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Dumbing down?

Steven Phillips
Steven Phillips

The Edge Web site posted a question “How is the internet changing the way you think?” and about 169 philosophers, scientists, artists and others replied with short or medium pieces of writing at:

http://www.edge.org/q2010/q10_index.html (assuming that you can still be bothered to read as increasingly people are choosing not to get beyond 10 lines of text).

Below is Brian Eno’s piece to whet your appetite or put you off altogether (is the man everywhere?).

What reading a few of these made me wonder was what it might all mean for the future of organisations? Within all of this is some inherent futurology.

Below in this extract is the idea that what is valued is still what is authentic, rare or being made rare, or being simulated. So could that mean that the things we are drawn to in our work, like a depth of real conversation, levels of intimacy and exposure, an emotional experience of work, exploring meaning in work might become more valuable as they seem to become less and less common and less and less authentic?

I’ve been thinking anyway that I’d like NOT to collude any further in the dumbing down of organisation and to find the business opportunity that is represented by the rejection of bite-sized anything-that-isn’t-edible – one writer describes the ‘pancaking’ of people and thought, as people increasingly know a thin amount about a wide range.

Maybe it is as simple as helping people in organisations (re-)find the pragmatism, value, efficacy and ROI of a depth of thought about all sorts of stuff.

I hope you’re not trying to read all this on a phone – but that is a factor in what is happening – people are transacting conversations in staccato form because it isn’t acceptable to ‘send’ more than a sentence and it is becoming a norm – a style of thinking as the result of it being unfashionable to sustain attention. Txt speak rprsnts the dpth of thought that precedes action. I h8 that idea. And, whilst I don’t believe thought is a replacement for action, especially in a world in which rapid-prototyping of ideas is more important, there is a very anti-intellectual strand to commercialism which means the resulting action feels like it is increasingly insignificant and better suited to hamsters and their wheels.