Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thinking, Who Would Have Thought? – Part A

Did you know that most of us restrict ourselves when it comes to our ability to think and we do not even realize that we do such a thing?  Did you know that most of us specifically restrict ourselves when it comes to our ability to think outside of the box?  Even more specifically than that, is the fact that we completely restrict ourselves when it comes to our ability to think on the things of God.

There is a process that you have been participating in your entire life.  And because this process has been a major part of your life for so long you are more than likely not even aware that you have been a participant in the process.  The process works something like this.  Since early childhood, you have been subjected to a teaching method where you have been taught to focus on one single correct answer.  This ability to focus on a single correct answer is a process known as “convergent thinking.”  Of course, we had to consult our favorite resource, “Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit,” for more information about this topic.  Now, for those of you who are not familiar with this reference site, here is our one product endorsement sales pitch.

“Wikipedia is a multilingual, Web-based, free-content encyclopedia project based mostly on anonymous contributions.  Wikipedia is written collaboratively by an international group of volunteers.  Anyone with internet access can write and make changes to Wikipedia articles.  Wikipedia's intent is to have articles that cover existing knowledge, not create new knowledge (original research).  This means that people of all ages and cultural and social backgrounds can write Wikipedia articles.  Most of the articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet.  Wikipedia articles are all linked, or cross-referenced.  When highlighted text like this is seen, it means there is a link to some relevant article or Wikipedia page with further in-depth information elsewhere.  Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start: they may contain false or debatable information.”
Source:  Wikipedia, October 28, 2009, Wikipedia: About

Now, according to Wikipedia, the term “convergent thinking” was coined by Joy Paul Guilford, a psychologist who was best remembered for his psychometric study of human intelligence and his research model for the structure of intelligence.  His works also included the all-important distinction between convergent and divergent production.  With “convergent thinking,” you are conditioned to give the “correct answer” to standardize questions that do not require any significant level of creativity on your part.

You will find that this process has been involved in the majority of the tasks that have involved your ability to think and to learn.  You will find the process to be a very prevalent part of the school educational system, where most of the thinking done by students is “convergent thinking.”  School educational systems inundate their students with information, requiring these same students to gather and remember this information, and then expect these same students to make logical decisions and give correct answers accordingly when asked.

Even at the earliest of ages, parents have employed this process while attempting to teach their children to talk.  Usually one of the first words a parent teaches a child is mommy or daddy; sometimes it is both.  And even though you probably do not remember the joy that your parents exuded when you spoke your first words, you have shared the same exact experience when your child, if you have a child, spoke his or her first words.

Through the ages, parents have taught their children to identify everyday objects by showing them many objects and associating names with them.  The parents expect their children to process and remember all of the information that they have been shown.  Then the parents expect their children to give correct answers accordingly when asked.

This happens so much so, that the parents are forever placing their children on display in front of their family and friends.  You have seen this in action many times when the parents say, “Look at what little Johnny can do” and then precede to name different body parts in an attempt to get little Johnny to point to or touch that particular part.  And usually there is some type of positive response associated with every correct answer that little Johnny gives and usually something negative is associated with each wrong response he gives.

Whenever a child has been conditioned to give the “correct answer” to standard questions that does not require any significant level of creativity on his or her part, you have “convergent thinking” at its best.  The sad part is that this was the beginning of the end.  Who would have thought?

Enjoy your blessings. - KW

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