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Pattern Locking Patterns

October 15, 2014 Leave a comment

Behavioral changes are difficult to make. Patterns beget habits beget lock-in beget comfort. In our habits lie our sense of self and perspective on reality. Are we based upon our patterns? Do our needs for structure make our patterns a simple source of comfort in life? Though we refer to ourselves as free-thinking individuals we remain locked into a schedule. The work schedule, the daily meals, the daily grind of every social function: our gears for daily life.

Indeed our very biology is ruled by specific sets of patterns. Sleeping with its REM cycle is model for the perfect day: not too fast and not too slow; a perfect pace for progress. The reproductive system has its pattern and Circadian rhythms have been shown to have powerful effects on living things on Earth. From jet-lagged travelers to solar starved plants, these rhythms play a vital part in life.

So it’s no surprise then that these patterns are difficult to change. Changing sleep patterns or diet? Prepare yourself for war. Just a simple change of diet means a rapid sway to life. What defines the perfect diet? Does perfection actually exist? Too often we seek patterns in existence where a pattern just doesn’t exist. How often do I need to sleep? Are these curtains certified dark enough? From the big ideas to tiny details a swath of decisions must be considered. Ever different, the individual is impossible to simplify to specific needs and goals. There are various suggestions for the ways we live our life. What does he or she want? From what culture does she stem? Ultimately the ingredients that make up who we are are wildly different. The decision, in the end, remains with us. Though troubled yet we are we hold our power to our change.

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Knowledge Needed Known

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

If cursed into some quandary where one could master only a single skill, only the ability to think critically would be worthy of selection. As a core skill, it is the ability to think critically that forms the most solid of foundations on which to build a contemporary citizen and human. A critical thinker possesses both defensive and offensive tools to serve as both protective barrier and weapon cadre from which to defend and attack throughout a life. It is, for all intents and purposes, the only skill we need.

Wash my mind of all mathematics, let me pores bleed out the classic texts and notions that have filled my years in school. Cleansed of these what damage can befall me? I am ignorant yes, but still capable of avoiding or diverting the responsibilities that could require use of these skills. Though critical, one could very easily move from day to day and disregard the great literature and mathematics that exists as crucial guideposts for our society.

Removed instead of critical thinking, the individual faces a far more dangerous path of life. Blind to bad advice, ignorant of the misdeeds and grizzly passions, the individual stripped of critical thinking can only waver in response to the forces of the world at large. Our critical thinking brains provide a focus, guide our motions and fend off the threats which crave to breed distraction. Critical thinking is the only skill we need- anything else is simply frosting on the cake of critical mind.

Text Reflection: The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

September 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Somethings are just plain obvious: the times have changed, we love our gadgets and we have all allowed the internet to change the way we live. This, of course, is known. Is it bad though? Do we risk some deeper damage by using the internet and swath of devices which flood and fill our homes?

In The Shallows, Nicholas Carr suggests the obvious: our brains are being altered by technology. Is anyone stunned? Are we throwing gadgets out the window? Carr avoids asserting a solution to this problem and instead chooses to provide a judgment-free observation.  There is no gloom and doom here; instead its a glimpse at some growing dark clouds. Yes we see things changing but is it significant? Are such changes for the better or do they beckon something dangerous and risky? In The Shallows Carr cannot assist us in these questions- this is a text of simple observation.

One has to wonder whether Carr’s publishers stepped in when deciding the title. Did Carr refuse to use a panic-laden title and, in response, did his publishers add in a sizzling subtitle hinting at brain damage via technology? Are we victims to some ploy of publishing? One has to wonder because this book fails to address the major claims that line its face. Inside its author seems dead-set on downplay. Indeed beyond the book, the author’s statements gradually re-calibrate the book’s focus more in line with what’s been written.

The Shallows only value comes in its overview of technological development in history. Additional posts will follow based on the material mentioned in the text. The Shallows provides another road map through technological development and offers once again the guiding lights that moved the initial experimentation into the modern world of constant use and obsession. Carr reminds us of these changes, but we’ve known it all along. Each of us can testify to technologies major effects on our lives. Did we even wonder whether our brains were being altered? Did we ever need to wonder? If such changes are beyond our control what more can we do? Do we worry as Carr’s publishers seem to ask or do we sit back and watch it happen just as Carr and his text appear to do?

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