mousemusings...multimedia, music, progressive politics, video, web design and general rants
Human beings will be happier - not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That's my utopia.
~Kurt Vonnegut
Friday, January 28, 2005

The Sweet Revenge of Human Instinct

I have had this blog 5 years and have never had anyone personally attack me. I really had no idea passions ran so high when it came down to differences between men and women. I think what particularly hit me hard, besides my own personal issues with math in general, was the fact that all who sent emails attacking me were women (or at least they signed their emails as such) and they all claimed to be liberal. I was pretty comfortable identifying with both women and progressives but now I feel again as if it's up to me alone to invent my own self, just as I wrote in the poem below. I may or may not feel comfortable sharing myself anymore. I suppose time will sort that out.

Regardless, I won't shut up. This is my blog and it will be whatever voice I put to it, or not.

I have always found thinking processes fascinating, whether it be male/female, conservative/liberal, linear/nonlinear or left/right brain.
Dave Pollard and I worked a bit with Right/Left Brain Workflow Management Styles. It seems to work well.

I am right-brained, though not so much so that I can't muddle my way through sequential, reductive, computational work, but I will say I was delighted to find this article in Wired today; Revenge of the Right Brain, describing the move from the Technological Age to the Conceptual Age.
Until recently, the abilities that led to success in school, work, and business were characteristic of the left hemisphere. They were the sorts of linear, logical, analytical talents measured by SATs and deployed by CPAs. Today, those capabilities are still necessary. But they're no longer sufficient. In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere - artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.

The article goes on to explain the causes for the shift: Asia, automation, and abundance.

"As the forces of Asia, automation, and abundance strengthen and accelerate, the curtain is rising on a new era, the Conceptual Age. If the Industrial Age was built on people's backs, and the Information Age on people's left hemispheres, the Conceptual Age is being built on people's right hemispheres. We've progressed from a society of farmers to a society of factory workers to a society of knowledge workers. And now we're progressing yet again - to a society of creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers, and meaning makers."

High Concept, High Touch
If the policies of this current administration don't drive us to extinction first, I can have fun in the Conceptual Age.
To flourish in this age, we'll need to supplement our well-developed high tech abilities with aptitudes that are "high concept" and "high touch." High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to come up with inventions the world didn't know it was missing. High touch involves the capacity to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one's self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.

Developing these high concept, high touch abilities won't be easy for everyone. For some, the prospect seems unattainable. Fear not (or at least fear less). The sorts of abilities that now matter most are fundamentally human attributes. After all, back on the savannah, our caveperson ancestors weren't plugging numbers into spreadsheets or debugging code. But they were telling stories, demonstrating empathy, and designing innovations. These abilities have always been part of what it means to be human. It's just that after a few generations in the Information Age, many of our high concept, high touch muscles have atrophied. The challenge is to work them back into shape.

Instinct baby! Intuition. So simple. No math.
posted by Cyndy | link | | |


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