December 22, 2008

Five minds for the future

A good insightful book - I recommend this book.

Initial cases of the importance of 5 minds are:
  1. Individuals without one or more discipline will not be able to succeed at any demanding workplace and will be restricted to menial tasks.

  2. Individuals without synthesizing capabilities will be overwhelmed by information and unable to make judicious decisions about personal or professional matters.

  3. Individuals without creating capacities will be replaced by computers and will drive away those who do have the creative spark.

  4. Individuals without respect will not be worthy of respect by others and will poison the workplace and commons

  5. Individuals without ethics will yield a world devoid of decent workers and responsible citizens; none of us will want to live on that desolate planet.
In a typical paradigm, college students is asked to elucidate a discovery or phenomenon with which she/he is not familiar but which lends itself to explanation in terms of a concept or theory that has been already studied. The results are surprising, consistent and disheartening. Most students (from best schools also), are not able to explain the theory about which they are being questioned. Even more alarmingly many give precisely the same answer as those who have never taken the relevant courses and have presumably never encountered the concepts relevant to a proper explanation.

The disciplined mind has mastered at least one way of thinking - a distinctive mode of cognition that characterizes a specific scholarly discipline, craft or profession.

Synthesizing mind takes information from disparate sources understands and evaluates that information objectively. and puts it together in ways that makes sense to the synthesizer and also to other persons.

Building on discipline and synthesis, the creating mind breaks new ground. It puts forth new ideas, poses unfamiliar questions, conjures up fresh ways of thinking, and arrives at unexpected answer.

Respectful mind notes and welcomes differences between human individuals and between human groups, tries to understand these 'others' and seeks to work effectively with them.

Ethical mind ponders the nature of one's work and needs and desires of the society in which one lives. This mind conceptualizes how workers can serve purposes beyond self-interest and how citizens can work unselfishly to improve the lot of all.

Five minds make use of our several intelligence.

Major creative breakthroughs are relatively rare in accounting, engineering, medical or law. Increasingly however, rewards accrue to those who fashion small but significant changes in professional practice.

Before the invention of printing press, when books were scarce, it was vital for individuals to cultivate a faithful and capacious verbal memory. Now, ability to survey huge bodies of information – print & electronic – and to organize that information is useful ways looms more important than ever.

Winston Churchill – The empires of the future will be empires of the mind.

Current globalization trend –

The movement of capital and other market instruments around the globe; with huge amounts circulating virtually instantaneously each day.

The movement of human beings across borders, 100 million immigrants at any one time around the world

The movement of info through cyberspace

The movement of popular culture (clothing, Food) across borders; even seamlessly across borders so that teenagers the world over look increasingly similar, even as the tastes, beliefs, and values of their elders may also converge.

Unlike science, technology did not have to wait on the specific discoveries, concepts, and mathematical equations of the past 500 years. Indeed that is precisely why in many respects the China of 1500 seemed more advanced than its European or Middle Eastern counterparts. Those societies that lack science must either remain deprived of technological innovations or simply copy them from societies that have developed them.

Niels Bohr – There are two kinds of truth, deep truth and shallow truth and the function of Science is to eliminate the deep truth.

Subject matter expert and discipline.

Most students in schools are studying subject matter. By & large hey are examined on this information (Alan Bennett's play – the history boys').

Discipline constitutes a distinctive way of thinking about the world.

4 steps needed

  1. Identify truly important topics or concepts within the discipline.
  2. Spend significant time on this topics (if it is worth studying, it is worth studying deeply, over a significant period of time, using a variety of examples and modes of analysis.
  3. Approach the topic in a number of ways.
  4. Most important, set up 'performances of understanding' and give students ample opportunities to perform their understandings under a variety of conditions.
Rubinstein – When I don't practice for a day, I know. When I don't practice for two days, the orchestra knows it. And when I don't practice for three days, the world knows."

The amount of accumulated knowledge is reportedly doubling every two or three years (wisdom presumably accrues more slowly!)

  1. Narratives – The synthesizer puts material together into a coherent narrative.
  2. Taxonomies – Materials are ordered in terms of salient characteristics
  3. Complex concepts – A newly stipulated concept can tie together or blend a range of phenomena
  4. Rules and aphorisms – Much of folks wisdom is captured and conveyed by short phrases, designed to be memorable and widely applicable. (Think first and act second)
  5. Powerful metaphors, images and themes – Individuals may bring concepts to life by invoking metaphors. Metaphors may be presented graphically or verbally
  6. Embodiments without words – Powerful syntheses can also be embodied in works of art.
  7. Theories – Concepts can be amalgamated into a theory.
  8. Metatheory – It is possible to propose an overall framework for knowledge, as well as 'theory of theories'.
Synthesis needs the following steps.

  1. Goal - a statement or conception of what the synthesizer is trying to achieve
  2. A starting –point – an idea image or indeed any previous work on which to build.
  3. Selection of strategy, method and approach
  4. Draft and feedback.
Book is highly recommended.

1. Synthesis – HBR by the same author

2. A short history of nearly everything – Bill Bryson (500 pages of richly documented on what science has discovered about the physical and human worlds)

3. Ken Wilber – A brief history of everything (high caliber book from a most synthesizer at work in English language)

Synthesize giants – Aristotle & Leonardo who has at least a rough grasp of the full panorama of knowledge. (the 19th century English educator, scholar & poet Matthew Arnold has been nominated as the last individual who could be said to have mastered all exact knowledge – to have known everything worth knowing)

In most human societies, throughout most human history, creativity was neither sought after nor rewarded. We are stunned by the achievements of ancient Egyptian society but conveniently forget that the society evolved at a glacial pace. We honor innovation scientist like Galilee Galileo, but need to be reminded that Galileo was denounced and imprisoned and that Giordano Bruno, his scientific forefather, was burned at the stake. Neither Johann Sebastian Bach, nor Vincent van Gogh nor George Mendel received much appreciation during their lifetimes.

I create ; therefore I am.

Creativity is the occasional emergent from the interaction of three autonomous elements

  1. The individual who has mastered some discipline or domain of practice and is steadily issuing variations in that domain
  2. The cultural domain in which an individual is working with its models, prescriptions, and proscriptions.
  3. The social field – those individuals and institutions tat provide access to relevant educational experience as well as opportunities to perform.
When a person consistently acts disrespectfully toward others, that person should be called to account. And should disrespect persist and deteriorate into frankly antisocial behaviors, that person should be ostracized from society.

Mahatma Gandhi kept reaching out to Hitler; the Indian leader wrote a letter to Hitler, addressed "Dear friend", calling on him to change his tactics and promising him forgiveness in return:. In turn, Hitler remarked" Shoot, Gandhi and if that does not suffice to reduce them to submission, shoot a dozen leading members of congress (Gandhi's political party)"

4 x M as signposts towards the achievements of good work

  1. Mission
  2. Models
  3. Mirror test – individual version
  4. Mirror test – professional responsibility
Disciplined Mind
  • Formal education – mastering of history, math, science, and other key subjective;completing professional training.
  • Place of work – continuing mastery of one's profession
  • Period of development. Begins before adolescence
  • Pseudo forms – Asserting of mastery without a decade or so of practice.

Synthesizing Mind

  • Formal education – preparing for assignments and tests in school by organizing material sin ways that are helpful to self and ഒതെര്സ്.
  • Place of work – Recognizing new info/skills that are important and then incorporating them into one's knowledge base.
  • Period of development – Starts in childhood, under the best of circumstances
  • Pseudo forms – Selecting materials in a haphazard way.

Creating Mind

  • Formal education – Going beyond class requirements to pose new questions
  • Place of work – Thinking outside the box
  • Period of development – robust personality begins to develop early
  • Pseudo forms – Offering apparent innovations that are either superficial variations of long-existing knowledge.

Respectful Mind

  • Formal education – Seeking to understand and work effectively with peers, teachers., and staff
  • Place of work – Working effectively with peers supervisors and employees, irrespective of their backgrounds
  • Period of development – Supportive eng. Should be present from birth
  • Pseudo form – Exhibiting mere tolerance, without any effort to understand or work smoothly with others.
Ethical Mind

  • Formal education – Reflecting on one's role as a student or as a future professional and attempting to fulfill that role appropriately and responsibly.
  • Place of work – Knowing the core values of on'e profession and seeking to maintain them and pass them on.
  • Period of development – Awaits the time where an individual can think conceptually
  • Pseudo form – Expounding a good responsible line but failing to embody that course in one's own actions.

Here are 4 comments about timing.

  1. Respect – From the beginning one must begin by creating a respectful atmosphere toward ഒതെര്സ്.
  2. Discipline – Once one has become literate, by the end of the elementary years, the time is at hand for the acquisition of the major scholarly ways of thinking
  3. Synthesis – Equipped with major disciplinary ways of thinking, the student is poised to make judicious kinds of syntheses and as appropriate to engage in interdisciplinary thinking
  4. Ethics – During the years of secondary school and college, one becomes capable of abstract, distanced thinking. One can now conceptualize the world of work and responsibilities of the citizen and acts on those conceptualizations.

Tx n Rd

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