‘5 Minds’ No More Critical Now Than Before

Five Minds For the Future proposes a new approach to understanding the human intellect is needed if society is to ‘thrive in the world during the eras to come’. Gardner labels each of the following mindsets as; ‘disciplined, synthesizing, creating, respectful and ethical’, a collection of mindsets in which combine human intelligence based on knowledge, data and skill absorption and consideration of human values. Applying these mindsets to the digitally enhanced social and economic landscapes of today, this chapter addresses the outdated nature of today’s educational systems. Gardner discusses the idea of injecting these ‘five minds’ into modern education systems to enable our future leaders to ‘thrive in a world different from one ever known or even imagined before’.

Despite Gardner’s extensive experience in cognitive and neuro sciences providing a quantified scientific and scholarly spin on what is posed as ‘critical’ in the continuation global development, the ‘five minds’ outlined in this chapter sound more like embellished re-labeling of ordinary self-development goals than revolutionary tools for the future. Whilst I agree that an education system focused too heavily on science and technology could present harmful outcomes, I can confidently say Gardner has been unsuccessfully in converting me to the ‘5 minds’ approach.

Due to the rapid improvements in digital technology we have experienced in the past decade and are continuing to experience today, technology has become engrained in our personal lives, consumerist behavior, health and education and employment opportunities. As a result of this, it is essential that educational programs be continually being redeveloped to incorporate the demands for digital literacy outside of the schoolyard. Undoubtedly the ‘5 five minds’ proposed in this chapter are applicable and would be highly advantageous throughout the development of digital literacy and within digital environments, yet I feel unconvinced these concepts have not been applicable all along.

How Much is Too Much?

Admirably hopefully yet wildly over ambitious, it comes as no surprise that we fall miles behind the idealist expectations of 20th century economist, John Maynard Keynes. Unfortunately the idea of a 3 hour work day is something many of us can only dream of. Discussing today’s ‘accelerated society’, this chapter explores the ways in which ‘technology reconfigures time’.

For those living in privileged societies, constant access to the Internet has become an entrenched part of everyday life. As a result of this, technology is increasingly blurring the boundary between home and work. The ability to respond to emails, receive phone calls and access digital documentation at anytime, anywhere is generating a ‘porous’ relationship between weekends and weekdays, stimulating ‘on demand’ practices in modern work culture. However, this chapter also highlights that this culture is not one being experienced by everyone, as these same advances in technology bring with them new job cuts due to global outsourcing and complete automation. Therefore, whilst some people are now working more than ever in order to maintain a modest lifestyle in a hyper-consumerism society, others are struggling to find any work at all. Most applicable to this issue is of course are, us, young graduates. As a result of this, those entering university today are facing a highly competitive job market, leaving study decisions highly influenced by expected postgraduate employability rather than personal interest and preference.

Discussing a diverse range of issues surrounding 24/7 digital temporalities, this chapter fundamentally questions how efficient society should be made to become in balancing work and leisure.

Clarity Will Come, They Say…..

Presenting two different ways to think about your career, ‘The Clarity of the Craftsman’ provides a refreshing adaptation to the traditional ‘How To Guide’ for eager final year students. Discarding the systematic and painfully rigid step-by-step advice on how to embark on a prosperous career path, this week’s reading highlights the ‘crucial’ benefits of adopting ‘the craftsman mindset’, a perspective founded on valuing what you can provide to your job, rather than what your job can provide to you.

With a clear intention to inspire young readers through a mix of motivational quotes, anecdotes and a first person format, this reading suggests that passion is not a natural occurrence in the workforce but rather, is something that emerges from the satisfaction experienced when being the ‘best’. Whilst I personally found little value in the writer’s choice to exemplify this concept through the achievements of a musician due to the innate skill that provides musicians with the founding abilities for success, the reading’s core focus on working towards continuous improvement and ‘becoming so good, they can’t ignore you’ is undeniably motivating.

However, despite the obvious aim to motivate readers I myself more engaged in to the ideas surrounding ‘clarity’ and ‘fulfillment’. Obtaining a secure sense of clarity towards job choice and career pathways is something that often feels frustratingly distant. Yet it had never occurred to me until now that perhaps this sense of clarity isn’t something that is instantly present or absent, but rather generated purely through the dedication to achieve clarity despite this.

Are we living to work, or working to live?

Riddled with moral debates and exerts of ethically compromising conditions, this chapter provides a balanced exploration into the precarious nature of digital creative labor. Exploitation in the media and creative industries is complex yet increasingly prominent, as not only are exploitive standards dependent on personal perspectives on working standards but also on economic and political geography. Referencing the downfall of photography giant Kodak, this chapter highlights the two-sided nature of the digital revolution. Whilst many major contributors to the media industry have become immersed in the ‘phenomenon of disappearing jobs’, this chapter proposes that the issue often lies within the perspective of the observer, suggesting that dispersal is all too often mistaken for substitution.

Whilst identifying both the moral and economical issues surrounding the rise of the content creation industry, a balanced perspective is maintained as the writer highlights the ‘much more precarious future’ threatening other areas of the national workforce such as the automotive and agricultural industries. Analyzing the rapidly changing field of digital technology and the newly found grey areas that border formal media enterprises and informal employment, the content creation industry is critiqued for becoming too detached from formal employment practice. Discussing issues such as employee exploitation, the devaluing of journalism and the economic burden of entrepreneurial cultures, the conflict between the traditional and emerging modes of employment practices are foregrounded as critical issues.

As a media student progressing into the media industry myself, this reading provides relative insight into the competitive environment that awaits. Questioning how one can ‘distinguish work from pleasure, and pleasure from self-exploitation’, the ever-growing conflict between ambition and self-assertion is triggered.

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