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3. CATEGORIES

Since thinking patterns are made up of actions and are therefore dynamic rather than static processes, they operate within those categories that define all patterns of action: energy, time, and space. These three categories of the Relational Thinking Styles model correspond to the categories of philosopher, Charles Sanders Peirce--upon whose work RTS is constructed. (For those familiar with Peirce's categories, 'intensity' corresponds to firstness; 'duration,' to secondness; and 'sequence' to thirdness--as expressed within the ontological category of Thirdness.)

MENTAL ENERGY=INTENSITY

In the context of Relational Thinking Styles, intensity has to do with the confrontation of alternatives. The method of recognizing and choosing among alternatives determines the degree of cognitive energy someone will expend on any activity.

A habit, for example, requires very little cognitive energy until we feel the need to change it. People who rely upon familiar (or habitual) ways of thinking to solve problems do not encounter the number of options as those who employ more variety in the problem-solving arena.

The greatest intensity occurs among those who select 'qualitatively', based upon the intrinsic 'worth' of a thing, idea or method as it relates to, or combines with, other things, ideas, and methods in the course of an activity. Such value driven selectivity necessarily requires a greater investment of energy in the confrontation of alternatives than other methods since selections are measured against previous selections as well as other available options. These selections, being based upon 'qualitative', rather than clear goal directed standards, do not have the built-in efficiency of selections that are made based upon preconceived outcomes.

Of course, intensity can also be high at times for those who are goal-directed. Indeed, for those who work with long range and abstract goals, it is quite common to observe high intensity in various stages of their process. These people, however, are not driven by the confrontation of alternatives as are those who select 'qualitatively' but rather, they are driven by the ultimate achievement of that goal. This, by necessity, reduces the number and kind of alternatives they will consider.

The shallowest intensity of all occurs among those who encounter a great many options and select from the basis of expediency rather than from habit, or deliberate selection toward a goal, or from qualitative considerations. In fact, for some people, intensity is not even a factor in their choice making process. Although, depending upon temperament, some with shallow thinking intensity are habitual in their daily lives (that is, they keep their homes and personal selves in good order), they still eschew repetition when it comes to cognitive processes involving the sequencing of activities and the use of time. Because they do not 'confront' alternatives but merely respond to them in the most expedient manner possible, we say that a "lack of intensity" is the most significant factor in their process.

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