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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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12/26/11
Thinking About Thinking. Ethical and Cultural Dimension
Filed under: First Year on Job, Leadership, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin @ 11:39 am

This seventh post on thinking about thinking takes
inspiration from Pier Forni’s book “The Thinking
Life:  How to thrive in the age of distraction
.”

Thinking is essential to humans and our survival.
In our Internet age various devices keep us
wirelessly and asynchronously connected to
everyone and many we did not choose to be
connected to.  Forni outlines the urgency to
develop and place good thinking habits as
a priority.  Good thinking makes having thought,
having thought leads to a wider range of viable
choices;  Good choices offer the chance for good
decisions that lead to a good life that lead to
happiness. [paraphrased].

Our use of various devices and games distracts
us from focus is based on our human tendency to
enjoy the easier entertainment forms that
substitute
information               for    understanding
content                     for    skill
acquiring knowledge for    retention of knowledge
and
internet search           for    thinking, an activity of who we are.

Historically this is not the first time such human
behaviors were criticized when former habits
became diluted by innovations.
1-Plato and Socrates railed against writing which
replaced memorization.
2-The movable type was attacked as the printed
word of many items transformed mental into
textual forms.
3-The Internet and proliferation of visual information
in digital media.  This is because we must have
the tool ready when we need it.

Thinking is hard work and takes energy and
seems counter cultural.  In fact, a better balance
and judgement of use is called for.  Forni offers
we should think a lot, be aware of the needs of
others and care for others.  In this sense, there
is personal civility component as we give full
attention to people.

Burmeister and Tierney’s book Willpower offers
suggestions on how to make personal progress
on the exercise of thinking.  See more in the comments.

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