Used quotes are in bold

To think creatively is first to feel. The desire to understand must be whipped together with sensual and emotional feelings and blended with intellect to yield imaginative insight. [5-6]


Words are, in other words, both literal and figurative signs of interior feelings, but not their essence. They are, as Heisenberg said of mathematics, expressions of understanding, not its embodiment. [9]

… at the level of the creative process, scientists, artists, mathematicians, composers, writers, and sculptors use a common set of what we call “tools for thinking,” including emotional feelings, visual images, bodily sensations, reproducible patterns, and analogies. And all imaginative thinkers learn to translate ideas generated by these subjective thinking tools into public languages to express their insights, which can then give rise to new ideas in others’ minds. [11]

Our schools and universities insist on cooking with only half the necessary ingredients. By half-understanding the nature of thinking, teachers only half-understand how to teach, and students only half-understand how to learn. [12]

… it is obvious that education based solely on separate disciplines and public languages leaves out huge chunks of the creative process. Teachers work to hone studnets’ mathematical and syntactical logic, but they ignore the metalogics of feelings and intuition. We are taught and tested with words and numbers, and it is assumed that we think in words and numbers... We master the languages of translation but neglect our mother-tongue. [12-13]

Feeling and thinking must, therefore, become part of the educational curriculum. Students must learn how to pay attention to what they feel in their bones, to develop and use it. [13]

… what eventually separates successful scientists and engineers from the rest of the students in their classes is the ability to feel or see what the equations mean… Verbal schooling received in the humanities also fails an analogous way by teaching students communication and analysis without exercising feeling, observing, empathizing, and other ways of knowing reality directly. [18]

If you can’t imagine, you can’t invent… If you can’t conceive of things that don’t exist, you can’t create anything new. If you can’t dream up worlds that might be, then you are limited to the worlds other people describe. You see reality through their eyes, not your own. Worse, having failed to develop your own illusory but insightful “eyes of the mind,” the eyes in your head will not show you much of anything at all. [22]

The trick … is to live in Illusions and Reality at the same time. Fantasy and imagination suggest how the world might be; knowledge and experience limit the possibilities; melding the two begets understanding. Without the illusions of the mind, a clear grasp of reality is impossible, and vice versa… For the scientist, experimentation keeps imagination from going astray; for the artist, it is a dialectical dilemma. [23]

Without imagination all the world, is indeed, … flat and small. What we sense directly—a door, the sun and moon rising and setting, a photograph or drawing, the scribbled marks we call letters on a piece of paper—these things are not real at all or, rather, they are not real to us in and of themselves. We must interpret what we sense in terms of imagination to create understanding. All of science and all of art are demonstrations of this fact. The door is not just a piece of wood hung on hinges; it is also an example of torque and mass; it is also a marriage of materials, manual skill, and utilitarian purpose; a work of artistic design; an exit; an entry. To think of it in these different ways requires us to perceive it in different ways… Despite appearances, the earth turns not the sun, and thus the sun, not the earth, is the center of the solar system. The photograph, the drawing, writing itself—these are nothing but paper with some ink or silver stains on it. What we make of each occurs in our minds in accord with our skill at recreating the sensory, emotional, and experiential feelings that they are meant to symbolize. Their meanings are invented fictions that have a ring of truth only if we carry the truth around inside ourselves. Productive thought occurs when internal imagination and external experience coincide… This being the case, the task for educators, self-learners, and parents is simply put: to reunite the two. [24]

[What we find], when taken as a whole, is a common set of thinking tools at the heart of creative understanding. These tools include (but are not necessarily limited to) observing, imaging, abstracting, recognizing patterns, forming patterns, analogizing, body thinking, empathizing, dimensional thinking, modeling, playing, transforming, and synthesizing. [24-25]

… these tools for thinking promise to bridge the gap between Illusions and Reality to create synthetic understanding. [28]

… tools for thinking are exactly what we have called them: tools. They are just like whisks, knives, graters, spatulas, mixers and blenders—equipment available to anyone. With practice and determination anyone can learn to use them with some degree of skill. We fully expect them to be used with other analytical tools, such as logic, and with communcation tools, such as words and equations. Our tools complement but do not replace other cognitive skills. [28]

… just as mastery of kitchen utensils does not guarantee innovation in cooking, mastery of tools for thinking does not guarantee innovation in science, art or any other endeavor. There are no easy recipes for originality. Nevertheless, neither the chef nor the thinker can be creative without thorough practice and exercise of his or her equipment. Thinking tools are necessary to creativity, but, like the tools of any trade, they must be used with invidual, even idiosyncratic, vision to yield imaginative results. [28]

… though people can use these tools in the workplace or the home, their most important role may be in education. [28]

If society cannot find ways to make integrated understanding accessible to large numbers of people, then the information revolution is not only useless but a threat to human civilazation. [29]