How 21st Century Thinking Is Just Different. This was the title of a recent post on the blog, TEACHTHOUGHT. My first reaction was negative as I am a great believer in the old adage that “there is nothing new under the sun.”
The writer’s argument is that information overload coupled with the human instinct toward socializing forces us to interpret this onrush of data and “spin” it to fit our own world view. “As a result,” says the post’s author, “the tone of thinking can end up uncertain or whimsical, timid or arrogant, sycophant or idolizing--and so, devoid of connections and interdependence.” In order to overcome these shortcomings he feels the following Habits of Mind are important to inculcate in youth:
- Managing impulsivity.
- Responding with awe.
- Thinking interdependently.
With the possible exception of “responding with awe--” which I find vague and maybe a little frightening as ’awe’ was the principle goal of Nazi rallies--I think we could all agree that the above habits of mind are valuable now, and were even valuable in the 20th Century--or any Century for that matter.
But rethinking my original negative conclusion I decided the blogger was on to something. To be fair, I had to admit that the flood of information had in some ways changed even my atrophied thought processes. For instance, I found myself less dependent on authoritative sources like the Encyclopedia Britannica (I’m too cheap to pay for the online edition and my lovely 1959 hard-cover volumes will no longer cut it)and more likely to search out answers--as he intimated--on social networks and forums. An act that requires the habits of mind suggested by the blogger to a degree unnecessary in the learned-journals, standard’s-dominated information sources of previous Centuries.