Many of the problems we face today are the outcome of the malpractice of thinking. Complex issues are aggravated by inadequate approaches and assumptions. The failure to address them effectively is often rooted in oversimplification, in our tendency to outline sharp boundaries, separate objects from backgrounds, ’us’ from ‘them’. Even the mantra ‘thinking outside the box’ only seems to work when it affirms our deeply rooted worldviews.
To address the formidable challenges of our times, ordinary intelligence is not sufficient. Therefore, key influencers, leaders and managers, intellectuals and artists, politicians and activists, entrepreneurs and philanthropists, need to bring the quality of their individual thinking to the top of their priorities. Extraordinary intelligence must become a new norm, both for individuals and groups. The practice of thinking is too impactful, its consequences too potent, that we can’t afford to not continuously advance our minds. For exactly this purpose, the School of Thinking was launched in 2019.
The School of Thinking is a transdisciplinary, postgraduate academic program hosted by the Center Leo Apostel (CLEA) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. It serves as a meeting place and source of inspiration for students from all professions and walks of life. Its disciplined yet open-ended, experimental program is an intense workout for the intellect. The school is devoted to expanding our understanding and improving the practice of thinking, offering students a place to rediscover the joy of doubt and wonder. Its program wants to learn students how to mobilise and apply intelligence that continuously exceeds its own limits. Deploying an innovative combination of mobilization methods, the School of Thinking offers cognitive strategies, practices, and habits that are the marks of exceptional thinkers. Wicked, complex or unprecedented problems are part of its everyday agenda.
In January 2022, the School of Thinking launched its first book ‘The Practice of Thinking’ aimed at ‘cultivating the extraordinary’. Co-authored by a group of School of Thinking instructors and students, this compendium collects some of the many points of view exchanged between instructors and students since the program started. The reader will find a variety of inspiring, interdisciplinary research articles and discussions that took place in the school over the years. ‘The Practice of Thinking’ invites the public to join the School of Thinking students in their endeavour to thrive in a complex world. For those who didn’t follow the program (yet), it offers a rare peek into a lively academic project committed to taking seriously the 'Sapiens' in 'Homo Sapiens'.
You can order ‘The Practice of Thinking’ online at Academia Press or at your local bookstore.
If you want to sharpen your thinking even more, you can still apply for the fourth edition of the School of Thinking. Dubbed ‘Year Epsilon’ (*) the new academic program will retain the instructors, ideas and formats that provoked interest in the school’s previous years. It is conducted entirely in English and takes one academic year (October 2022 – June 2023) to accomplish. To make the School of Thinking more accessible to students living outside Brussels, its new format combines interactive online seminars with experiential on-campus workshops and individual tutoring.
Do you want to deal with complexity (better)? Do you think that the quality of our thinking is a game-changer to create a sane and abundant future? Are you looking for a toolkit for progressive, cutting-edge methods and frameworks of thinking? Join the School of Thinking! Go to ‘Admissions’ to apply and check the outline of the 2022/23 program here.
(*) Even though the 2021/2022 cohort is referred to as ‘Delta Year’, ‘Epsilon’ is (hopefully) not a codename for a yet undiscovered variant of Covid. The Greek letters used as names for the consecutive pupil groups of the School of Thinking are following a certain aphorism. What aphorism? Stay tuned, as it will literally take years to unravel :-).
The Practice of Thinking - publication details
Editors: Marta Lenartowicz and Weaver D.R. Weinbaum
Number of pages: 581
Publication date: 07/01/2022
Publisher: Academia Press
Edition number: 1