Synchronic Thinking: Definition, Characteristics, and Examples

Synchronic Thinking – Many of us live life in the abstract. The abstract meant here is as long as we go through life without care and without any encouragement to learn about the nature of our life on this earth, even though if we practice synchronous thinking there will be many things we can find there.

We will find lots of meaningful life lessons. One way is to learn about past history. History of the past is not always talking about history in its true sense. However, learning about patterns, events, and so on.

Thanks to synchronous thinking, those of us who are currently experiencing the Covid-19 pandemic can overcome it more quickly. Within two years, Covid-19 began to subside, even though in ancient times deadly pandemics like Covid-19 had occurred and both killed hundreds of millions of victims. At that time, the pandemic time could have been longer than now.

In other words, the speed of processing and the world’s handling of this pandemic (pandemic) is due to the benefits of synchronic thinking. So, what is meant by synchronous thinking? You can see the following review.

Understanding the Concept of Synchronic Thinking

Linguistically synchronic thinking is taken from the Greek, which is taken from the word syn which means “with”, and is taken from the word chronos which can be interpreted as “time”. Meanwhile, synchronic thinking in general can be interpreted as a method of thinking about the past based on a coherent analysis.

Synchronic thinking can also be interpreted as a way of thinking that emphasizes the depiction of a wider space, but is not focused on the time dimension. In general, the concept of synchronous thinking is a science that is often used in branches of science, politics, history, economics, anthropology, to social sciences.

Simply put, synchronic thinking is a method of developing events that happened in the past. Actually, synchronic thinking can also be regarded as a method of analysis of something that happened in the past. With this synchronic thinking method, it can be said that the analysis carried out will be dissected coherently. Coherently here are every aspect that can relate to events that occurred in the past. Because, every event must have many things related.

An example is the incident on August 17, 1945. This event alone can be analyzed starting from the scene, the characters in it, the impact that occurred from the event, and various other things. From this one example it can also be concluded that synchronic thinking can indeed make an event in the past be analyzed broadly.

Moreover, this synchronic approach is mostly used in social sciences. Any analysis performed using a synchronous approach will remain centered on the same point in time. However, there are several things that are extended from each of the past events that are being analyzed.

In addition, the analysis using the synchronous approach method also does not attempt to make a conclusion about something that has happened in the past. However, the synchronic approach only seeks to carry out an analysis of something that has happened in the past.

With these two meanings, synchronic if summed up as a whole means narrowing in time, but expanding in space. Of course, if you look at the previous example, the meaning of narrowing in time, but expanding or widening in space will be easier to understand.

The Meaning of Synchronic Thinking

If you already know the explanation related to the concept of understanding synchronic thinking, it’s incomplete if you don’t discuss the meaning of the synchronic thinking approach to an incident that happened in the past.

In general, the meaning of a synchronous thinking approach to an event or events that occurred in the past is to see the actual aspects that influenced or were influenced by an event that occurred in the past.

As previously explained, if every event or event in the past is analyzed with a synchronous thinking approach, it will still focus on one particular time. However, even though it focuses on one time, the incident can still be dissected broadly, starting from who was affected by the incident, what influenced the incident, what was in it, and various other things.

It turns out that, if you understand it more deeply, synchronic thinking is actually very important. With the synchronous thinking approach, every event that has occurred in the past can be shown in thorough detail. In addition, the events that have been analyzed can also be used as current learning methods.

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Purpose of Synchronic Thinking

We live in the present well thanks to the past. The past or history is here to invite us to improve, evaluate, and improve the system to be better. The purpose of synchronic thinking is none other than to study the past (history) by seeing what happened in the past and learning many things from the events that have happened.

In simple terms, synchronic thinking aims to think evaluatively and critically. If there is something good from past events, it can be applied to the present. Conversely, if past events are lacking, they need to be analyzed and corrected so that they are used appropriately at this time.

The purpose of synchronic thinking is that we learn the patterns that occur. For example, once there was an outbreak of bird flu, influenza, malaria, and so on. After all this time, a similar case emerged, namely the corona virus. The form of activity or event is different, but the pattern is the same.

How to Think Synchronically

We have basically learned how to think synchronically since we were in elementary school. Then studied also in junior high school or even high school. Those who major in journalism will also be taught to think in sync. The method used is 5W + 1H or What, Who, When, Why, Where, and How.

However, in order to better understand some of the ways needed in the synchronous thinking approach, we will explain again in the paragraphs below which will help make it easier for you to do an analysis of past events with a synchronous thinking approach.

1. What

Synchronic thinking can be started from the question ” what ?”. So, we have to know what happened in the past? Because the context refers to the past, the form of the question refers to an event that has occurred in the past. Because there were so many events that happened in the past, we have to determine just one scope or one focus. The goal is to be able to dive more easily.

2. Who

The word who means who, refers to anyone who took part in past events. People who are involved in this will later be analyzed, because they are important figures who exert influence.

3. When

Meanwhile, the word when means when. Refer to time information. Whether it’s the time of the event or the time the important event occurred. Without knowing what time it is, it’s difficult to carry out a synchronous thought process.

4. Why

The word why directs us to find the reason why the incident happened? These reasons will determine the analysis to be used. The word why also refers to the aspects that influence events to occur.

5. Whares

The word where means where the location / place where the incident occurred. This clue to the location of the incident will also assist in the analysis process.

6. How

While the question word how is more intended to find out how the event happened. So, focus more on the method, methodology or sequence/chronology of the story that happened.

After seeing the synchronic way of thinking, it is not difficult. We can start by simply asking the 5W and 1H questions. With the help of the 5W+1H, of course, the process of analyzing past events with a synchronous thinking approach will also be easier to do.

Synchronic Thinking Characteristics

After knowing synchronic thinking, goals and ways of synchronic thinking, there are characteristics of synchronic thinking. You can see as follows.

1. Examining Historical Events that Occurred in the Past

The most prominent feature of synchronic thinking is that it will generally focus on examining historical events. Something that talks about history, is definitely talking about the past. The past referred to here is not the pantan’s past, but past state, international or national events that have the public benefit.

2. Emphasizes Event Studies on Patterns, Symptoms, and Characters

If you pay attention, the characteristics of synchronic thinking can also be seen from the studies raised. The average events raised are analyzing patterns, characters and symptoms that occurred at that time, which can be used as lessons and evaluations for developments in the current era.

3. Horizontal

Synchronic thinking is also horizontal, because it talks about something that has happened in the past.

4. No Comparison Concept

As for another characteristic of synchronous thinking, when analyzing it, there is no concept of comparison. The point is just studying cause and effect, without intending to collide with the same event or something like that.

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5. Narrower Study Coverage

In terms of scope and scope, synchronous thinking has a narrower study. Narrow study does not mean it is not good, this is just one attempt to narrow and focus the analysis that occurred at that time.

6. The study is very systematic

The sixth characteristic, synchronic thinking is carried out systematically. Where the study is really carried out carefully, thoroughly and orderly. Especially when it comes to history. Where every historical event has a series of times and events.

7. The nature of the study is more serious and in-depth

The characteristics of synchronic thinking can also be seen from its nature. So the nature of the study conducted is in-depth and serious. So the study really wants to find out, and find solutions. Not for games or fad. Moreover, this study is about history. Where every history must have a story and a monumental impression.

Those are some characteristics of synchronous thinking. Hopefully, writing down some of the characteristics above will provide understanding and knowledge about synchronous thinking.

Synchronic Thinking Examples

An example of synchronic thinking can actually be seen from the example below. Which tells of past cases about pandemics that turned out to have happened long ago. It’s just that the shape of the virus is different.

First example:

  • In 430 BC, at that time the Peloponnesian war was going on. The war that took place between the ancient Greek cities of Athens and Sparta. Again hit by a pandemic for four years. A third of Athens’ citizens and military died on the seventh or eighth day. The virus is influenza A subtype H1N1, which was later declared a pandemic for 4 years.
  • In 1918, at the beginning of March, the so-called Spanish flu emerged. The Spanish flu completely disappeared in June 1920. The US soldiers arrived in Europe for war, and when they got there they caught this Spanish flu. In no time, the soldiers fell ill. This virus apparently spread to the Arctic and Pacific islands. The number who died was not half-hearted, an estimated 50-100 million people worldwide. That’s why the Spanish virus was declared a pandemic.

From the two stories above, which took place in different years and different types of viruses, the post-pandemic era is also different. And now in 2020 there is another pandemic which we know as Covid-19. Thanks to past patterns, there is an advantage that can be learned in the present era, namely the speed of making vaccines. In the past, creating a vaccine took a long time. Now, less than a year, a vaccine can be created and reduce the rate of victims. This is the benefit and importance of historical synchronic thinking.

Although previously explained based on the example above, so that you can understand more in learning synchronic concepts, we provide another example. Quoted from the official Kompas page , here is an example of a synchronous thinking approach to past events.

Second example:

Judging from an event in 1950 to 1959 even though Indonesia was already independent. However, Indonesia’s economic situation can be said to be in a bad condition, where the bad economic condition is influenced by several aspects such as.

  • Agricultural products are the mainstay of export activities carried out by Indonesia.
  • The round table conference determined that Indonesia must bear the economic and financial burden.
  • At that time, the deficit that had to be borne by Indonesia was around Rp. 5.1 billion.
  • The Dutch government did not pass down enough values ​​to transform the colonial economic system into a national economic system.
  • The unstable domestic political situation made it easier for unplanned spending to occur.
  • The existing security in the country is not so profitable.
  • Domestic growth was so great at that time.

From the example questions or cases, an economic event that occurred in Indonesia from 1950 to 1959 can be analyzed using a synchronic thinking approach. Of course the results of the analysis carried out will be so easy to help in today’s life.


Those are some reviews about synchronous thinking. Hopefully this little discussion is useful for all of you. From all the explanations above, it can be concluded that synchronic thinking is always focused on past events with a predetermined time. Even though the time has been determined, the analysis with a synchronous thinking approach can be widened according to the aspects that influence the events that occur.

Starting from the aspects that influenced the occurrence of the incident to the aspects that were affected after the incident. Synchronic thinking also has characteristics that you can read in the previous explanation.

In addition, to simplify the process of synchronous thinking approaches to past events, you can use the 5W + 1H method. That way the results of the analysis with a synchronic approach will be more complete.

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