Minds Viewed Globally

Written by psychologist, author and researcher; Howard Gardner, this week’s reading posits the ‘five minds’ that one should begin to develop in preparation for the future.  He argues that for us to succeed as a species and more personally as individuals, we must be ‘equipped to deal with what is expected’ and more importantly ‘what is not’.

The first mind Gardner discusses in the introduction of his book, is the ‘disciplined mind‘. This being a ‘cognitive ability’ that demands focus, through the ‘cultivation of a specific discipline, craft or profession’. Thus allowing an individual to hone their own skill set and perfect their craft. In doing this, Gardner states that one can avoid a destiny restricted by the control of others. Allowing one to have more opportunities to work independently, and to avoid a career that is orchestrated by someone else’s ideas.

The second mind he describes, is that of the ‘synthesizing mind‘. A ‘mind’ that he defines by ones ability to collate disparate and diverse pieces of information and evaluate them both objectively and with a level of clarity. Bringing them together to create a unique personal meaning.

‘Breaking new ground’, Gardner outlines his third mind as that of the ‘creating mind’. He labels this ability as one ‘destined to break new ground and forge new ideas’. With its ability to cultivate the formation of contemporary concepts, to solve problems and to create new solutions.

The ‘respectful mind’, unlike its predecessors, is one that looks outwardly on the world. This ‘fourth mind’, contemplates how ones actions can directly effect the world outside of their own body. Describing the importance of difference and individuality in a world where intolerance and disrespect are ‘no longer viable’.

Finally, Gardner defines the more abstract; ‘ethical mind’. Much like the ‘respectful mind’, the ‘ethical mind’ contemplates the external happenings of the world. Requesting one to observe the world outside of mere self-interest and ego.


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Finding Time In a Digital Age

Focusing on the essence of time within the 21st century, this weeks reading deconstructs our cultural progression towards an increasingly fast-paced lifestyle. Examining how technology has imprisoned rather than liberated us from our careers. 

Overall, this rapid progression has established a growing sense of ‘time pressure’, as we face a shared global trend towards ‘temporal impoverishment’. Wajcman coins this economic system as ‘fast capitalism’, occurring in what she often describes as an ‘acceleration society’.

In reaction to this, society has also seen the creation of such movements as the ‘slow-food’and ‘slow cities’ movements. Both of which, place emphasis on the slowing of time and the appreciation of life’s infinite details. This has also been reflected through the abundance of growth occurring within the ‘mind business’. Creating an entire ‘mindfulness’ revolution. Which has been particularly popular among large corporations, whom fund workshops and employee initiatives that help to alleviate stress and boost morale.

As highlighted in the reading; Ben Agger labels this new framework as ‘iTime’, an aspect of cultural globalisation which believes that we have ‘too much to do and not enough time to do it’. Wajcman believes that in order for us to continue to grow as a society we must continue to ’embrace the emancipatory potential of technoscience’ whilst also remaining its ‘chief critic’. This departs from the often suggested ‘technological abstinence’, that other authors, yogi’s and health practitioners have suggested. 

I believe that ‘technological abstinence’ or at least not using your phone for a week is an important experience and reminder of our dependency on its technology. At least this was my experience when I decided to pick up my backpack and travel through India almost 3 years ago. With no working phone or source of internet I was forced into conversations with strangers as I asked them for directions. I became unable to talk to my friends on Facebook overseas and I spent the majority of my time embracing everything around me.

This freedom changed my entire trip and I could not recommend it highly enough to those wanting to disconnect from a world that is so highly “connected”.

Craft vs. Passion Mindset

Should I work in a job that cultivates my ‘craft’ or that fuels my desire for cashflow and fame?  This is the question that is broadly discussed in this weeks reading by Cal Newport.

Quoting comedian; Steve Martin, Newport emphasises the applicability of his catchphrase  ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you’. Highlighting how one could adopt the ‘craftsmen mindset’ and achieve success in the same breath.

He identifies this ‘craftsmen mindset’ as one that focuses on ‘what you can offer the world’ and where interests and creativity seem to follow naturally. Specifying that this may not happen instantaneously or without hard work.

To a degree, this is opposed to Newport’s ‘passion mindset’. Where your passion for success and wealth trumps your craft. He believes that this mindset will keep you ‘perpetually unhappy and confused’, as you become hyperaware of what you don’t like and continually question your own desires.

Overall, Newport summarises his position by stating; that one shouldn’t envy the craftsmen mindset, but instead one should emulate it. To an extent, this indirectly relates to the ‘fake it till you make it’ catchphrase.

Yet to me, this article seems to speak to a larger psychological framework surrounding the idea of happiness. As one cannot truly find happiness in the external world, until they have found it within themselves.

Although collectively this sounds quite cliche, my experiences of the working world and family, have so far proven for this to be true.