Share
Explore BrainMass

Creativity and ambiguity

One of the classic debates in physics revolves around the strange behaviour of light. In some experiments, it acts like a wave. In other experiments, it acts like a particle. One approach to this problem is to 'solve' it—to determine once and for all which it is. If the experimental evidence of the past hundred years is any guide, this route will lead to frustration. The other approach is to accept that different experiments yield different results and to hold both as truths—despite that fact that these two truths are contradictory. Allowing for ambiguity frees research for creative 'play'; since the truth of one or the other approach is not at stake, much more creative work can be envisioned. However, just because an approach is creative may not garner it favours, particularly with those who feel strongly one way or the other! In this Discussion, you will consider the relationship between ambiguity and creativity and consider how a person's colleagues react to it in their midst.

Question: It has been shown that tolerance for ambiguity is closely related to creative-thinking skills. In other words, creative persons are not convinced that 'there is only one truth' and are ready to challenge 'the current truth'. Provide two examples of persons facing troubles from rejecting 'the only truth'—one from history and one from your organisation or neighbourhood. Discuss whether they won or lost in their effort—and in what way this occurred.

Solution Preview

Question: It has been shown that tolerance for ambiguity is closely related to creative-thinking skills. In other words, creative persons are not convinced that 'there is only one truth' and are ready to challenge 'the current truth'. Provide two examples of persons facing troubles from rejecting 'the only truth'—one from history and one from your organisation or neighbourhood. Discuss whether they won or lost in their effort—and in what way this occurred.

The human race has been challenging the notion of what is true and open for discussion ever since the beginning of time. This has led to innovations, exploration, and the current society that we live in. Dispelling popular "truths" that are strongly held by humans as the absolute truth is very difficult, because of the fact that people base what they believe to be the absolute truth upon their entire system of understanding wherein the have been conditioned their entire life to believe that their version of the "truth" is absolute. To change this belief system requires courage on behalf of the person attempting to change strongly held beliefs and considerable effort as human's who strongly believe in what they view as the truth typically have some solid reasoning and historical data that leads them to believe in this version of the truth. Therefore, to change a persons' belief in what they believe is the truth will require changing how this person reasons and the data that they accept as valid, which is a monumental task as people steadfastly hold on to their beliefs and versions of the truth.

The great 20th century philosopher John Dewey advocated for teaching skepticism, reflective inquiry, and tolerance for ambiguity in American education because this would expand student's knowledge and challenge commonly held beliefs that were perceived as truth but could be refuted with data that challenged these truths. In essence, Dewey wanted to ensure that students always analyzed evidence that was obtained from multiple sources as this would lead to greater critical thinking skills, which would assist students in learning to challenge commonly held beliefs to work toward improving society.

The most commonly held "truth" in human history in my opinion was the belief that the Earth was flat. This belief transcended cultures, countries, and spanned for thousands of years before and after Christ for those who ascribe to the religious time frame. This "truth" was so strongly held that many ancient scientists who attempted to use science and astrology to challenge this belief were labeled as heretics and faced death for challenging this truth. Despite the fact that most of mankind believed that the Earth was flat, and that anyone who attempted to explore the entire planet would ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses creativity and ambiguity in creative-thinking ability.

$2.19