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October 26, 2020

An intuitive introduction to systemic thinking

Attention is a resource

What a giant had to say

A long long time ago, when the teachers were still in the custody of young people's character, here is what William James had to tell them about this matter:

In what does a moral act consist? It consists in the effort of attention by which we hold fast to an idea which but for that effort of attention would be driven out of the mind by the other psychological tendencies that are there. To think, in short, is the secret of will, just as it is the secret of memory.

Attention has a purpose

Attention, and the emotion of interest which naturally directs it, are there for a purpose. Interest is what might move young people to explore and understand the world. And to exercise their minds and bodies.


But our industries have been able to separate this emotion from its purposes. They created games that engage only "other psychological tendencies", so that the effort of attention that sustains a moral act is never experienced; which keep children's attention away from reality; which exercise no more than their thumbs and their rear ends; whose ethical message is that killing is fun; and which are so "immersive" that they make everything else – and school in particular – seem dull in comparison.

What will prevent our young ones from virtually living in the virtual world? Where success is so much easier to experience; and even the ultimate failure can be reversed by pressing the restart button!

It's a complex world

For all we know, we may have created a complex and dangerous world, which will demand of our next generation the presence of a spirit that we ourselves haven't been able to muster.

We say "for all we know", because we don't really know. While some of our colleagues have done the research and concluded that our civilization may just barely make it, provided we make changes promptly, the rest of us continue to live and work just as we did before. Notice that we are not saying that our civilization is in trouble; others have said that. All we need in order to motivate our initiative follows from what we've just said. And it's anyhow obvious – it's that we do not know what our situation is and what we need to do; because the way in which we handle knowledge is keeping us from knowing.

And because also our attention has been mishandled.

An intuitive introduction to systemic thinking

Posted by ACASA on October 26, 2020 at 11:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)