My brain has gone into hibernate mode and will no longer cooperate with me. No matter how much I push and prod it to dole out half decent work, it just won't budge. I've stared blankly at the computer screen for hours now. Soon, Mr. Sun will emerge from the sky. He will take one good look at me, shake his head and make a "tut tut" sound as I am now in a place where I have always been whenever there's a paper due: downing copious amounts of caffeine and tapping madly away at the keyboard, attempting a photo finish in time for the deadline.
It is quite ironic that after reading Gardner's Five Minds for the Future, I have done exactly the opposite of what his whole presentation is about. Specifically, his first point. Right at the heels of developing his theory of multiple intelligences, he talks about five minds that we should develop in order to better ourselves and achieve our full potential. The future is a mysterious entity. Blurry, actually. Gardner believes that with the development of these five minds, we will have the tools that will prepare us for a world that is yet to be known, or even, predicted.
The Disciplined Mind: Practice Makes Progress
Gardner mentions that we need to build up our "disciplinary muscle". My dilemma of writing this blog entry, as stated above, wasn't that I didn't know how to write. It was because I wasn't doing enough of it. I have developed a crippling habit of leaving things to the last minute that it has been embedded deeply into my system. Talent cannot work alone. A lot of work has to go along with it. With work, comes refinement. I talked about a Disney animator named Don "Ducky" Williams in a previous blog entry. The reason he eventually got hired was because of his persistence in developing and practicing his skill, doling out at least a hundred sketches a week for two years. Now that, is flexing some "disciplinary muscle".
The Medici Effect article taps on this idea as well. You can think up the most amazing idea in the world, but if it is not actualized or at least, worked on, then it is nothing.
We may have the skill and talent, but we need the work to back it up.
How can we concretely develop a disciplined mind?
Harbor the Healthy Habit
Thrive through Talent
The Synthesizing Mind: Ctrl+a, Ctrl+c, Ctrl+v
There are currently 15 million articles on Wikipedia.com. The topics ranging from ice cream to insomnia. It took me literally less than a second to search for that particular statistic.
The second mind that Gardner discusses is the synthesizing mind. He mentions that "we are all inundated with information". Information can be accessed easily, and that has, sadly, taken the place of accuracy. To be successful in the future, I agree that we need to have a synthesizing mind. We need to be aware that although we are able to learn things quickly with literally, just a click of a button, not everything out there is relevant or true. We need to be more critical of what we feed on.
Copy Pasting has become an epidemic, especially in school. As a teacher, this is a big concern. By not addressing this problem, we are allowing students to make a habit of accepting things at face value. We are encouraging them to be mindless drones and letting others do the work for them. They are losing the ability to identify which idea works for them and why it works for them. This is why I think research skills should be taught at an early age. Research doesn't stop after typing a keyword into a search engine.
How can we concretely develop a synthesizing mind?
Instant Information is Irrelevant
Unless Users Understand
Discard Deficient Details
Accept Authentic Answers
The Creative Mind: Actualizing Innovations
Vincent Van Gogh sold one painting while he was still alive. Centuries later, art collectors and famous galleries try to outbid each other to get a piece of his 900 painting collection. On the other side of the world, Miley Cyrus has released her latest single, which on its first week, sold 226,000 copies.
Are they both creative?
According to Gardner, one of them isn't.
Gardner believes that to be considered creative, one has to master his craft for at least ten years. He also believes that the period of time in which your work is appreciated and accepted defines whether you are creative or not. Early acceptance means you are not. No acceptance at all obviously means it's worthless. Although I have a bit of trouble accepting this notion, it does make sense. Years from now, we will still marvel at the blues and hues of Starry, Starry Night. I doubt if anyone will remember the lyrics to "Can't Be Tamed" 100 years from now.
Developing a creative mind goes hand in hand with the disciplined mind. One has to work at an idea or a talent, harvest it and make it grow. The more ideas you put out, the more chances that one of them will turn out to be brilliant.
It is not all about a person's mental faculties. As Gardner mentions, it's also about attitude. We need to be able to foster creativity within ourselves by taking risks and taking chances. We were always taught that there's a fine line between smart and stupid. We have a great fear of looking and sounding stupid that we never venture outside our comfort zones.
How can we concretely develop a creative mind?
Do the "Disciplined Mind" Doctrine
Replace Reflection with Realities
The Respectful Mind: A Borderless World
The fourth mind that Gardner talks about is respect, which is something that should be instinctive. It doesn't have to be mentioned that we need to respect one another. It's human nature. But the fact that Gardner paid particular importance to it means that, although it's something natural, it leaves yet to be seen.
It's amazing how we Filipinos patrol foreign films, television, etc. and cry "racist!" when someone makes a joke in our expense. But switch to a local variety show and we do exactly just that. On a daily basis, you will see the host berate, insult and make fun of a contestant because of of his color, physical appearance or accent.
Why do we do it and how do we stop it?
We do it because as much as we would like to think that we accept all kinds and forms of people, we don't. Our opinions are based on prejudices that we have instilled in ourselves over the years. Our beliefs are so important to us that anyone or anything that resembles a threat to that belief system, we disregard.
We put a halt to this by simply being tolerant. We do not need to abandon our beliefs but we do need to accept what others believe in. Exposing ourselves to a variety of culture, traveling and observing will open our eyes and make us realize just how varied people and experiences are.
How can we concretely develop a respectful mind?
Meet, Mingle and Mix
Discover Differences Daily
Venture Vast Villages,
Celebrate Color and Connectedness
The Ethical Mind: Fulfilling Roles
Gardner mentions this element as the most important. For a person to be ethical, he incorporates three things: excellence, engagement and ethical.
Like what he mentions in his introduction: we do not talk about values or ethics anymore because people would disagree too much. Ethics is too personal a thing to be discussed. But it doesn't mean that because we skirt through the topic, that it should be forgotten altogether.
The study that Gardner and his colleagues have done is quite alarming. What we need to do is put importance to value laden subjects in the curriculum. Making students aware of ethical dilemmas early will help them in the long run. Our educational system still puts a premium on high IQ's. In Gardner's opinion, this is a mindset that should be changed. We need to develop not only a student's ability to compute and recite the alphabet. We need to bank on character as well. Knowledge can be learned, but Character needs to be instilled.
How can we concretely develop an ethical mind?
Reach Respective Roles
Play Parts Perfectly
Looking at all of this can be a lot to take in all at the same time. We think we are all set in the world, and new ideas make us question what we believe in.
"I'm losing my mind" is a common expression.
Hopefully, we don't lose all five.