Creativity demands that we should approach a problem on its own terms and look for a multiplicity of ways of looking at it and a multiplicity of ways of solving it. We are not taught that. We have been taught that there are clear constraints on what is logical and what is not. Aristotelian logic is black or white thinking reasoning. For example, it states that identity A is either this or that. It is either A = A or A = not-A.

Look at a chair, a chair is a chair or it is not a chair. It cannot be both according to the constraints of logic. Yet suppose I take a chair and gradually dismantle it… take a leg off, a bit of the back, half of the seat and so on. At what point exactly does it cease being a chair and start becoming a heap of wood? This cannot be determined because the chair has no power to define itself. Nor is there any ideal chair form that magically appears when all the wood is arranged a certain way at a definite point of assembly. Your mind is the only thing that can make a distinction between a chair and a heap of wood. And there is no system of thinking, no logical rules, no steps or procedures, or decision trees that can help you decide when to cease calling it a chair or to begin calling it a pile of wood.

Let’s start again. This time I call the chair Michael’s chair. As I dismantle it, I replace the parts with brand new parts, placing the old parts on the floor. As I replace all the parts, a friend builds another chair using my old parts. Now we have a chair with all the parts replaced and a second chair made out of the original materials. So which one is Michael’s chair now? Is it the one with all new parts or the one with all the old parts?