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A shift to empirical learning.

18 Jun

I was browsing Forbes 25 Ideas to Change the World… only two seemed to be diametrically opposed to the others. They are fully in line with the way we work here at Drawing Down the Vision.

The first challenge was by world-renowned Graphic Designer, Milton Glaser. His idea is to ‘Suspend Ideology.’

Milton Glaser, Graphic Designer, Suspend Ideology

“What people have to do is to stop believing and begin to observe.” – Milton Glaser

He commented that Art is an instrument to promote Attentiveness. He states, ‘Art is Whatever,’ as long as it challenges us to observe the situation and ask, ‘What is real?” Art is a tool for human survival, and asks us to question what we’re doing, and why. His idea is to help make the most of our lives, living creatively and seeing infinite options at any moment.

In a recent article in Print, Glaser discussed his role models. One of them happened to be a long-time client, a restaurateur, Joseph Baum, who was capable of looking at a common situation afresh. Even when setting a table, he asked, “OK, where on the table should we put the silverware?’” He was inquisitive to the extreme, basing his actions on an understanding of the current moment. He wasn’t a fan of blindly repeating the past. This constant re-basing allowed him to limit time spent living in the ‘Illusion of Explanatory Depth.”

This ever-creative view of the world reminds me of Melissa Pierce’s quote for her new film Life in Perpetual Beta, “Is the planned life worth living?”

The second reverberating idea was by top consultant, Babson educator, & Harvard Sociologist, Thomas Davenport.

Thomas Davenport, Consultant, Slow Down

“We live in a world in which the capability to deliberate is vanishing.” – Thomas Davenport

He spoke of the power of slowing down. He says we’ve lost the ‘gift of deliberation.’ With the ever increasing presence of information in our lives, we believe we are being more effective, but are instead stuck in a ‘productivity churn.’ We need to break away in order to practice true creative problem-solving, to develop a concise understanding of what we are doing, and why.

Entropy is a fundamental law of engineering. It is the measure of how disorganized a system is. The law states that disorganization will only increase in a complex system. We need to find a way to make our worldly system less complex. We control how complex it is through the focus of our efforts.

Both of these fantastic thinkers showcase a shift to learning empirically. They value observations and intuition over the blind trust for the illusory knowledge we have accumulated from a different time, for a different situation. We are educating ourselves to idiocy. We are looking at how we can trust and make sense of all this information with so many hidden assumptions.

So, as we always say, find some time to get away from your work. Try the Low Information Diet. Use your journal and sketchpad as a way to practice attentiveness, to deliberate on the myriad things you can do every day of your life. Commit to do those things which are fundamentally important to the well-being of you and your community.

Be breakthrough, not busy.

As always, please share any thoughts or tangential articles!

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