Lateral Thinking, Vertical Thinking, Critical Thinking, Parallel Thinking And Six Thinking Hats. What type of A Thinker Are You?

You are driving down the road in your car on a wild, stormy night, when you pass by a bus stop and you see three people waiting for the bus:

1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect partner you have been dreaming about.

Knowing that there can only be one passenger in your car, whom would you choose?

Acting on an anonymous phone call, the police raid a house to arrest a suspected murderer. They don’t know what he looks like but they know his name is John and that he is inside the house. The police bust in on a carpenter, a lorry driver, a mechanic and a fireman all playing poker. Without hesitation or communication of any kind, they immediately arrest the fireman. How do they know they’ve got their man?

I guess I have forced you all to put on your thinking hat to answer these questions? But what sort of thinking leads to the right answer? A thinking which is more geared towards critical and indirect approach? Using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic a.k.a Lateral Thinking.

For the first question Most of them would either choose one of the three but more of the humanitarians would choose the Old lady but the Lateral thinker comes with a solution where he not only chooses the Old Lady but also makes way for the other two options. How? He asks the Old Lady to get into the car however asks his best friend to take her to the hospital after handing over the car keys and spend time with his partner until his friend comes back. Now the answer to the second question is much simpler why? Because only the fireman is a Man and the rest are Women.

So to get to an answer to both these puzzles or trick questions we arrived at the most appropriate answer by searching for alternatives and attacking the problem from all angles; if you master this art you are on your way to be a good Lateral Thinker!

Now say one fine day after a good work out at a gym you get back home and looking forward to a nice bath; and realize the shower is not working what do you do? You possibly rely on your experience and see if there is a notice in the building about no water supply; if there is none open the shower cap and see if there is any problem with the shower cap assuming you have some plumbing knowledge or call the Plumber himself. This kind of solution is the result of processing known theories, knowledge and experience on fixing a shower cap. Therefore, this group of solutions are generated from vertical thinking. Vertical Thinking is always a slam dunk scenario as there is no out of the box thinking here and is often used on known problems.

Do you take for granted the Information which is dished out to you without a thought? If you do I am afraid you are not much of a critical thinker.
Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments that are logical and well thought out. It is a way of thinking in which you don’t simply accept all arguments and conclusions you are exposed to but rather have an attitude involving questioning such arguments and conclusions. It requires wanting to see what evidence is involved to support a particular argument or conclusion. People who use critical thinking are the ones who say things such as, ‘How do you know that? Is this conclusion based on evidence or gut feelings?’ and ‘Are there alternative possibilities when given new pieces of information?

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Civilization And Energy Consumption. Kardehev Scale and Levels of Civilization. Clarkes Three Laws, White’s Law And Evolution of Culture.

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Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. “ Clarkes Third Law”

As a kid once I wondered how cool it would be to see the other person whom we were talking to on the phone ? In the Early eighties such a thought almost bordered to a sense of magical as pointed out by Clarks third Law. Fast Forward 3 decades later I watch my son almost taking it for granted seeing me on Face time. So at times just can’t help wondering what my son’s son will take for granted in terms of technological advancement? So true. Well both of them will see a type I civilization unfolding before their eyes as it is predicted by 2100 ours will be a type I Civilization.

Type I civilization ? Even before we go there the progress of our civilization can be measured how efficiently we utilize and harness our energy resources. It’s not me who is proposing this but an anthropologist Leslie White who postulated that other factors remaining constant, “culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased. His theory, published in 1959 in The Evolution of Culture: The Development of Civilization to the Fall of Rome, rekindled the interest in social evolutionism. White differentiated between three components of culture: technological, sociological and ideological, and argued that it was the technological component which plays a primary role or is the primary determining factor responsible for the cultural evolution. For White “the primary function of culture” and the one that determines its level of advancement is its ability to “harness and control energy.”


White’s law states that the measure by which to judge the relative degree of evolvedness of culture was the amount of energy it could capture (energy consumption). White differentiates between five stages of human development. In the first, people use energy of their own muscles. In the second, they use energy of domesticated animals. In the third, they use the energy of plants (so White refers to agricultural revolution here). In the fourth, they learn to use the energy of natural resources: coal, oil, gas. In the fifth, they harness nuclear energy.

Continue reading Civilization And Energy Consumption. Kardehev Scale and Levels of Civilization. Clarkes Three Laws, White’s Law And Evolution of Culture.