Times: On Physical Talmudic Out-of-the-box Creativity

The Times article, "When Truisms are True" describes research on simple extrinsic factors that contribute to creative thinking.

Here at this blog, we believe with true faith that Talmudic thinking is the most effective means of generating creative ideas. And for us Talmudic thinking = out-of-the-box thinking. Halakhic thinking is most definitely in-the-box thinking, i.e., not conducive to creativity.
GRAY MATTER. When Truisms Are True
WHAT ignites the engine of creativity? A popular metaphor in American business urges you to think “outside the box.” Folk wisdom advises that problem-solving is helped by thinking about something “on the one hand” and then “on the other hand.”

Is there any psychological truth to such metaphors for better thinking? Our research suggests that the answer is yes. When people literally — that is, physically — embody these metaphors, they generate more creative ideas for solving problems.
Here is the money shot from the article:
In another study, 40 undergraduates from the University of Michigan were asked to lift and hold a hand outstretched (as you might while addressing an audience from a stage). Some were asked to lift just one hand, while others were asked to switch between hands. While they were doing this, we asked them to generate novel uses for a new university complex. Among students who were allowed to switch hands — in other words, to think about a problem on “one hand” and then “on the other hand” — we found a nearly 50 percent increase in the number of uses generated.

By showing that bodily experiences can help create new knowledge, our results further undermine the strict separation between mind and body — another box that has confined our thinking for a long time. In addition, although we’re only starting to grasp how catchphrases shape how people think, it’s possible to begin prescribing some novel suggestions to enhance creativity. For instance, if we’re performing a job that requires some “outside the box” thinking, we may have to avoid working in cubicles.

But we shouldn’t avoid cubicles altogether: to think outside the box, you first need a box.
So as we would say, on the one hand, on the other hand, to think Talmudic, out-of-the-box you first need to have Halakhah, the box.

Hence a Halakhic human is not much of a creative human. A Talmudic human has a greater potential to give birth to new ideas and insights. A Halakhic human generates a pesak, a cessation, a decision, an end to further thinking. A Talmudic human gives birth to a hiddush, a fresh new concept, perspective or thought that spurs on further novel teachings.

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