Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Gaining Perspective (Part 2) - Patterns of Living

A Sense of Place

Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.

Leonardo Da Vinci

If you could look down from the moon .... onto the countless horde of mortals, you'd think you saw a swarm of flies or gnats quarreling  amongst themselves, fighting, plotting, stealing, playing,making love, being born, growing old and dying.It's hard to believe how much trouble and tragedy this tiny little creature can stir up, short-lived as he is, for sometimes a brief war or an outbreak of plague can carry off and destroy many thousands at once.

Erasmus 1560 AD

 Gain a better perspective from a detached viewpoint at a distance

The ability to step outside of and away from a situation is important if we are to keep in view the bigger picture, maintain a more open mind, show a balanced approach and remain as impartial (free,
neutral, external) as we can. An external view helps to clarify and broaden understanding, to set goals, to establish direction and to reduce distorted reasoning.

We can discover every sort of contradiction in ourselves depending how we look at ourselves; central but insignificant, essential but accidental, necessary but contingent, eminent but forlorn. We experience a moment of sobriety “while we breathe the cold and rarified air of emotional detachment”

Try the Thought Experiment .. have fun !

To continue click on the Read more (below)

Taking an External View - Thought Experiment.

A word on Thought Experiments

Thought experiments are devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things. They are used for diverse reasons in a variety of areas, including economics, history, mathematics, philosophy, and the sciences, especially physics.

Many famous scientists have solved solved complex problems by using "experiments in the mind". Einstein used a thought experiment to develop his Special Theory of Relativity. You can use thought experiments in the classroom to explore or investigate your own ideas. 


My thought experiment activity asks you to take the time to reflect on the world that we all find ourselves. It is intended to help raise a greater awareness of the repeating cycles of our human activity and behavior on a local and global scale. I also hope to encourage thinking about your tomorrow. To help you find a meaningful road over the horizon to the future awaiting you. Asking questions such as; "Where will I fit in ?" and "What will be my role in society?"

Let's Start !

Normally I would lead the group in this activity. I would speak my instructions quietly for the participants to follow. Obviously this cannot be done here on this blog. So the next best thing is to ask you to have a quick read ahead across the instructions and then do the imagining. You might like to record the instructions and then play them back.

🔵 Find a quiet place where you can sit and relax. Away from disturbances for the 5 to 10 minutes of our thought experiment.

🔵 Close your eyes and imagine that you are slowly floating upwards higher and higher into the sky.

>  at first you notice the surrounding countryside for miles around
>  float higher and higher until you are high above the clouds
>  float higher still until you see the curvature of the Earth
> float higher still until you are in the darkness of space looking down on the Earth

🔵 Next take an imagined telescope on look down onto your hometown or city. You will observe the changes of activities in the city as a single day passes. Start from first light of the morning.

> notice street lights turn off at sunrise and then the roads get busier
> notice the rush of people heading to work
> notice more traffic, more trains, more buses, more people walking in the streets
> notice hustle and bustle subside as the work day starts
> notice an increase of people and traffic during the lunch hour
> notice activity going quiet again during the work afternoon
> notice the sudden increase again in people and transport after work day finishes
> notice the busy roads as people are returning back home
> notice the hustle and bustle die off as darkness falls
> notice the lights are beginning to switch on again
> now it is dark and all is quiet on the streets. People are in bed asleep.
> notice that this pattern of human activity is observed in every country

🔵 Now in our thought experiment, use your imagination to speed time up a bit.

> In your mind's eye attempt to wiz this daily cycle of activity up to the point where you have five days flash by within a minute. Repeat this again.

> next imagine this pattern repeating in the same way year after year. Starting with your grandparents and then the working lives of your parents.

> Move into the future and "see" this cycle repeating for yourself and then for your children and grandchildren.

Can you see ? This repeating daily cycle of life activity is almost a constant. The same rhythm of life seems endless. Nothing much changes in the basic living pattern..

 🔵 Next you will follow the life events of a single family during the course of their lives. Use your telescope and look down on them from your viewpoint above the Earth. Use your imagination to speed time up once again. Let's start from the birth of the children.

> Observe the parents celebrate the birth of John their first child.
> Next we see the birth of the second child, Mary, a brother for John
> Notice the pleasure and joy of the parents
> "Hear" the parents discussing future plans for their children. Education, Sports, Travel
> Move forward and see the children starting pre-school
> See the excitement of John and Mary on their first day of school
> See John and Mary grow and Learn
> Now they enter high school. More excitement and new activities and friends
> School years pass and we see them on their final Graduation Day
> Now they enter university. witness their new found freedom.
> See them study hard and enjoy great social times
> Happy university years pass. Now it's Graduation Day again.
> John and Mary start their first jobs. Earning money now. More new friends.
> Years pass and we now see John on his wedding day. And then the honeymoon.
> a year later Mary has her wedding day.
> They both John and Wife and Mary and husband work hard. They save for a house
> A few years later we see them in their own homes.
> Soon the children arrive.
> John and Mary's parents are over the moon. Grandkids at last.
> We see John and Mary's parents retire from the workforce. They enjoy the grandkids.
> Grandchildren now at school and then onto University just as their parents did
> The grandkids find their first job
> John and Mary's mother dies from an illness. we see the funeral
> A year later the father dies.
> John and Mary's children are married with children.
> John and Mary celebrate being grandparents
> Years pass again John and Mary have died
> Their children are approaching retirement age

🔵 Now use your telescope to observe all families in the neighborhood living their life patterns from birth to death. Speed time up and imagine in the mind's eye several generations of a family coming and going. Perhaps you can start with you own family history going back a couple of generations

> Next look at yourself at your stage of life.
> Speed time up and follow you life's journey to death
> Go further into the future and "see" the life patterns of your kids and grandkids

Can you see?  The repeating cycles of people's lives generation after generation change very little. Most people live their lives according to a rather simple template of needs and wants. This generation yearns for the same things as the last generation did and as the next future generations will.

🔵 Now. Put away that magic telescope and slowly allow yourself to float back down to the Earth. Open your eyes. You returned to reality .....

🔵 🔵 🔵 End of Thought Experiment 🔵 🔵 🔵


Well, students, how do you feel after that thought experiment ? Perhaps you can identify your present life stage and place in the society. Perhaps you have gained a glimmer of your future?

Did you notice how the daily routines and the milestones through life haven't changed much across the generations? Think about that. In a sense you have a road map from which you can track your future. Sure there's a lot of unknowns to fill in but the basic framework is mostly unchanging.

What does change?

It's the science and technology that changes rapidly. And the rate of change is increasing.

We live in a complex world. A world that is connected, interdependent and diverse. We value learning. We adapt to changes as they arise. From the daily routines of the millions of workers in our society emerges innovation and creativity. Solutions and breakthroughs to all sorts of problems are made almost daily. The scientific research frontier advances quickly and the technology output from that research changes how we do things. We are one people together, on one world, working towards a better future for humanity.

Students. A final word.

Students the world urgently needs you. A place is waiting for you. Have no fear of the uncertainty ahead. We have seen that our living patterns are predictable. This is your solid rock to stand upon to face the challenges and solve our problems.