Ming the Mechanic:
Conceptual Age

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Conceptual Age2005-02-17 15:28
picture by Flemming Funch

Article in Wired, Revenge of the Right Brain, by Daniel H. Pink, talks about how Right Brain qualities seem to be more and more what we need.
Until recently, the abilities that led to success in school, work, and business were characteristic of the left hemisphere. They were the sorts of linear, logical, analytical talents measured by SATs and deployed by CPAs. Today, those capabilities are still necessary. But they're no longer sufficient. In a world upended by outsourcing, deluged with data, and choked with choices, the abilities that matter most are now closer in spirit to the specialties of the right hemisphere - artistry, empathy, seeing the big picture, and pursuing the transcendent.

Beneath the nervous clatter of our half-completed decade stirs a slow but seismic shift. The Information Age we all prepared for is ending. Rising in its place is what I call the Conceptual Age, an era in which mastery of abilities that we've often overlooked and undervalued marks the fault line between who gets ahead and who falls behind.

To some of you, this shift - from an economy built on the logical, sequential abilities of the Information Age to an economy built on the inventive, empathic abilities of the Conceptual Age - sounds delightful. "You had me at hello!" I can hear the painters and nurses exulting. But to others, this sounds like a crock. "Prove it!" I hear the programmers and lawyers demanding.

OK. To convince you, I'll explain the reasons for this shift, using the mechanistic language of cause and effect.

The effect: the scales tilting in favor of right brain-style thinking. The causes: Asia, automation, and abundance.

And he goes on to explain that. I don't know if he makes a great case for it, or if The Conceptual Age is the best term. But, I agree, a different age is emerging, where it doesn't do it just to be rational and to have the right information. More dimensions are needed. And there's too much information, and not time enough to analyze it all rationally. So we have to resort to more effective methods of dealing with complexity. Which, interestingly, to a large degree is intuition, feelings, exploring patterns in artistic or playful ways, rather than just logically.

The plus side could be that we'll tend to deal with the whole thing, rather than fragmented pieces of information. The minus side could be that we're more easily fooled, because we act on appearances and emotions, and don't get around to analyzing the facts at hand.

So, different qualities than before become critical. Being able to know right from wrong, without analyzing the data. I.e. being in touch with your own intuition, your inherent abilities to know things, even in the absence of facts. Sometimes you can make better decisions if you don't let yourself be distracted by facts. But lots of people are very bad at it, and get distracted by superficial signs, to make decisions they wouldn't have if either they knew the facts or they were in sync with their own senses.

And the Information Age isn't exactly going away, but rather transforming into something else. It won't be so much about having an edge by having access to better information than your competitors, as most information will be generally available. It will be more about what you do with masses of information than what you do with little chunks of it. More about the forest than the trees, more about the landscape of information than about the facts.

Anyway, back to the guy's article, which ends like this:
Want to get ahead today? Forget what your parents told you. Instead, do something foreigners can't do cheaper. Something computers can't do faster. And something that fills one of the nonmaterial, transcendent desires of an abundant age. In other words, go right, young man and woman, go right.

Cool. So, we could say it is a change of focus. What before was to look outside for work and jobs and positions, maybe becomes to go inside and be inspired to do what you're here to do. Which becomes successful if one at the same time connects up with the heartbeat of the bigger, complex society. Plugging into the zeitgeist, the desires, the ebbs and flows of human attention. Where before, what you did had rather little to do with neither YOU nor with what the world needed - that now becomes all important. That *I* am in it, and that it rides on some kind of wave within the state of the world. Don't know if I can come up with a better word for it. Integral Age. Complex Age. Or Virtual Age, but that gets into another angle. Or maybe Conceptual Age is actually pretty good, as it encompasses several of those aspects. What a concept.

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17 Feb 2005 @ 15:43 by swanny : Global Coherance
I think I sense what is meant here
as well it means things aren't simply just
linearly coherant but globally as well
although not sure how to express this "global coherance"
in just mere words. Its almost as though you have to be
it or imagine it or "conceive" to use his words....
Yet its a bit like walking on water. When you focus
on and realize what you're actually doing .....
you fall into the drink.....

so this is where "swimming" lessons might help....
although somes approach is just to throw one into the
deep end......

carry on


17 Feb 2005 @ 20:19 by Ge Zi @ : always been that way
If we are really looking at the things we did in the past, it was not really any different. In the mecca of logical thinking - programming - you only got to a point with pure logic - but you got real good when you used that other side of the brain of your (even if I don't think the brain has anything to do with it - but let's stick with the metaphore). Finding a bug in a system you just took over with only logic is very expensive - in terms of time - just knowing where the bug is and twisting that one bit that's sitting wrong - that was always the way to stick out - - - just checked holisticprogramming.com - obviously already taken ;-)  

17 Feb 2005 @ 21:31 by Lionel @ : Weblog
Hi, my friend! Welcome back. I would be glad to see you soon :-)  

17 Feb 2005 @ 21:51 by astrid : Ming,
I love it! : )  

17 Feb 2005 @ 22:10 by hgoodgame : You had me
at hello! ;)  

18 Feb 2005 @ 00:39 by hgoodgame : For Swanny - swimming lessons
If you find yourself suddenly propelled into the deep end, remember to take a big gulp of air with you, then when you bob to the surface, hang on to the edge until you gradually gain the courage to let go. You will find the easiest way to 'swim' is to float. Again, this takes relaxation in the water and good breathing, fill your lungs all the way down to your toes and remember to exhale from time to time. If you find yourself sinking too much, take in air again. Later on when you get the floating down, you can play with swimming techniques and other water movement activities.
Hope that helps some. :)
Oh big thing I forgot to tell you, be sure you are floating on your back..  

18 Feb 2005 @ 01:55 by Quirkeboy @ : Throw me a life preserver

24 Nov 2005 @ 00:34 by jonah @ : right brain wrong
lft brain are sheep the simple way to create sheep is to use the right hand .controled of th yang/male /ego /self /need side the right handed
the mathimatical ,the flawed logic of flawed beliefs, we believed the earth was flat .er no we discovered msmoking causes cancer ..er no that is because of duponts atomic testing ,you see the radioactive dust and farm contaminants do that mean while the one third of the population that are cenetically susceptable,get cancer ,yet even of the truth 2 thirds cannot what are we studing the sik studdy the majority who are not
the real truth of this new conceptional information age has but soon to its birth into the ever now ,ihope never ends and just gets better and better as more see the humour ,the joke and reason ..but we cant yet laugh lest we do it as one for the one this site needs key words for simpler discovery ..but them who am i to question either the father ,,or the sons  

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