Janusian and Synergistic Thinking

Creative people are famously unstable, both emotionally and in their thinking; the artistic temperament is moody, and creators openly tolerate polarities in ideas and viewpoints that others reject, and then try to bury. Oscillations between two distinctly different modes of thinking may account for a lot of this instability and openness. Creators are more skilled in the combined use of two kinds of thought processes: linear thinking, which is verbal, logical, sequential, and analytic; and non-linear thinking, which is associative, more image oriented, non-sequential, and non-logical (but not irrational).

The two-faced Roman god Janus

Janusian thinking is the combined use of logical and associative thinking. It can make a creative person appear unstable.

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Synergistic Thinking

3D image of black and white swirls.

Synergistic thinking makes a synthesis of linear and non-linear thinking. In other words, it blends logic and association.  (Image: public domain)

Creative thinking requires the skilful blending of linear and non-linear thinking. In more commonly used language, this means we must combine logical thinking with associative thinking. Before we go on, let us be clear that associative thinking is not the same as intuition. Associative thinking brings related ideas and events together in imagination or memory in ways that are not necessarily logical. Association may link a red barn with a red car (because they are both red) even though there is no logical reason to connect them. The associative connection may not be rigorously logical, but it is definite and understandable. Intuition is more emotional, more vague, a mere feeling or inarticulate hunch.

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