a part of
being creative, isn't the outcome of most importance? Then what's the
fuss anyway? (big grin)

Thanks.

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Chuck Saur <csaur@remc8.k12.mi.us>

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