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I was fortunate enough to stumble upon Six Thinking Hats (1999)by Edward de Bono (a professor and researcher who has dedicated his life’s work to better understanding and teaching thinking as a skill), in which he outlines six styles/frameworks for decision-making. Flipping through the book which just happened to be on my friend’s shelf, I came upon a chapter on the ‘Green Hat’- the creative hat.

As de Bono describes, “Under the green hat we put forward new ideas.” “The deliberate allocation of time to creative effort is very important…Under the green hat one is permitted to put forward possibilities.” “Those who believe that progress arises from the analysis of information and step of logical deduction are totally wrong.” “The green thinking hat is concerned with new ideas and new ways of looking at things. Green hat thinking is concerned with escaping from the old ideas in order to find better ones. Green hat thinking is concerned with change.”

Edward de Bono adds that ‘Green Hat thinking is lateral thinking.’

From Chapter 31 of his book:

“Movement is a key idiom of lateral thinking…with movement we use an idea for its forward effect. We use an idea to see where it will get us. We use an idea to see what it will lead to. In effect we use an idea to move forward. Just as we use a stepping stone to move across a river from one bank to the other, so we use a provocation as a stepping stone to move across from one pattern to another.”

Lateral thinking is asymmetric, as de Bono explains- it is not a logical process per se, an orderly progression. We can look back at a discovery and find the explanation, but perhaps the creative process requires a trust in creativity, branching out into new ideas and in new directions without a concrete outcome in mind, but with the simple value of movement in a new direction.

I felt a strong synergy with de Bono’s Green Hat/Lateral Thinking, and the Latitude Movement. I have been spending many months on trying to create the simple logic of why the Latitude Movement is necessary. Or the answer.

But really, what the Latitude Movement represents for me is movement. A new idea for engaging the world and focusing in on the small places that get overlooked. Latitude line is in fact a kind of hardwired pattern, yet acheives the asymmetry of creative thought because we do not currently organize our lives, and understand our lives, in terms of latitude, for the most part. I believe we each view ourselves as parts of circles, and the line of latitude breaks through our social understanding and introduces something different.

I call the Latitude Movement a movement precisely because I value movement in and of itself. And I value line, a focus point for creativity- a jumping off point.

Lateral thinking and latitudinal thinking overlap. It is about branching out and exploring, considering options.

From de Bono: “The search for alternatives implies a creative attitude: the acceptance that there are different approaches.”

The Latitude Movement looks at latitude as a jump off point because it is a common denominator for communities along a latitude line- and through this common, shared latitude experience (same line, same light) we can appreciate the different approaches communities have in all aspects of life. The common line is an entrance into diversity (same line/diverse perspectives).

As I travel, I look for gleanings. I engage places as if I am meant to glean something from the experience, and from the moment. If I look at a bookshelf, there is something there I am meant to read. Life is certainly more creative this way.

To stumble on this writing, from the 1980’s, was a real blessing. Because De Bono’s work quickly reminds me that what appeals to me about the Latitude Movement is that it is something new, and that there is movement in the idea of following a specific line around the world. That this is a provocation- to borrow from De Bono- into new realizations.

As I discuss the idea with friends and family, I see that the idea is of interest, but it is hard to convey the message of what this is- because I feel a pressure to package the idea. And there is some benefit to working on the communication of the idea to engage others, but really, the idea is nothing more than a trajectory. Here’s a line, follow it, see where it leads you.

I love it!


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