Paradoxes as Provocative Operations – Thinkibility Boost

counter paradox

In an earlier blog post about contradictions we stated that:

“paradoxical messages can seriously paralyze human relations and even lead to schizophrenic behavior. However, at the same time paradoxical communication can also be used to jolt someone out of his current mindset.

lateraal denken

Above we have symbolized “main stream thinking” or “current mindset” with the trajectory A->B. An alternative way of thinking is symbolized by trajectory A->C. The Provocative counter paradox is imaged as PO, or as a stepping stone outside the standard way of viewing things.

Some more examples of the latter, so called counter-paradoxes are:

  • Idea manager to an inventor: “Your idea is wonderful and perfect and cannot be improved, now, let’s explore it”.
  • Employee to his boss: “You’re right, solutions are there for immediate success and long-term problems”.
  • Therapist to a patient: ” It is not your fault that you are now deeply in problems, how did you organized for that?”
  • Debater: “Is this fact yours or mine?”
  • Consultant: “Yes, indeed, it is very important that we centrally administer the process of decentralization “.
  • Boss to an employee: “Listen, in this company I give the orders, and you execute them. “Employee: “Ok,  who begins?”.
  • Consultant to an entrepreneur: ” You perseveres that there is no solution to your problem, however I do know the solution, but will not reveal it to you”.
  • Evaluation Quality of Universities committee: ” Professors who don’t lecture and don’t publicize must be brilliant”.
  • A Human Resource Consultant: “Let’s have a masked ball. Everyone will attend as him or herself.
  • Consultant: “The board hired me for help.  I have listened to all your discussions about the problem of the company. However, since you have the problem of not achieving a description of the problem, I can’t help you with your problem”
  • Psychologist to a woman who never was able to say “no”: “Please, say “no” to me”.
  • Teacher: “Can you here me in the back of the class?”. Pupil: ” Yes, but it is not disturbing”.
  • ” What you’re saying is so untrue that even the opposite must be false”.
  • ” If you confess you are wrong, I will agree with you”.
  • “Don’t be so difficult! I want to know any difficulties immediately”.
  • “I urge you not to follow-up my advise”.
  • Professor to his students: “Don’t believe me, I am an academic crook”.
  • Provide that it is brought by humor, counter-paradoxes could provoke suddenly magical shifts in behaviour and attitude.


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