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Posted on October 6, 2009 at 11:48 AM

Who knew that “The Ministry of Silly Walks” and other such absurdities could actually strengthen our brains? Yes, it’s true. Nonsense is good for your noggin.

But it isn’t just the absurd, but the out of place, the “something that is off” sensor that is tripped in your brain, including a whole range of things from the inane (simple changing of patterns) to the insane (seeing a jackalope, perhaps?) that jars the brain from its normal routine into an entirely new way of thinking, says new research discussed today in the NYT.

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So why does this matter? It suggests a number of things about the way in which our world ought to be structured if we want our brains to continue riding along the normal neurological highway, producing the same kind of thinking and solutions (or lack thereof to problems). But if in fact we want to jolt our brains into entirely new ways of thinking for the purposes of creative thinking, writing or other endeavors, that is, according to this research, more possible than we believed before. It is, in fact, the notion that putting one’s self into a situation where they may encounter the absurd or unusual or simply non-patterned ways of thinking may in fact lead to new ways of seeing the world that is in fact rather revolutionary.

Creativity may follow disorientation. New ideas may follow chaos. Perhaps this should mean that Monty Python should be required viewing for all budding artists, writers, or anyone stuck in a rut?

Summer Johnson, PhD

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