The choosing game
Writers of all genres are faced with many decision-making tasks; these begin even before they start writing.
Example: To put pen on paper for a stronger visceral feel, or fingers on keyboard for the speed and efficiency?
Some may find the use of their favourite pen to add delight to their project. Using stationery gifted by an esteemed writer or mentor, might facilitate inspiration and motivation. Others may find that their thoughts are worded with a lot more care and love, when transcribed by hand. And the distractions of the internet are kept at bay.
For the writer multitasking on a laptop, having the internet alongside can be invaluable for research and accuracy of content. Handy tools, for converting notes into flashcards and mind-maps, are plentiful.
Sections of writings are easily reorganized, and editing is a lot more tidy.
Work in progress can be easily shared with others for timely feedback.
And that was just one out of numerous sets of divergent options faced by avid writers. There are many decision-making techniques that assist in picking the best alternative. My preferred strategy is a discerning selection using the ‘both-and” approach.
”Both-and” thinking is a powerful and liberating tool for resolving the many contradicting choices in life.
It is less restrictive than the more common “either/or” rationale which demands the exclusion of one end of the polarity of options.
With a “both-and” mindset, we can consider embracing both opposites or even multiple ideas in a novel way.
This enables a wider range of results and becomes a more fulfilling method for navigating the richness of diverse preferences.
For the “both-and” writer, there is no need to rely completely on the latest gadgets and devices. All present-day availabilities are considered, but without needing to dismiss the specialties of the handwritten work. There are many ways to cleverly combine the two to come up with an enhanced system. The personalized mix of tools can contribute to a more productive and harmonious work-flow. It may even inspire a completely distinct and revolutionary method for converting thoughts into words.
As with many good concepts, the “both-and” thinking is also embedded in a variety of excellent theories. Polarity management, Yin-Yang approach, Jain logic and Buddhist dialectics are just a few examples of how prevalent this idea is both within traditional and contemporary philosophies. I hope to explore many of these for their subtle and distinguishing features, in future posts.
This time, I am keen to delve into a 20th century theory pioneered by Vernon J. Dixon. To present his ideas he constructed a brand new term; diunital.
In his paper for Princeton University entitled, “The Diunital Approach to Black Economics” Dixon describes his original term as such:
Webster tells us that “di” means “akin to two” or “apart.” “Unital,” the adjectival form of the word unit, refers to a “single thing that constitutes an undivided whole.” Di-unital, therefore, means literally something apart and united at the same time or something simultaneously divided and undivided-a union of opposites without inherent antagonism.
In this paper he uses diunital ideas to suggest alternatives to the common understanding of economics. He explains that the “either/or” approach sees culture and economics as mutually exclusive. Likewise, the black and white cultures of America. And the irreconcilable separation of economics from other fields like sociology, anthropology and philosophy.
A diunital approach, he says, would recognize how culture and economics effect and continue to transform each other. And culture itself gets diunitalized by his view of himself as a black who embodies both black culture and white culture ‘without inherent contradiction and antagonism” .
Experts from other academic fields are appreciated for their valuable inputs on economics, for every angle of perception is seen as simultaneously separate and linked with each other.
Versatile and Dynamic
The possibilities for diunital applications are vast and far reaching. All forms of artistic crafts, professional fields, social structures, relationship paradigms and global agendas can benefit from this magnanimous outlook.
It encourages innovation and creativity by its recognition of the multiple alternatives that are able to coexist in a diunital framework.
Nothing is taken for granted as corresponding to its popular label; for example, a best-seller list may or may not include the best works. And our own standards are not seen as the ultimate benchmark to gauge others. It is an opportunity to appreciate more of life in all its diverse manifestations.
I have been playing with the diunital thinking in many areas of my life. The results have been most fulfilling and I look forward to discussing these in future articles.
I may also write about an online forum dedicated to bringing diunital ideas and ethics, to the forefront. The moderators of the forum are putting together the finishing touches and will soon introduce their public portal on Facebook. Given the depth of this topic, the group is most likely to be a stimulating gathering of diverse ideas and meaningful sharing.
For now, I wish to share on how diunital thinking is proving to be a joyful and beneficial presence in my writing endeavours.
I love writing. Like many of my favourite activities, I find writing to be similarly diunital in itself.. There is a necessity for the extraction and absorption of life inputs. And yet there is an equal need to relinquish and declutter. It is a mixing and also a sifting. A confluence of coherent ideas and also its dynamic dispersion.
My on-going explorations of the various philosophies of our times have required much exchanges and sharing with the learned and experienced perspectives of mentor and friends. Bringing a diunital mindset to these dialogues is proving to be a great boon to my writings.
The synergetic nature of diunital discussions exude a feeling of abundance. The scarcity mentality which is linked to pride and self-centeredness is thwarted. There is plenty of room for the fulfillment of all points of view without even needing to adapt or oblige. Diunital conclusions are always a notch higher than mere compromises, for it does not require the reducing of one variable in favour of the other(s).
These diunital dialogues are not limited to the external sources of inspiration; my own contemplation is no longer limited to my own preferred vocabulary of opinions. Diunital attitude is eliminating much of the divisive tendencies in my ruminations.
Having to embrace diverse options with a keen receptiveness and genuine interest, gives my writing task an added zest and excitement. I become more open to the expanding boundaries of my writing style and also the subject matter being considered.
It is important for me to gain clarity on the intentions and content of my prose; as well as a clear awareness of what I am not delivering. These are some of the many instances where diunital thinking in my reflections have been priceless.
Exploring the Polarities
Now I would like to invite my readers to explore with me!
Let’s see how we can incorporate the diunital thinking in our own writing process. I am doing this by presenting the many contradicting options that appear throughout the writing journey.
These are just some of the concerns that demand our discerning response.
Some of these questions can change our outlook on writings, its process, our style and genre, our readers and also our sense of self worth as writers. Much can depend on how diunital we are willing to be with our answers. Please feel free to add or minus from this list to suit your own writing temperament and inclinations.
*To immediately get to the writing or to sit back and ponder on its structure and premise?
*To compile the necessary research needed or to accumulate the information on a need-to basis?
*To brainstorm and lay out plans or let the writing guide its own course?
*To focus on content or delivery and style?
*To make the content information driven or an entertaining narrative?
*To keep the content current or based on time-tested traditions?
*To express my own views or explain timeless wisdom set forth by others?
*To consider the realities of the world or to focus on what I know experientially?
*To focus on my reader and consider their feedback or to be true to myself and rely on my own intuition?
*To work alone or to collaborate with other writers/artists or join writing groups?
*To work on developing my own skills or to lend support to other writers/artists?
*To learn and stay updated for my benefit or to share and teach others?
*To spend more time and effort towards producing a better piece or to pay attention to mundane tasks? Or relationships? Or health? Or finances?
*Can my writing be both good and bad? Can the seeming weakness in my writings have hidden strengths, and vice-versa?
*To work on improving the shortcomings or to capitalize and build on the strengths?
*To consult seasoned writers and experts or to get feedback from laypersons with less preset ideas on what constitutes good writing?
*To write to contribute to positive changes or to support/supplement the existing paradigms?
*Is my writing result oriented or is the process enjoyed as an end in itself?
*To set out clear goals and definitions for readers or to make room for reflection and imagination?
*To stay true to my own values or to adapt and adopt the popular values of the times?
The list of possible questions is inexhaustible!
The happy paradox in the very contemplating of these polar opposites is that there actually arises greater clarity and balance. The benefits are just as endless as the possibilities. I feel much optimism and enthusiasm in having my writing adventure be guided by diunital discernings.
I will continue to refine the steps and style of my diunital dance with words and ideas; the lessons are infinite. Diunital thinking permits consideration of all points of view. So I invite you all to comment on what has been some of your favourite strategies for writing; as well as, for life choices in general.