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Tuesday
Aug142012

predicting the future etc

Predicting new technology is one thing, but predicting our response to it is another. It is based on how well you know human beings and how well you know their current OQ- the OQ is their ‘openess quotient’. It’s a convenient concept that nevertheless relates to something very real and very useful: the width of someone’s experience-acceptance angle of vision. Some people have tunnel vision. Some cultures encourage it- conformist cultures, though they aren't necessarily the obvious ones that spring to mind. It is sensible to avoid condemning non-western cultures here- they may have a wider range than we have. They may be open to traditional ideas that work (a fact post-enlightenment western people have only just worked out) as well as super modern ideas or bits of technology- India and Egypt both come to mind here.

How wide is someone acceptance range, what are they ‘blind’ to? Apocryphal but useful stories relate south sea islanders inability to ‘see’ James Cooke’s ship because it was ‘too big’. Even if this is nonsense the idea is true- we are blind to some stuff right in front of our noses. The blindness takes the form of saying “oh yeah- but that’s irrelevant’. In other words it's not a failure of optic nerves it’s a failure to give the thing seen its due significance and importance.

All sports training is about getting the would-be athlete to focus on the perhaps boring process that produces the significant improvement and avoiding the often more interesting process that produces no improvement. In aikido stance is pretty much everything- but that is a sterile concept to the newbie. So all kinds of interesting stuff is worked up to make this boring truth available and digestible and what is most important, seen and felt to be REALLY important.

George Polya the mathematician wrote that most failures to get on with solving a problem are due to lack of interest, above inability everytime. Interest, motivation- these are the gold dust of the education process.

If there is a trend operating right now, I would say it is an expanding OQ. Though children may read less, they are exposed to a wider variety of concepts. Pre- starwars the bench mark of heroism was Robin Hood or some lion hearted Crusader, post starwars we have Yoda influenced ‘warriorness’- this is not meant to be a precise cultural history, merely pointing up the way popular culture is now fed by what were unacceptable fringe interests in mystical religion.

With increasing OQ there is a new factor involved in working out how new things will be accepted. Some things won’t be. The idea that all new high-technology is good is already a dated concept. The word luddite has less teeth in a world that approves sustainable solutions and appropriate technology, a world where traditional solutions are increasingly appreciated.

But perhaps more importantly, what’s your OQ? Are you getting more open to things as you get older or getting more closed? I suspect that unless you make a careful decision to keep expanding your breadth of vision, it will, of its own accord, start to diminish.

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