From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

December 2021
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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
information               for    understanding
content                     for    skill
acquiring knowledge for    retention of knowledge
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.

2 Responses to “Thinking About Thinking. Ethical and Cultural Dimension”

  1. site admin Says:

    Notes from Burmeister and Tierney:

    Willpower 101: your supply of willpower is limited
    and you use the same resource for many different
    things. Each day you may start with your stock of
    willpower fresh and renewed. But then all day
    things chip and nibble away at it., the complexity
    of modern life makes it difficult to keep in mind
    that all these seemingly unrelated chores and
    demands draw upon the/ same account inside of

    This depletion isn’t intuitively obvious, especially
    when it comes to appreciating the impact of making
    a decision. Even hypothetical decisions deplete
    energy. After making some tough decisions,
    remember that your self-control is going to be
    What matters is the exertion, not the outcome.

    If you struggle with temptation and then give in,
    your are still depleted because you struggled…
    Giving in does not replenish the will power you
    have expended. It limits more use. You can even
    use up will power by partaking in indulgences that
    don’t appeal to you.
    Forcing yourself to do something you don’t
    really want to do at the moment will leave you
    with less willpower.

    Watch yourself for subtle easily misinterpreted signs:
      a- Reluctance to do things
      b- Frustrations will bother you more
      c- Prone to say things you will regret.
      d- Try to compensate by assigning extra weight to
    long range consequences of the decision
      e- Articulate your reasons for your decision and
    consider whether they make sense.
      f- Fairness and balanced judgment suffers.

    The next time you find yourself struggling with a
    routine decision that is what a shortage of glucose
    can do… Eat some healthy food.
  2. site admin Says:

    Earlier entries on thinking:

    Levy Flights in hard time searches   552  7-20-10

    Match personal values 646 6-12-11
    do a personal assessment
    what are the corporate values of interested employers

    System’s thinking 649 6-17-11
    Stenge 5th Discipline
    the nature of thinking perspectives

    Half life of technical skills 654 7-1-11
    typically <10 years
    non use leads to losing it
    need to prepare for the next technology generation
    demographic realities

    Problem solving              661  7-22-11
    ask the right questions, phrase questions well
    computational thinking and models
    lateral thinking in problem solving
    TRZ and mind mapping.

    Trial and error in scientific thinking  668  8-16-11
    Tim Harford Adapt
     learn from failure
       try new things
       fail quickly
       classes of errors:  slips, violations, mistakes

    Problem solving                693   10-30-11
      using networks to solve problems
      crowd sourcing

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