Static Thinking vs Dynamic Thinking
When you live in a static thinking world, things either are either similar to one another or they are different.
When you live in a dynamic thinking world things are similar AND they are different.
So what happens in a world when things are, at the same time, in two different states?
Dr. Gutstein talks about the differences in static thinking and dynamic thinking and how necessary it is for growth.
Kat Lee: Welcome back to ASD, A New Perspective, the podcast show where we help you understand what is going on in the mind of your child, and we encourage you that growth for your child is possible.
Kat Lee: In this podcast, talks about static versus dynamic thinking, and how necessary it is for growth. Let’s listen in.
Dr. Gutstein: When you’re in a static world, things are either similar to one another, or they’re different, and you’re obligated to operate that way. In a dynamic world, things are at the same time they’re similar, and they’re different.
Dr. Gutstein: In a static world you can sort of do that. You can say, “Well, in this concept, this category, this is similar, this is similar, this similar.” In a dynamic world, you can’t tell how much is similar and how much is different. It’s “sort of”. So what happens in a world where things are at the same time in two states?
Dr. Gutstein: Anytime you go into a new situation, if you’re operating from a dynamic part, you realize that there are some similarities and some differences, but you can’t analyze them. You can’t stop and say this is similar, this is different. Plus, things keep changing. Some things are continuing like the way they were, and some things are not. They’re continuing to change. And, some things that were similar before, may not be similar the next time.
Dr. Gutstein: You’re also living in a world that’s partially knowable, and partially not knowable. What it means, is that in your static world, you’re assuming that if you’ve got a task or problems, you’re going to either know things, you’re going to know them and be able to do them, or you’re going to. That’s something I don’t know.
Dr. Gutstein: In a dynamic world you have both your knowing, and not knowing, at the same time. You’re in a partial world again, where, depending on the situation, you’re going to know certain things, and certain things, there’s no way to know. There’s no possible way to know, and you’re still going to proceed, knowing, and just assuming that there’s a part of the world that you can’t know because it’s too complicated, because things are interacting, because there are so many variables involved that there’s no way to know what’s going to happen next.
Dr. Gutstein: In other words, the action you take, you can’t know exactly what it’s going to do. You can’t know exactly. You can’t predict exactly. If you could predict that if you take this action when you get this result, you’re back in the static.
Dr. Gutstein: If you realize that, “Oh, I’m going to make a guess at an action that I think will be helpful, but I have to be prepared that it might not turn out the way I predicted or thought,” then you’re thinking in a dynamic world. You’re approaching the world differently.
Dr. Gutstein: When you’re thinking that you can take an object, for instance, and put it on the ground, and come back to it later and it’ll be in the same place, you’re in a static world, which is appropriate most of the time when you’re putting an object on the ground.
Dr. Gutstein: But what happens if you’re putting an object in a fast-moving river? Do you assume that you’re going to come back to it, and it’ll be in the same place? No.
Dr. Gutstein: Can you know where it’s going to be in the future? Can you predict in a river, a fast-moving river, exactly where that object is going to be? No way. There are too many variables. There are different flows. There are weather conditions, there are things in the river, many things in the river that is… Fast-moving rivers change from moment to moment. There’s no way you can predict if it’s going to be downriver, sort of downriver. You can get a general area, a framework of the area where it might be, but within that area, you have no way of knowing where it’s going to be.
Dr. Gutstein: So you’re living in a world now where you can know, and not know. Where you can know, generally, things, but as you approach the river, for instance, or as you approach that situation, you might get more information about it, but you’re going to live with that degree of not knowing. And, you’re going to live with that degree that things are not going to be there when you need them. You’re going to managing problems and situations in a very different way.
Dr. Gutstein: You can’t handle the sequence of river conditions. You can’t handle it, you can’t analyze it, one-by-one-by-one. Another example I use is when you’re going to marry somebody. If you’re doing it through a pro and con list, you could. But then, let’s say you have all these pros and cons, what do you do? Is each one the same? Is each one equal in value? How do you deal with all those variables then, and make a judgment?
Dr. Gutstein: Well, you see the problem there, is because you’re dealing with a non-sequential world, a non-static world, where… And also, by the way, the meaning of something, as you look at it, you notice something else. The significance has already changed because you’re pointing out different scenarios.
Dr. Gutstein: You’re “Well, I thought this was important, but maybe it’s not as important as this, and this, and this,” and even in your mind continues to play out things. To change your mind, you look at things differently. There’s no way to do that in a sequential way. There’s no way to do it. It doesn’t say the same. It doesn’t maintain these little static, piece-by-piece-by-piece-by-piece similarities, does it?
Dr. Gutstein: You wake up every morning and you go through the day and are you the same person at every moment of the day? As yesterday? As last week? Do you stay the same? Well, yeah. Are you different? Sometimes, yeah. Do you ever feel like being different? Yeah, but you’re also the same.
Dr. Gutstein: Any new situation that you go into that’s not static, it’s not scripted, if you can’t figure out what’s the same as other situations, if you can’t appreciate that, you’re going to feel chaotic. You go into a new situation, and you have no idea, anything in your experience that’s like it, you should probably leave. Get out of there, because you’re going to be completely overwhelmed by it. You’re going to get frightened.
Dr. Gutstein: But what we do, is we search immediately, and we search by saying, “Okay, what is similar to the past? What do we know that seems to be continuing from our past experience?” And, it’s only then that we can process, or think about, and appreciate, what’s different, because we have that underlying sense of searching for something that’s similar.
Dr. Gutstein: How similar is it? Can we quantify that? No, we can’t. Will our opinions change of that as we go along? Yeah. We’ll find other things that look similar. If you go to a new culture or new situation, we’ll find things that draw in contrast to your situation. We say, “Oh. I thought it was going to be similar because we use the same gesture, we use the same way of using this,” and then we find out, “Oh, no. It’s different.” It’s very different than we thought.
Dr. Gutstein: Others are going to be the opposite, more similar than we thought, and as we engage in a dynamic way, we are looking for those, because we’re assuming that there’s going to be differences in the things that stay the same to us. Things that are different to us.
Dr. Gutstein: As we engage in a dynamic way in our lives, we operate as if we’re going to be continuous. We are the same person, but we’re also… There are periods where we’re changed. Where we’re not the same. When we look back in the past, it doesn’t feel the same as our prior experience.
Dr. Gutstein: I want to point out it’s not just a set of skills. That’s what people like to make, use it. It’s a different way of approaching the world. Wanting to use an operating system, it’s taking on that approach. It needs to become internalized and automatic. They don’t think. They don’t press that button, “now I’m going to think static” but it is a way of approaching the world as continually changing, and also not.
Dr. Gutstein: And sometimes, we can ignore the change. When we’re planning for the future, we’re planning something or preparing, we’re on the one hand ignoring what’s going on around us, whatever variation is going on around us in the next room, in the next place…but sometimes we do. We let it go offline.
Dr. Gutstein: But, we are planning and preparing for a role that’s going to be dynamic. The way we plan, even though at that moment, we’re acting in that sense of the world. That we’re not dealing with the current dynamic that was in the future.
Dr. Gutstein: So what I’m saying here, you could have a contingency plan, you can make a… If this happens, I’ll do A. If that happens, I’ll do B. That’s wonderful, static thinking. A, B, C, and D. The problem is, in the real world there’s going to be E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, and if you try to figure out what actually… Try to really predict it, you spend your whole life planning it, and never get anywhere. Never doing it.
Dr. Gutstein: So, that’s why, and I think it’s really important that people understand where we’re heading is, is that we’re providing a means for these people who have autism. Autism being that, thinking it on one level, it’s we define autism as people who are not developing complex, dynamic processes. Which as I said, shows itself most clearly from also a social situation, but in non-social situations as well.
Dr. Gutstein: Because by the way, the failure for people to live autonomously, and to be employed, and mentally healthy, people with high functioning autism, is not purely social. It’s not just because of the social situations. It’s not because of their social interactions that they fail. It’s managing their own lives, too. All the dynamic things that come up in their own life. That’s very important to understand. It just it’s most apparent in those social situations.
Dr. Gutstein: But anyway that’s right. When you look at dynamic intelligence, it’s important to make it clear what that’s about, and how, why. Every step we’re taking, even before we formally use that sort of a dynamic that I was just talking about. This whole thing is a dynamic intelligence program.
Dr. Gutstein: But what you’re doing is this. In the first part, it’s creating a very attuned, “us” relationship. The idea that we can create a safe world with you. We can be a “we”, even before you introduce a lot of variation then, and then once we create that underlying continuity of “us”, we’re going to be us, we’re going to be okay emotionally. We’re going to be a single, emotional system to some degree. A regulated system, so once you have trust, and then we start producing variations in a small way and emphasizing the interest in variation, and excitement, and of course we emphasize the continuity. We have to because the idea is that, oh there are differences, and things are always going to stay the same.
Dr. Gutstein: Later on, we’ll say there are differences, and things are always going to stay the same, except when they don’t.
Kat Lee: Thanks for joining us for ASD, A New Perspective. A podcast show where we help you understand the mind of your child, and we always encourage you that growth for your child is possible. I’m Kat Lee, see you next time.