Understanding the reality and giving a meaning to what surround us is a long learning process influenced by our past experiences and culture assimilation. As we grow up, we acquired our own frames of reference; structures of assumptions through which we understand our experiences. Their function are to selectively shape and delimit expectations, perceptions, cognition, and feelings.
Due to that, when we evaluate or respond to a new situation, we tend to follow the same learned patterns, the habits of our mind, such as “the chairs are for sitting down, the floor is meant for walking, a glass is there to be filled with liquid, you can not scream in public” etc. and quite often, we repeat our habitual way of thinking and acting.
This type of thinking is called "habitual" thinking, or vertical thinking if we follow the de Bono theory. Even though in daily life situations, it helps us simplify, function and understand the world around us, sometimes it limits our possible solutions to the new situations we encounter.
In order to break these patterns and generate creative solutions to issues, we have to develop, in words of Edward the Bono, our lateral thinking. For this author lateral thinking is concerned with breaking out the presence of old ideas. This leads to changes in attitude and approach; to looking in a different way at things which have always been looked at in the same way. So liberation from old ideas and the stimulation of new ones are twin aspects of lateral thinking.
Through breaking the rigid pattern of habitual thinking, we can create creative and innovative ideas, and come across solutions which are alternative or unusual. The theory aims to allow to solve problems indirectly and by using a creative approach.
In practice the techniques of lateral thinking are based on provocation, as a tool to break the route of the habitual thinking. Some of the Lateral thinking tools will be more specific explained in the Method Chapter of this book. This implementation of lateral thinking is one of the paths to the creative activism. Creativity is the WOW factor, the quality of the unexpected that opens new possibilities.
Connecting it with creative activism, it seems clear for us that among the forms of protest we have, there are some that have been absorbed by the system, and have become the expected responses. They are not able to generate change and they have been disabled. They belong to the usual cycle of oppression - protest. The creative activism seeks to break habitual patterns of protest creating that provocative spoken of lateral thinking.
Creative, spontaneous and unexpected.