How To Provoke Thought

I was just chatting with a friend of mine on Gtalk, when they asked me to write another one of my posts that make a person think.

So me being in the mood, that got me thinking, what is it that makes people think? In other words, how do you provoke thought?

I mean, for me and for a lot of other people, when you write something, you post a photograph you’ve taken, you quote somebody, …etc; your absolute goal is mostly to get people to think about a certain something, and maybe even eventually get to a certain destination you had in mind.
Sometimes you help guide them into the thought you’re trying to pass on and that you want them to carry on with, and sometimes you leave it open for them to interpret and think as they wish.

But generally speaking, what is it that triggers that thinking process for the person that is consuming what you’ve just published?
In short, are there any universally applicable guidelines to provoke thought?

Here are some of my thoughts and ideas on ways thought can be provoked:

– Get to know the crowd you’re talking to and pick a topic they’re already pretty interested in.
– Present the issue in a way that exposes all the important and necessary points but still leaves a number of open questions for the people to ponder on.
– Cast doubt on a subject that most people already take for granted, making them go back and reconsider what they thought they already knew.
– Show how important the point is and how they’re directly touched and involved in it.
– Don’t make it feel like you’re just handing out hard information, but rather like initial pointers for a discussion.
– One of the easier ways is to somehow get into a debate that touches upon existentialism.
– One of the harder ways is to come up with a different point of view on a subject that’s rarely discussed and expose it for people to ponder.
– Ask questions. There’s nothing easier to make someone think than actually asking them to.

I’m sure there are many other ways and approaches that I haven’t mentionned here. Please do feel free to share your thoughts and ideas, what you think about all this, and what makes you think.

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