Technology alone is not enough. That it's technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities. That yields us the results, that makes our hearts sink
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My introduction to technology came at an early age. I clearly remember programming BASIC on our ATARI with my dad at a very early age. Backing up our code to a tape drive and recording the output on a VCR. Thus started a fascination with all things technology and I eventually found my calling at the age of 17. That's when I decided to drop out of the local community College that I had been attended and went on to work and learn at a local startup instead.
At that work location, I recall working with this one lady at the time, who happened to be a Psychology major. Since the only two ways of earning a decent wage in South Asia was to either become a Doctor or an Engineer. I would then joke with this individual, basically telling her that she was going to have a tough time finding suitable employment once she graduates. All this time, she kept telling me that Psychology is really powerful. But I was this somewhat ignorant 18 year old with this mind-frame that all that is non-tech is not worth investigating. Let alone dedicate 4 years of your life studying.
Next, someone in my immediate family used to teach graduate level Sociology and Anthropology. I did find myself thinking and pondering. Why would such an intelligent guy (he was really well-read), choose to teach subjects that appeared to be so boring to me at the time.
Once I came to Canada, I inadvertently started building a true appreciation for most of the Social Sciences and the Liberal Arts. The exposure to these very subjects (content) was enough (libraries). That was when I started the process of understanding what some of the subjects under the domain of the social science and liberal arts were really about.
For example, I had always loved Biology, ever since I was a kid. But I was surprised to see the linkages between Biology with Anthropology, specially when it comes to our origins. I started understanding evolution and it hit me that all biological sciences can trace their origins back to the work that Charles Darwin had performed.
My eyes started opening up to the diversity and the applicability of these very subjects. And all of a sudden these subjects were very powerful. I could see the potential that they offered for individuals, systems and for civilization in general.
Personally speaking, my work has required of me to build up on my Technical skill set. Something I enjoyed doing at the time (Up until 4 to 5 years ago). Then I decided to switch towards a non-technical role and that was a great learning experience as well. However, on those rare occasions where I do manage to find some time to spare, I find myself invariably drawn more and more into subjects social science and even liberal arts of a nature.
Some subjects like Psychology overlap across the Social Sciences and the Liberal Arts spectrum. But the beauty of living in this day and age is that these subjects are now a) either interacting with the Science or b) they have given birth to more interesting fields of study. Again, by virtue of combining with other social sciences or different forms of science(s) in general.
As an example: consider the state of Cognitive and Neurological (or neuro) sciences, which are evolving at a very healthy rate and this will fundamentally change how we conduct our lives. And maybe, how we relate to each other on an individual and group level. Do keep in mind that a couple of fields converged together to give birth to a new field of study such as cognitive sciences. And all of this might not be possible, if the underlying framework did not exist. Namely work done relating to the social science and some of the fields within the liberal arts. (Image: Courtesy of Wikipedia)
And that’s just one teeny weeny example. Depending on where you look, there are new and exciting subjects and fields of study propping up all over the place. Soon, we will witness the Cambrian period of the Information Age, where an amazing array of new subjects are going to be born.
Would all the humans tap into a collective consciousness one day and become part of something larger than themselves. Just like all the cells in our bodies converge together so that a human could exist in flesh. I know, conversation is digressing.
I wouldn’t want my readers (all 3 of them, including myself) to get bored by my various interests. So coming back to the subject at hand. See, collectively, amazing new possibilities are going to be born when different subjects and sciences intersect and come together. This phenomenon will only speed up, as the the rate at which we collect and share knowledge increases exponentially.
We live in an incredibly complex world. Naturally some of the problems and roadblocks that confound our species are enormously complex as well. That being said, we rely too much on our doctors, scientists in the realm of natural sciences, engineers and economists/business graduates in order to come up with a fix for a majority of these problems. Bringing social scientists and individuals who have acquired knowledge in the various disciplines under Liberal Arts. That itself, is not a panacea. But it’s a step in the right direction.
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The first time I came across Canaletto’s work was at the National Gallery of Canada and this was a while back. But, what a joy it was! Canaletto’s work is the absolute epitome of great craftsmanship. It’s very hard to even come close to what Canaletto has done and he used nothing but paint and brush. Now, objective drawing is extremely challenging to master. And anyone who has tried to draw a true 3-d landscape on paper knows that much. Coupled with that fact, Canaletto created all of his works individually, by himself. Unlike some of the bigger names who had relied on assistants and perhaps even entire teams to help them out. (nothing wrong with that either). But this art is special and you have to see it with your own eyes to truly appreciate it. God, what was going on in Europe between the 14th – 17th century. Something amazing, that’s for sure.
Ken Robinson says schools kill creativityDon’t let the title stop you in your tracks, as this here is one of the most viewed TED Talks ever and rightfully so!
In this video, Sir Ken Robinson is talking about how we have designed our educational systems in such a way, that they end up stifling and damaging the innate curiosity that kids grow up with. How this is accomplished, is by virtue of how the educational systems are setup all over the globe. It’s a hierarchy where Mathematics and languages are at the top, followed by humanities and then arts are generally categorized at the bottom.
But that’s just the start. Ken has taken the whole notion of taking for granted how education is imparted and flipped it upside down. I was surprised, that I hadn’t seen this clip before. Oh, also, he’s got an excellent sense of humor!
Creativity and innovation go hand in hand, and well some of understand (we think we do) how innately that is tied with economies of scale and prosperity. I am glad that we have people like Ken who know what they are talking about, have the experience to back it up and can articulate and drive this important message really really well. Well done Good Sir!