No Thought Is An Island
Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when it is the only one you have. Emile Chartier
This metaphor is related to several of my metaphor blogs. It makes an important point that everything is interconnected. It is among my favorites because it comes from John Donne’s famous metaphor, No man is an island. No thought is an island in the same way.
No thought is an island; it’s an ocean of ideas.
I need to acknowledge that these ideas came from my reading Rethinking The Fifth Discipline. 2000 by Robert Louis Flood. He said his book could not be summarized as “an island of thought” because with systematic thinking comes “an ocean of ideas”.
An island is something considered to be isolated, separate, not connected. We now know that all oceans are connected. Metaphorically thinking of a thought (a systemic thought) as an ocean of ideas shows us it is not isolated; it is connected to other thoughts and ideas.
Thoughts do not pass through consciousness as separate strands of experience, but they are constantly interconnected and modify each other as they go along. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Systemic thinking is what I have been calling holistic, inclusive thinking and whole-mindfulness. I believe closed-minded, exclusive thinking reduces thinking to an island — separate, unconnected. Because your thoughts are so interconnected and complex, you need some powerful thinking techniques in order to get off an island and into an ocean of systemic thinking ideas.
For example, Edward deBono’s Six Thinking Hats (1985); Roger von Oech’s A Whack On The Side Of The Head,1982 and A Kick In The Seat Of The Pants, 1986, FLOW by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,1990, First Things First by Stephen Covey, 1994, How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael Gleb, 1998, The Art Of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar, 2010, Thinking Fast And Slow by Daniel Kahneman, 2011. Among others.
The point is we don’t need more advice about how to think creatively with an ocean of ideas. We just need practice. I believe this is beginning to happen (except in politics). The world of politics is a different world. In the nonpolitical world, effective thinking advice is not hard to find. It is just hard to use.
There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Shakespear.