Are we living in a connected world?

We are living in a connected world.

Another short version of connected world.

Are we inter-dependent?  To what extent are we connected in this world?

Here is my previous post on how internet is affecting our life.

Jenny reflected on how she viewed the impact of internet on seniors here the internet and the older generation.  Do old people need to be connected more actively via internet? What are the values of using internet in their connections? I don’t know, but old people could become rather lonely if they are isolated from the family, or the community.  So, some connections using facebook, twitter,  or other mobile technology may be helpful for some old people, in order for them to be part of the “virtual community”.  Some old people might also be interested in reading and watching news and reading newspapers over the internet, as they could choose when and how they would do that at their own pace.  The problem is: do they have the computer and technology skills in mastering such information and internet search?  My limited experience with “teaching” elderly is: No.  Internet is not that “easy” to learn, especially when old people are not educated in technology or having the computer literacies.  May be they could learn using mobiles, but again the characters and image in mobiles may be too small for them to read.  Some old people would still prefer to meet and socialize with others face-to-face,  as evidenced in the small gatherings in malls, or eating out in the restaurants.

My parents didn’t use any computers, not even the internet.   They didn’t even had the chance of receiving formal education.  So where and how did they get the information when they were alive? And what were their source of knowledge and wisdom?

They got the wisdom from their parents, friends, and the informal “teaching” and learning at work or with their children, through doing,  observation, experience and reflection of work and life.  As they grew older, they became wiser, as they understood that life is a learning experience, and that they have transformed their knowledge into wisdom that inspired them to practice “peace of mind and acts of love” in their latter part of life.

Although we have become more educated, as compared to our ancestors,  are we getting smarter, wiser?

With the introduction of new and emerging technology, mobile technology, and internet in particular, we have come to a point when most of our learning and values are being “challenged” by many others, including the formal authorities, experts, institutions, and knowledgeable others based on critical thinking, and creative collective inquiries, and communities discourse.

Here is an adapted and expanded version of a reflective writing (with my views and beliefs included).   I got it from my  beloved sister.  I don’t know the source, but would like to acknowledge and attribute to the source.

Photo: from Flickr

Today we have taller buildings and wider highways, but shorter attention span and temperament, and narrower points of view.

We spend more, but enjoy less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families.

We have more information and “knowledge”, but less “objective” judgement and tolerance.

We have more medicines, but less health.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk much,  but listen less.

We love only a little, but hate a lot.

We reached the Moon and came back, but found it too troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbours.

We have conquered the outer space, but not our inner space.

We have higher income, but less moral values.

We have increased public education on family values, but the divorce rate has also increased.

There are finer houses, but more broken homes.

We created more schools, but there are more failure drop-outs.

We showed our power and arrogance, but failed to acknowledge our own arrogance and ignorance.

We strived for liberty and freedom, but tried to convince others that they have to follow our orders.

We live our life by possessing and accumulating more materials and wealth, but we seem to have great difficulties in caring and loving our parents, partners, children and friends, or our colleagues and customers.

How about the following propositions?

Do you keep anything for a special occasion?  Is every day that you live a special occasion?

Take out from your vocabulary phrases like “I will love him or her if he changes”.  Instead, adopt a phrase like “I will change myself so I could love him or her now”.

Tell your family and friends how much you love them.

Do not delay anything that could add laughter, joy and happiness to your life, and to your other family members’ life.

Every day, hour, minute and second is special… to you and to others who you love.

And you don’t know if it will be your last moment to share….

Those are the days belong to the past, in nostalgia. Here is the moment to share and celebrate life.

Search for truth, information and knowledge.  Read more, think and reflect on what you have learnt. Sit on your front porch (including your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, or your favorite social media site), and admire the views of nature and spaces (including the networks, the different social media).

Spend more time with your family, eat your favorite (healthy) food, visit the place you love.  Play the music that you enjoy, and sing the songs that echoes with your mind.

Life is a chain of moments of joys, it isn’t only for survival.

Use your crystal goblets. Do not save your best perfume (your wisdom or knowledge), and use it every time you feel you want it.

If you like,  share your wisdom and knowledge – that is your riches here on earth.

Do not store up riches for yourselves here on earth, where moths and rust destroy, and robbers break in and steal.  Instead, store up riches for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and robbers cannot break in and steal.  For your heart will always be where your riches are. (Luke 12.33-34)

Nicholas Carr, author of “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” discussed the ways in which our online existence is rewiring our minds, replacing deep thought with information overload, and overruling attentiveness with a steady stream of interruptions and distractions. This saturation of technology, he says, is affecting us at the cellular level and turning us into what one researcher terms “suckers for irrelevancy.” Here is the video.

Is there a new geek anti-intellectualism?

Are we becoming more geeky and less intellectual?  I don’t think there is an “absolute” answer to this question, as the “truth” lies with both sides of the coin: That we are living with an ecology where distributed knowledge and information is ubiquitous, and that we are trying to define epistemology based on a world view.

In this Is wikipedia anti-intellectual? by Daniel, he puts forward his views on intellectualism. “We should help each other to become critical thinkers” Totally agreed. Our formal education is still aligned more with the adoption of authority based or canonical knowledge, which may be well designed for “transmission” of factual and procedural knowledge and scientific information.  However, the complexity of information landscape (internet, communities, networks, webs, formal institutions) and the abundance of information and “experts” with expert knowledge all over the “spaces” have challenged us to re-think about what it means to be an intellectual, and what makes us a better informed and knowledgeable citizen (or scholar, educator or learner) within a global learning environment.

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26 thoughts on “Are we living in a connected world?

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  11. Regarding “We showed our power and arrogance, but failed to acknowledge our own arrogance and ignorance.

    We strived for liberty and freedom, but tried to convince others that they have to follow our orders.”

    I recently reread a story in The Dragon Mask called Efficiency of the Heart – where he mentions that when he was younger, he used to argue – he used to use his strength, raise his voice, demonstrate power. I can’t remember the exact words but he describes how he heard from someone who spoke more softly that a person listens with their heart – even to one such as the above but they will never be convinced to change their mind, they will show signs of agreement but keep their own opinion silent within their heart. The only time they will change is when they feel that they are being listened to and the other person is being open.

    I think its very easy to follow into the above 2 – I have certainly done it on more than one occasion, I don’t think this changes whether online/offline and connected in any other way or not. As a martial artist of sorts – I am aware more of the short and long term physiological effects (as in I can feel the reactions inside) with good and bad connections on and offline. Don’t want to go into the whole psychology amagydala fear stuff, but we are very strange lumps of physiology moving around this planet. So maybe it’s not because social is good and all the associations with that, it’s because our heart pumps more efficiently too – chicken and egg…(have been starting to read http://tech.dir.groups.yahoo.com/group/Medical_Physiology/message/381 – where they get to the bit about which comes first thoughts or matter)

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  15. Thanks Nicola for sharing the beautiful story. “The only time they will change is when they feel that they are being listened to and the other person is being open.” That’s resonating. We love to work and learn with people who understand and practice empathy, and connect with us openly, with trust and respect. We also respond more cooperatively with others in both networks and communities when approached with sincerity and honesty, “a smile and a handshake” than when subjected to indifference, “frowns”, “destructive criticism or sarcasm” and put downs. There are however assumptions on my propositions, as I have assumed that human are rational, and kind to each others.
    John

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  17. Hi John,

    I believe that you and I have very different life experiences and maybe inhabit different universes :-) I would say for some people there is no lie they won’t tell, either to obtain or maintain a favourable position. I no longer assume that human beings are rational and kind, I believe in the human capacity for such things and i live in hope that my assumptions will change – life would certainly be easier !

    However one thing that I have learnt from Dave Snowden’s work and keep hold of if you like, I can’t find the exact reference and he used far better words than this – people do things based on their understanding and belief they have at that moment in time, whether its rational or not, whether they have evidence that it could be different and whether it’s fair or not.

    The reason for replying was because I wanted to clarify the text above so that it is as the book and would make more sense – the story is several pages but related to the above:

    “But Dr Kano in his lecture said something like this ‘In an argument, you may silence an opponent by pressing an advantage of strength, of wealth, of education. But you do not really convince him. Though he is no longer saying anything, in his heart he keeps his own opinion. The only way to make him change that opinion is to speak quietly and reasonably. When he understands that you are not trying to defeat him, but only to find the truth, he will listen to you and perhaps accept what you say.

    This was quite a surprise to me. But these words, spoken in beautiful English by this cultured Japanese gentleman, had a big effect. My behaviour began to change. I realised that my attitude to an argument had been inefficient because it had brought something unnecessary – namely – a desire to win. To bring in such things is against the principle of highest efficiency. Dr Kano recommended me to study the application of this principle everywhere in life”1

    I don’t know enough about it but very loosely understand a little about some associations with quantum mechanics and thermal efficiency

    1. Leggett T, p34, Efficiency of the Heart, The Dragon Mask, Ippon Books, available from: http://www.leggett.co.uk/books/dmsk.htm

    PS in case of interest http://idiolect.org.uk/notes/?p=1449 re internet and changing brains

  18. Hi Nicola,
    Are we living in a different universe? Wow! I think I am in line with your thinking, about human nature: ” I no longer assume that human beings are rational and kind, I believe in the human capacity for such things and i live in hope that my assumptions will change – life would certainly be easier !”

    I also realised that if a person is holding a strong belief, and that if the change (in beliefs or behavior) is against his will, then the person who nods his/her head is still unconvinced, and would unlikely change. The “agree” gesture is just a matter of courtesy, in order to acknowledge that the message is heard. Sometimes, people pretend to listen, based on selective listening, but in their hearts and minds, they might have already made up their minds, and so they would listen to what they want and like to listen only. This is nuanced in lots of online conversation.

    I had a short face-to-face conversation with Dr Kano back in 1988, whilst attending a fellowship program there on industrial standardization and quality control in Japan. I had also attended numerous lectures delivered by him on Quality during that time. Dr Kano is a guru in quality management, and so his teaching was quite influential, especially in the customer service model.

    “But Dr Kano in his lecture said something like this ‘In an argument, you may silence an opponent by pressing an advantage of strength, of wealth, of education. But you do not really convince him. Though he is no longer saying anything, in his heart he keeps his own opinion. The only way to make him change that opinion is to speak quietly and reasonably. When he understands that you are not trying to defeat him, but only to find the truth, he will listen to you and perhaps accept what you say.”

    I think these are due mainly to the subtle differences between the Eastern cultures and Western cultures, when it comes to arguments in communication. For instance, in Japan, and also in China, the traditional education tends to encourage people NOT to argue, based on opinions, feelings etc. The basic beliefs could be traced back to Confucius teaching, where arguments are not encouraged, especially in conflicting situation. Peace, instead of “war”, or win win is desirable, as viewed from such cultures. However, this is totally different from that of the Western beliefs in that people are seeking for truth, based on critical thinking, and in the belief that one should be assertive, and be tactful in convincing or negotiating with others, in order to influence people in communication. However, there are certain ideologies which seem common in the Eastern and Western cultures, in that human beings are all individualistic in nature (though there are also collectivism, where people start to socialise), and that in case of conflicts, they would seek ways to negotiate, through different means, or communication media, or mediators, in order to settle for a resolution, a solution, or peace.

    I will try to respond in further details in another response.

    John

  19. Hi John, thank you for your reply. Interesting that you have met Dr Kano, I will look for further details too about him, I don’t have any information other than his name mentioned in that story,

    Nicola

  20. Hi Nicola,
    Here is the bibliography of Dr Kano He is famous in the development of customer satisfaction model (Kano model). I quoted his model when teaching quality management in the 90s.

    You may find QFD (quality function deployment) fascinating. The pioneer of QFD is Professor Akao, who is also another quality guru. I was fortunate to attend his lecture at the time when I was in Japan.

    I have once thought about the use of QFD in the deployment of learners’ needs and development of tools or media in networked learning. Here is my previous post.

  21. Thanks John, it must have been very interesting experiences to meet quality gurus especially in the birthplaces of those procedures too.

    I will check out those links in detail later. Quality is an ongoing hot topic in medical regulation at the moment, it is module 3 in every CTD submission for a new drug licence or change to a drug licence, made by a pharmaceutical manufacturer. Partly hot topic due to changes in manufacturing the core original – active substance of a drug in one location and then other parts of the drug – excipients in another location, then packaging maybe in another and the manufacture of generics and biosimilar substances (same as active substance) and products with possibly different locations for each part of the manufacture too. Issues around availability, distribution as well as actual making of it. (http://www.mhra.gov.uk/Howweregulate/Medicines/Inspectionandstandards/GoodManufacturingPractice/Background/index.htm,http://www.emea.europa.eu/ema/index.jsp?curl=pages/regulation/document_listing/document_listing_000154.jsp&mid=WC0b01ac0580027088 ) I have seen some quality documents but don’t know if they use the models you have mentioned, will ask around.

  22. Hi Nicola,
    Yes, those were the interesting experiences, back in 1988. Isn’t it a small world. The 6-degrees of separation applies here, when you mentioned Dr Kano.

    There have been many changes in the “management philosophies” since the inception of Quality Assurance (QA), TQM, JIT followed by best practices, auditing supplier quality, benchmarking, customer service, quick responses, 6 sigma and now it’s more about lean, supply chain management, social networking etc. Many of these management theory & practices have past their “used-by” dates, as each may have become “favorite” of the month, especially when the rhetoric met the reality – in its value, and the practical application in businesses or institution. There are benefits with each approaches, though each of them required huge investment in training and development.

    I have browsed through the related link and found it useful in the teaching of quality management http://www.mhra.gov.uk/home/groups/comms-ic/documents/websiteresources/con2031677.pdf

    We often have students who are working in the medical areas, in hospitals, distribution centres of medical supplies or medicines, etc. So, these are all important for us to learn.

    Thanks.

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