Formatory thinking is such a big important subject I feel it is important to elaborate on it:
I was trying to find a good example of Formatory thinking, but was having a hard time because there are so many things to choose from it was a bit mind boggling. Then this Facebook post and dialog showed up and now I can show you a good example how Formatory thinking creates mind numbing sleep:
Original FB post: Maybe time doesn't exist at all as a quantifiable thing because apparently days/years/times are fleeting away so fast.
( OK, the first part of saying and using the term 'Maybe" is great, But then it goes into "because apparently days/years/times are fleeting away so fast" another version of the formatory expression, 'Time Flies'
Now the response could be: Saying that time doesn't exist is like saying "I traveled to work" doesn't exist. The word 'traveled' like time is a relative experience and is a verb not a noun. Technically a case that nothing exists, could be made about anything.
But now the next comment comes:
FB Commenter 1: It does not exist...it's mind made.
(Cute, but, don't be so sure. Even a case could be made that the mind is 'mind made," so where is the lesson here but still things are mostly OK, wait wait it's coming )
FB Commenter 2: yes, one craps his pants in the beginning and craps his pants in the end, the time between disappears...
( Here it is. I was just waiting for this. Funny, yet we have gone off the rails. Trying to decribe relativity in a down to Earth way like Einstien did, but it was more down to toilet, than Earth)
FB Commenter 3: absolutely correct... no such thing as time.
(So... absolute, either or thinking is Formatory thinking. The concept of "no such thing as time" defines time like rebellion is the opposite side of the coin of conformity. It is like believing in God or being and Atheist are both believing. One believes in God, the other believes in no God; as a third possiblity of 'not knowing' and simply not believing and being open to the the unknown and all of its possibilities is understanding shades of gray or even color.)
And here is the clincher statement:
FB Commenter4: oh no! I'll do what to my pants? Not me!!
(Again funny, yet it becomes a completely degenerated idea. This is how a potential truth becomes mind pablum.)
Now I am not making a federal case out of this dialogue and we all do this in some way or another. I am guilty of such bad jokes on many occasion, but this is just an example of something. In fact the foundation of intellectual comedy and puns are based on Formatory thinking, for example:
Florida- Who needs it, Venomous lizards, snakes, flying roaches, stinging bugs of all carnation, bears, wild boars, every kind of shark, alligators ... and that's just the politicians!
You see, it takes the formatory mind and makes a twist. We laugh because it reveals our formatory thinking and the instant conflict it induces. We have mind momentum from our conditioning like the expression: Roses are red violets are.....? What if we said violets are rutabagas?
So going back to the original Facebook post. It is not a big tragedy in and of itself, but it is a good example of what keeps us from seeing life in a new way, like Einstein and Leonardo and others went beyond Formatory thinking and yet we quote them in Formatory ways all of the time. It is what keeps us trapped in the 'Matrix' of our present reality.
The real problem is that people think that the way they are thinking is the only way to think and yet, they are in the box of their own mind. What is happening is that usually people take new idaes and try to fit them into their old way of thinking. But innovation comes only when you can actually think in new way.
By the way, Einstein himself did say the time is an illusion. He also went on to describe how it is relative and doesn't say it doesn't exist. But even if he did, just taking Einstein's quotes and not thinking about it for myself would be Formatory thinking. We must question everything from everything and anyone. Any knowledge is a place holder for greater knowledge and is not an absolute.
Some people make the mistake and think that contrary thinking (finding the exact opposite of some kind of statement or idea) is objective thinking. But it is actually Formatory thinking, black or white thinking, all dressed up in objective thinking clothing. Now sometimes finding the opposite of some idea is a good start to see a different point of view, but the next step is to see how both points can be true and see how they fit in the total picture of something.
The hardest part of changing Formatory thinking, is learning how to recognize it. In the Mindmavericks.org workshops, we have special brain games that teach you how to recognize Formatory thinking and how to think differently.