Creative and higher-level thinking

Facebook and the Decline of Ideas By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, Aug. 14, 2011 http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/08/facebook-and-decline-ideas Neal Gabler writes today that we no longer care much about big, exciting ideas, the kind that we used to hear from Albert Einstein, Reinhold Niebuhr, Daniel Bell, Betty Friedan, Carl Sagan and Stephen Jay Gould. “We are living in an increasingly post-idea world — a world in which big, thought-provoking ideas that can’t instantly be monetized are of so little intrinsic value that fewer people are generating them and fewer outlets are disseminating them, the Internet notwithstanding. Bold ideas are almost passé.”

Conservative Politics, ‘Low-Effort’ Thinking Linked In New Study By David Freeman, The Huffington Post, 04/09/2012

New Evidence That Grandmothers Were Crucial for Human Evolution By Joseph Stromberg, smithsonian.com, October 23, 2012  …grandmothering helped us to develop “a whole array of social capacities that are then the foundation for the evolution of other distinctly human traits, including pair bonding, bigger brains, learning new skills and our tendency for cooperation.”… From an evolutionary perspective, it makes more sense for older females to increase the group’s overall offspring survival rate instead of spending more energy on producing their own.…the social relations that go along with grandmothering could have contributed to the larger brains and other traits that distinguish humans…“Grandmothering gave us the kind of upbringing that made us more dependent on each other socially and prone to engage each other’s attention.”...The theory is by no means definitive, but the new mathematical evidence serves as another crucial piece of support for it. This could help anthropologists better understand human evolution—and should give you another reason to go thank your grandmother.

Susan Jacoby on Secularism and Free Thinking, Moyers and Company, March 1, 2013

How Thinking Works: 10 Brilliant Cognitive Psychology Studies Everyone Should Know by Jeremy Dean, PsyBlog, January 2014 

Why We Need New Ways of Thinking by Barry Boyce, Shambhala Sun, September 2008 — The same old thing doesn’t work… because when it comes to complex, tough problems—global warming, food crises, civil war, terror, drugs, urban decay, persistent poverty—we have to go beyond the approaches that got us there in the first place…a loose but growing collection of thinkers, activists, academics, and social entrepreneurs who are searching for the “unthinkable”—the new ways that we can’t see because of our old ways of looking…they all firmly believe that the good old world we’ve come to know and love is coming apart at the seams. Systems of all kinds are breaking down and will continue to do so. In response, they champion ways of seeing and acting that acknowledge that the world is a chaotic, deeply interdependent place, a place that won’t yield to attempts to overpower it. We must come to understand, they argue, the nature of complexity, chaos, and interconnectedness—and to train ourselves in ways of acting that embrace this unmistakable reality.

Wisdom: The Forgotten Dimension?  by Mary Jaksch…Wis­dom means hav­ing the moral will to do right by other peo­ple, and to have the moral skill to fig­ure out what doing right means. This is not a new idea; it is some­thing that Aris­to­tle taught in ancient Greece…A wise per­son takes the overviewCom­pas­sion­ate action – the out­flow of wis­dom – hap­pens when we stop being the cen­ter of our concern. Then we can open up to a wider view of real­ity that includes the suf­fer­ing of oth­ers, as well as our own – and  respond with compassion.

Reclaim­ing Our Imag­i­na­tions from ‘There Is No Alter­na­tive by Andrea Brower, Jan­u­ary 25, 2013 by Com­mon Dreams We live in a time of heavy fog. A time when, though many of us dis­sent and resist, human­ity seems com­mit­ted to a course of col­lec­tive sui­cide in the name of pre­serv­ing an eco­nomic sys­tem that gen­er­ates scarcity no mat­ter how much is actu­ally pro­duced. To demand that all have enough to eat on a planet that grows enough food, that absurd num­bers of peo­ple do not die from pre­ventable dis­ease, that utter human depri­va­tion amongst plenty is not tol­er­ated, or that we put the nat­ural laws of the bios­phere above socially con­structed eco­nomic “laws” — is pre­sented as unre­al­is­tic, as the fan­tasy of ide­al­ists or those who are naive to the “com­plex­ity” of the world’s prob­lems. If we cre­ate and recre­ate the world every day, then how has it become so sup­pos­edly absurd to believe we might actu­ally cre­ate a world that is hon­estly mak­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ties of egal­i­tar­i­an­ism, jus­tice and democ­racy? Cap­i­tal­ism — the logic of sub­or­di­nat­ing every aspect of life to the accu­mu­la­tion of profit (i.e. the “rules of the mar­ket”) — has become today’s “com­mon sense.” It has become almost unthink­able to imag­ine coher­ent alter­na­tives to this logic, even when con­sid­er­ing the most basic of human needs — food, water, health­care, edu­ca­tion. Though many have an under­stand­ing of capitalism’s fail­ings, there is a res­ig­na­tion towards its inevitabil­ity…What sus­tains the tragic myth that There Is No Alter­na­tive? Those com­mit­ted to build­ing a more just future must begin re-thinking and reveal­ing the taken-for-granted assump­tions that make cap­i­tal­ism “com­mon sense,” and bring these into the realm of main­stream pub­lic debate in order to widen hori­zons of pos­si­bility…

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