Dialectical thinking is a quintessential human technology that enables the inclusion and reversal of purely logical thinking for the benefit of a broader and deeper view of the real world and its possibilities. In such thinking, we go beyond a purely logical understanding of things, and discover that any concept we use is located at the center of a four-dimensional conceptual network through which we can apprehend the world in a much broader way than is otherwise possible. Accordingly, we can also ACT more circumspectly and assess our chances and projects more realistically.
Dialectical thinking requires a self-awareness of oneself as an unceasingly thinking speaker. It enables one to ‘reconfigure’ not only concepts, but the real world referents that they stand for. Such thinking poses the question; WHAT ELSE IS THERE? This is a positive way of asking: What is missing, incomplete, ideological, or conventional in what I am presented with? Dialectical thinking is nothing to be “taught” in the sense of “instilled into”, but rather something to be drawn out of the thinker so as to shake him/her into self-awareness. What is drawn out of the learner of dialectical thinking is the purely logical aspect of his thinking which is shown to flatten the world and rob it of its abundance and differentiation. This brings the thinker closer to how the brain’s right hemisphere sees the world and helps him avoid mistaking his re-presentations for ‘reality’.
The Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM) founded by Otto Laske has the longest record of teaching dialectical thinking in the USA. Founded in 2000, IDM has developed a curriculum for professionals of all kinds, to put to use their developmental resources for breaking the ‘logical thinking barrier’. By so doing, people move toward a holistic and transformational way of encountering the social and cultural world, in pursuit of whatever endeavor. In its newest form, IDM teaching has fully absorbed Critical Realism, with a focus on understanding and boosting human agency, as well as Stiegler’s writing about Techne (Technicity) relative to human agency, and McGilchrist’s insights into logical thinking as a mere — but run-away — emissary of its right-hemisphere master.
In the context of run-away innovation within today’s technoscience nothing could be more helpful than having acquired a practice of dialectical thinking for structuring one’s concerns and the internal conversations dealing with them. Once apprehended and mastered, the four dialectical thinking modes and their associated ‘thought forms’ enable an enlightened common-sense practice in remediating the social and cultural ruptures that are now everybody’s daily bread.
In addition to long-term (1 1/2 year) case studies leading to a practice of dialectic in organizations, beginning in 2022 IDM offers shorter-term, 15-hour (ten session), Practica. These Practica are attended by up to 12 participants working together for up to 4 months, to acquire a professional grounding in the practice of dialectical thinking. Applications of this practice are found in areas such as permaculture, city planning, ecological rewilding, architectural design, art making, not solely organizational or institutional work.
For questions, write to Otto Laske at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details concerning the Practica, see the document attached, entitled The 2022 IDM Dialectics Practicum