Distinguishing Analytic, Dialectic and Crealectic Thinking in The Context of Philosophical Care

In the context of my philosophical counseling practice at the Philosophical Parlour (Stockholm, Sweden), I have introduced the practical notion of “crealectic intelligence”, a meta-analytic and meta-dialectic understanding of our being in the world. 

Analytic forms of intelligence were certainly a major step in human evolution. Some eighteen centuries ago, in his account of Aristotle’s Analytics, Alexander of Aphrodisias wrote that the one who “uses analysis […] reduces composite bodies into simple bodies” (c.200 CE, 49, §2.4), thus separating an unknown into parts that are known (Arnauld & Nicole, 1996, p. 200).  Analysis is a moment of distinctive literacy facilitating communication and the effectual manipulation of the Real. If an intentional consciousness is not able to distinguish discrete parts in the world by reading them as potential text or protocol, it might remain dreamy or confused (Craig, 1984, p. 41). Shared intelligence needs an analytic moment in order for agents to communicate their rational reading of a given situation.

Once we start disagreeing with a given analysis or simply debating aspects of it, we are adding a dialectic dimension, which I argue functions as a bridge between analytics and crealectics (or “hyper-dialectics”, Merleau-Ponty, 1968). Since Plato, dialectic intelligence designates an interpretative conversation in which there is a more or less rational tension between different or agonistic perspectives (from dialegesthai: to talk through). Dialectics is “the progression of thought through the appearance of oppositions within one and the same unity” (Bloch, 1983, p. 288). This form of thinking can be performed between different subjects or within the same personal mind, as in Socrates’s inner dialoguewith his guardian divinity, his daimonion (McMahon, 2013, p. 40), or as in Descartes’ cogito, which can be defined as the human capacity for an internal individual dialectics, a form of consciousness that is capable of self-contradiction or self-examination. In Hegel’s grandiose variant, dialectic intelligence described the ubiquitous and necessary unfolding of a time-dependent yet absolute process of negations and performative contradictions towards the realisation of Spirit or Mind.

The dialectic stage of understanding is necessary to transform a reading of signs into a deliberative interpretation that encompasses real or apparent contradictions. However, this moment of intelligence is not sufficient to act healthfully and sustainably upon the world because the synthesis it proposes can be contested and, by definition, negated anew, endlessly. Moreover, dialectics tends to fall into binary dichotomies, which are themselves cognitive reductions, even if they seem to introduce more complexity than analytic intelligence (Elbow, 1993). For example, the two categories of disease and normal health are oblivious of possible alternative mental or physical states that are neither normal nor unhealthy (Canguilhem, 1991, p. 97). The human phenomenon of psychological resilience is neither pathological nor normal: it is a “novelty”, a manifestation of crealectic intelligence (de Miranda, 2019).

Analytic and dialectic intelligences cannot exhaust our experience of meaningful social agency. Social reality is polysemantic and implies a multiplicity of decisions, beliefs and acts in which the very factualization of data, the attribution of a syntax to a given reality, is itself already filtered by creative and active imagination and an embodied perspective. I call “crealectic” cosmologically- and socially engaged form of consciousness that is aware of acting upon a world of multiplicity and possibility, with the ideal of co-creation in mind. Crealectics deals with processing realities and imaginaries of novelty, plurality and ambiguity, rather than mere contradiction of binary polarities or operations of known bits; its ontological core is the idea of co-creation and compossibility based on a dynamic principle of infinite possibility (Bergson, 1922; Whitehead, 1929; Deleuze & Guattari, 1994, de Miranda, 2017).

The aim of my philosophical counseling practice is to curate a balanced analytical-dialectical-crealectical subject, a cosmopolitical, ambitious and joyfully creative citizen-thinker who cares to take holistic decisions towards a philosophically- and collectively healthier way of life.


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