Small Thinking Can’t Solve Big Problems
Bill Cottringer

“Logical, intellectual thinking can prove or disprove relative beliefs and at best most of these turn out to be half-truths which are not worth clinging to. But only whole-brained rational and spiritual intelligence combined can discover the absolutes that are worth dying for.” ~The Author.

Albert Einstein had another way of saying this, with his quote, “You can’t solve a problem with the same type of language that created it.” The current problem we have today with the painful divide of beliefs and truths, is one that can’t be solved with small thinking from either hemisphere of the brain—the left, convergent, logical thinking one or the right, divergent imaginative side. It requires BIG thinking from the whole brain.

Big thinking is a monumental challenge because our two brain hemispheres have no way to communicate with each other through their connector, the corpus collosum. Our left hemisphere speaks to us in thoughts and words representing our beliefs about what is relatively true or not (Intellectual intelligence), whereas our right hemisphere gives us feelings and images of the absolute truths (spiritual intelligence).

The trouble is there are situations and problems that require logical resolution and others that can only be resolved with spiritual intelligence. Neither can tell the other it is their time and for the other to back off. They communicate contrary intentions with different languages. The result is babble and either-or thinking, which is always a half truth. I think the competition between these half brains is what lead us to the pervasive either-or competitive model of scarcity mentality in every facet of living.

So, what is the solution to this disturbing conflict? Simply put, we must make a mental transition from either-or, win-lose, competitive thinking to an and-and, win-win cooperative way of thinking. Since the correct sequence in the equation is thinking, feeling and behavior, maybe the feeling can catch up with the thinking to change the behavior going on today that nobody really likes or wants. All each side of the divide wants is to be right and the other to be wrong. What is wrong with this picture? Plenty!

But don’t get too excited about the divide being healed quite yet, because this transition from our competitive ego model of living to one of selfless cooperation, compromise and collaboration is only temporarily needed to get us back into better balance, or the so-called golden mean, which is always the best perspective for seeing the real truth of something.

At the end of the day all we have left about what we believe to be true is the strength we feel about the certainty or doubt with the belief. And that depends upon where in time and space we are doing the looking and the degree of whole-brained thinking we are using to seal the deal, so to speak.

Getting to this point is enormously challenging. This is because it requires us to do something that is very unnatural and foreign to us—to have the courage to question basic paradigms and explore difficult paradoxes. In return for this investment, we can then be afforded with some very critical ah-ha insights to turn the light on as to how to see contradictory things in the same breath, or from either-or (scarcity) to and-and thinking (abundance). This becomes our whole-brains finest hour.

We each discover different insights at different times and different ways. For me it first happened in an educational philosophy class during graduate school several decades ago. The professor challenged the class with the assignment of identifying a single absolute moral rule that was present in all cultures, which no one would disagree with. After many hours of careful thought and research I came up with mine. I wrote, “There is no culture in the world that condones malicious laughing at a funeral.” Getting an “A” in the class confirmed the possibility of at least one absolute for me. And that was enough at the time.

This convinced me that there were other absolute truths to discover to resolve bigger problems in life. The second instance came with learning the speed of light was a provable constant in the universe, always traveling 186,000 miles per second. I always believed that science and religion weren’t necessarily at odds with each other and now from my religious studies, things started to make sense about God being the light without darkness, residing out-side of time. Or when Einstein combined general and specific relativity—when we can go as fast of the speed of light, we have arrived at a place outside of time (heaven in the afterlife?)

A second important truth came to me, first in blind faith and then in utter trust based on sufficient evidence, both thinking and feeling. It is now common knowledge that 95% of the universe is not seeable, knowable or even imaginable. I translate this to mean 95% of what I think I know for sure, isn’t so. Purging this 95% nonsense from my thinking, freed up a lot of space for learning what I really need to know to survive the Bible’s Old Testament problems and thrive into the New Testament’s solution—by seeing both black and white, simultaneously with binocular vision.

Now if you are genuinely content with your half-truths, then by all means hold onto them tightly. But if not, consider letting go of the scarcity of your left-brain’s logic and allow a little more airtime for your right brain to explore the abundance available with growing your spiritual intelligence. My only caveat here is that our painful divide can only be healed with the heart’s courage and the whole brain’s efforts. Take it or leave it. I am taking it.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is retired Executive Vice President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (206) 914-1863 or