Sunday, March 13, 2016

Changing Ways of Thinking Thanks to Technology

My name is Jonah Hainsworth. I've been interested in studying whether technology is really advancing society. Today, I'm focusing on how we've changed our way of thinking. How we've switched from thinking concretely to hypothetically.

The world has grown more and more complex. Our brains have to find new ways to deal with this complexity. In the above video, James Flynn explains how IQ scores have increased dramatically as time goes on. It's not that humans are now smarter than ever, but it is because we think in a different way. We see past the concrete into the hypothetical.

Flynn goes on to explain the studies of a man named Luria. Luria presented the scenario to people who just entering the digital age, "'There are no camels in Germany. Hamburg is a city in Germany. Are there camels in Hamburg?' And the fellow said, 'Well, if it's large enough, there ought to be camels there.' And Luria said, 'But what do my words imply?' And he said, 'Well, maybe it's a small village, and there's no room for camels.' In other words, he was unwilling to treat this as anything but a concrete problem, and he was used to camels being in villages, and he was quite unable to use the hypothetical, to ask himself what if there were no camels in Germany."

There's been a shift in the way we think about things. We now are able to easily accept hypotheticals. In fact we mostly use hypotheticals to reason because its almost impossible to really know anything. 
Flynn says that he once said to his racist grandfather, "'How would you feel if tomorrow morning you woke up black?' they said that is the dumbest thing you've ever said. Who have you ever known who woke up in the morning that turned black?"

His old fashioned grandparents didn't understand that way of thinking. They could only imagine someone literally turning black in the middle of the night, rather than considering the way they would feel if they were oppressed. 

With technology we begin to see other possibilities than the concrete ones right in front of us. This allows us to think more dynamically and solve problems better. Technology has changed our perspective completely. The way we view the world is so important. It determines our actions. 

1 comment:

  1. I like where you're going, Jonah. It's about time someone explains the generational technological divide. I couldn't help but wonder if you could take this even further: maybe you could extrapolate, justifying or even predicting future modes of thinking influenced by technology.