Sir Martin Evans, 66, is the father of research on stem cells, which can turn into any of the 200 or so types in the body and show great promise in new treatments for heart disease, Parkinson’s and more besides.
Yesterday morning, while sitting in his car in a layby outside Cambridge, he learned that he had shared the Nobel prize for medicine for the applications of his stem cell work in genetic alteration of rodents to replicate human disease which has also revolutionised worldwide efforts to work out what genes do in the body.
While in Sri Lanka, earlier this year, working with Marie Stopes International, the Founder, Dr Tim Black CBE, introduced me to TED.
Tim said, “I promised to send you the details of the TED–Technology Entertainment Design–web site that I think you should contribute to. See for example the brilliant talk by Sir Ken Robinson on creativity .”
Each year, TED hosts some of the world’s most fascinating people: Trusted voices and convention-breaking mavericks, icons and geniuses. The talks they deliver have had had such a great impact, we thought they deserved a wider audience. So now – with our sponsor BMW and production partner WNYC/New York Public Radio we’re sharing some of the most remarkable TED talks with the world at large. Each week, we’ll release a new talk, in audio and video, to download or watch online. For best effect, plan to listen to at least three, start to finish. They have a cumulative effect…
I suggested the Seventh Cap for Wisdom, the Grey Thinking Cap.
Survival is clever and requires intelligence. Long term survival endows broad experience and knowledge and is a very clever thing, indeed. It cannot be taught.
The Grey Thinking Cap is for Wisdom.
The experience of surviving for a complete generation through childhood, adolescence and adulthood endows knowledge and perspective that a young brain cannot match.
To achieve 50 years of survival, through two or more generations, allows the brain to build a database of experience which offers a perspective of history, an understanding of long term consequences, a faculty for prediction and a wisdom that cannot be acquired in any other way. It takes half a century!
Grey Cap Thinking is the ability to see consequences, immediate, short term and long term. It is the ability to look back over history and to see forward into the future. To understand cycles, passages of time, the passing of fashions, eras, eons and the many possible futures including extinction, the possibility of no future at all.
Grey Cap Thinking also means the wisdom to see other points of view. It includes the sagacity of patience to see beyond one’s own immediate viewpoint and the wisdom to see the viewpoints of others involved in situations: your partner’s viewpoint, your children’s, your children’s children, your neighbour’s, your customer’s, your enemy’s.
The wisdom of Grey Cap Thinking comes from long term survival.
It is the wisdom that emerges from the hard won, labour-intensive experience gained from having to solve life’s wide range of problems through multi-changing environments over several generations and for an extended period of time.
One of the well-known paradoxes of wisdom is expressed by Mark Twain’s admission: “When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years”.
Even though we may not be able to teach children to do Grey Cap Thinking we can still teach them to understand what it is–to recognise it–to appreciate it, to consult it, and to seek it our wherever it can be found.
Of all the original Thinking Caps–White, Black, Yellow, Red, Green, Blue–the Grey Cap is also the Senior Cap.
SOT supports the VELS Thinking approach to teaching thinking in Victorian schools which focuses on building skills in seven cognitive capacities: Reasoning, Processing, Inquiry, Creativity, Reflection, Evaluation, Metacognition.
Many Australians and others are still concerned about the inferior treatment of women and children by some religious groups and faith sects.
In some cases, this inequitable kind of treatment (it is claimed) was prescribed by their ‘holy book’ or by the founder of their religion and is therefore defended and excused. I have written about this kind of claim, ten years ago, in an article called What Did Jesus Really Say About ‘Women Priests’?