Please visit Thinking Skills for the Digital Generation by Athreya and Mouza at Springer.com

Saturday, July 2, 2011

What are the main messages?

Dear Asha, Ajay, Ravi and Ariana,

I have been writing on several topics. Now it is time for me to take stock of what I have been writing about. When you read them, I hope you see that my main messages for the future generations are:

1. There has been an explosion of knowledge in the past century and a half.
2. Explosion in technology has made human lives richer, but also more complicated.
3. Excess reliance in technology has blinded humanity to thinking that all human and societal problems can be solved purely by technological means.
4. The technology to generate more information and more knowledge is here; so is the technology to store all of this information.
5. It is not necessary, nor is it possible to remember all the available information.
6. But, it is important to focus on how to find useful, reliable, relevant information out of all this mass of information and deliver it to the sites where they can be used.
7. It is also very important to learn and teach how to think, using all the available information and knowledge.
8. The technology of media is used by commercial, political and religious organizations to get your attention and more importantly to influence your thinking.
9. That makes it imperative that all of us learn what the tricks of the trades are and how peoples’ minds can be manipulated by others.
10. We have to know the sources of information, how the source is funded and for what purpose.
11. All of us have to learn how to think for ourselves and ask critical questions.
12. The increased understanding of physical phenomena based on proofs creates conflicts in faith-based systems which still follow ancient texts. This creates unnecessary confusion among the followers of various faiths leading to rejection, guilt feelings or hypocrisy.
13. It is, therefore, essential to periodically reinterpret sacred texts to realign them with known facts. As pointed out by Kierkegaard, items of faith are place-holders till more definite answers are available. When we know that the earth circles the sun, it is more sensible to change the texts than punish the truth-teller. Changing the text based on solid facts will not reduce its sanctity in anyway. Indeed it will make it easier for the followers to live their lives without feeling guilty or becoming hypocritical.

1 comment:

Nitya said...

#12 & #13 are my favourite messages, because I think they convey how critical it is going to be to bridge the disconnect that the younger generation has with heritage. We tend to scoff at tradition because it is often presented to us literally and with rigidity. Personally I can better appreciate the essence of a sacred text, for instance, if it is not conveyed to me in a purely faith-based manner.