Thinking as a Problem Solving Process - Psychology and Pedagogy

Thinking as a Problem Solving Process

Ethnography has shown that primitive tribes, including those that exist today, are endowed with an extremely acute perception of space. A native can see the smallest details of his environment. He is extremely sensitive to any change in the environment, even in the most difficult situations can find the right road. With the utmost precision, he follows all the turns of the river when he row, sail, or drift along with the current.

However, along with this ability, and even contrary to it, the aborigine has a strange lack of understanding of space. If you ask him to give a general description or draw a map of the river, he will not even understand what he is being asked to do. What does this show? The fact that abstract thinking was gradually formed in these people.

The native knows the direction of the river flow well, but his acquaintance with it is far from what can be called knowledge in the abstract, theoretical sense. If you have a thing in your hands and you know how to do it correctly, ie. with practical use, to treat it, it does not mean that you have a complete idea of ​​this thing. It is necessary to work out a general concept of the given thing, to define its innumerable interrelationships with other objects and at the same time to understand the specific differences from the latter, i.e. to understand its deep meaning, its essence and a special place among other things. This is the way of theoretical thinking.

Thinking always sets a task to solve this or that problem. For example, modern physics offers some amazing possibilities for explanation, based on a broader understanding of the nature of time. Einstein's theory of relativity, replacing three-dimensional space and linear time with the concept of a four-dimensional continuum of space-time, provides an interesting opportunity for understanding some transpersonal experiences related to other historical periods. The special theory of relativity allows under certain circumstances the reverse course of time. In modern physics, the desire to view time as bi-directional - forward and backward - is becoming more and more habitual. Thus, for example, in the physics of high energies when interpreting space-time diagrams, the motion of a particle in time is equivalent to the motion of the corresponding antiparticles in the opposite direction.

Thinking can be productive and reproductive. Productivity is the realization by a person of his potential capabilities, forces. The ability of a person to use his powers productively is a gratifying gift. By the force of reason a person can penetrate deep into the phenomena, understand their essence. With the power of the imagination he is able to imagine something that does not yet exist, to plan and carry out what he has planned. At the same time, when a person does not have enough of these forces, his attitude toward the world gradually turns into a desire to dominate, to exert pressure on other people, i.e. treat them as if they were things.

The relation to the world, according to Fromm, can be twofold: reproductive, when the perception of reality remains always the same, like a film that indefinitely reproduces in all details the footage (although even simple reproductive perception requires active work of the mind) and generative (productive), in which an animating and transformative comprehension of the world is carried out with the help of spontaneous active work of the mental and emotional forces of man. To each person, these two ways of dealing with the world are inherent in one way or another, but the range between them is very wide. At times, some of them seem to atrophy, and the other - is extremely activated, and then studying the extreme manifestations of the second is the best possible approach to understanding its essence. In turn, with the temporary atrophying of the second one, one can better study the first type of relation to the world.

Our culture, according to Fromm, is very characteristic of the relative atrophy of generative capacity. A person can be aware of a certain reality as it is (or as is customary in a given culture), but he is not able to bring anything new into it, to revive it in his own way based on his own perception. Such a person is realist in the literal sense of the word. He sees everything that can be seen on the surface of phenomena, but is unable to penetrate beyond the visible, into their essence and in his mind's eye see the invisible. The realist sees the details, but not the whole, trees, but not the forest. Reality for him is only the totality of what appears in an explicitly material form. It can not be said that such a person has a poor imagination, but his imagination functions as a computer combining the already known and existing, thus deducing his subsequent actions.

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