Tag Archive for: both/and

The Difference Between Logical and Paralogical Thinking

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I came across an article this morning that articulates a problem we encounter when we explore higher dimensions of spirituality. It cannot be easily done from the paradigm of the logical thinking mind which is steeped in this physical reality. We are both eternal and mortal. Even though the eternal aspect of us cannot be measured consistently by science, it doesn’t mean we do not transcend this physical reality. More evidence of our eternal nature is trickling in these days in many ways such as more people remembering past lives. Enjoy the article!

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.” —Niels Bohr

by Tim Freke

Quantum physicists found that, on a deep level, reality has to be understood as inherently paradoxical. This has huge implications. It means we can’t think about the deep mysteries of life using normal logic, because normal logic treats paradox as … well … illogical. We need a way of thinking that can embrace paradox. We need to think paralogically.

The great psychologist Carl Jung contrasted what he called the ‘niggardly either/or’ with the ‘glorious both/and’. This is a simple way of differentiating logical and paralogical thinking.

Logical thinking is either/or thinking.

Paralogical thinking is both/and thinking.

Logical thinking says that light is either a wave or particles. It can’t be both. Paralogical thinking says that light can be both a wave and particles, because life is inherently paradoxical. Niels Bohr explains: There are trivial truths and there are great truths. The opposite of a trivial truth is plainly false. The opposite of a great truth is also true.

This is a wonderful statement of the difference between logical thinking and paralogical thinking. Niels Bohr says that we need to think in different ways, depending on whether we are looking for ‘trivial truths’ or ‘great truths’. If we want to understand the surface of life, logical thinking works perfectly. But to understand the depths of things we need to think paralogically.

Logical thinking is based on the principle that something is either true or it isn’t true, so the opposite of a logical truth is plainly false.

Paralogical thinking is based on the realization that on a deep level life is paradoxical, so the opposite of a paralogical truth is also true.

The essential idea is that existence is a primal oneness that is arising as complementary opposites.