Baby Boomers No Longer Babies

My argument in this post is that the generation known as the Baby Boomer generation may be the wisest generation in the history of the world!

One thing is obvious. Baby boomers are no longer babies.

OK. I’ll declare up front that this claim is also self-serving since I’m a founding life member of that geriatric generation (born 1947). Now that we have that little secret out of the way let me suggest two legitimate reasons as to why this is a valid claim. One reason is quantitative and the other is qualitative. And, also, what is the point of this argument anyway?

Quantitative Evidence

It is widely acknowledged that the Boomers, the baby boom generation, is still the biggest generation in the history of the world. In terms of years lived, Boomers have more 50+ members than any other generation. It is the largest of all geriatric generations. And most critically of all, Boomers, have more memory-power than any generation in human history.

One of the features of growing old is a heightened awareness of change. To remember what happened 50 years ago means that it is possible to appreciate what has changed in the meantime. It also makes you aware of what has remained constant.” – Elizabeth II

Qualitative Evidence

wisdom n. experience and knowledge together with the power of applying them critically or practically – Oxford English Dictionary

The life experience of surviving for a complete generation through childhood, adolescence and adulthood endows metacognitive memory and long-term perspective that a young brain simply cannot match. Boomers are Grey Hat thinkers.

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 of survival and making a living.

What is Grey Hat Thinking?

Grey Hat 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 (Gray: US) Hat 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 Hat Thinking comes from long term survival.

Boomers have made more mistakes than any other generation. You can’t have wisdom without mistakes. Wisdom emerges from the hard won, labour-intensive experience gained from having to solve life’s wide range of random and unexpected problems and having   survived life’s experiments and mistakes across multi-changing environments over several generations and for an extended period of time.

Even though we may not be able to teach children to do Grey Hat Thinking we can still raise their consciousness and 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.

So, what’s the point?

All this grey wisdom is a very timely resource for the future. Some of the most difficult decisions in history will have to be made in the next few decades. The quality of the future will be a direct consequence of the quality of the decisions that are made. There is an accelerating need for much better grey hat thinking than ever before.

 

Science awards in Melbourne

At Queen’s Hall Parliament House in Melbourne last night, Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson presented several prestigious science awards to scientists and colleagues from the Biosciences Research Division of the Department of Primary Industries.

The Rene Descartes Scientific Method and Process Award was presented to Renata Polotnianka, Stacey Barlow, Simone Tait and Larry Jewell. On presenting the award Dr Hewitt-Gleeson praised the team for their work which was “best practises in Australia”.

Dr Hewitt-Gleeson is the first Visiting Academic Fellow in Innovation Thinking at the Biosciences Research Division at La Trobe University and has been a member of the awards judging panel since they began in 2009.

Check-in on the Space Shuttle’s final flight …

Sad to see the final flight of the shuttle. What an amazing scientific and engineering enterprise that has been. America at its best…

Space shuttle Atlantis lifted off July 8 on the final flight of the shuttle program, STS-135, a 12-day mission to the International Space Station. Atlantis carries a crew of four and the Raffaello multipurpose logistics module containing supplies and spare parts for the space station. The STS-135 astronauts are: Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim.

—Click here to the Space Shuttle at NASA …

 

The Family and the Extended Family

Elizabeth II is the Queen of Australia. She says: “One of the features of growing old is a heightened awareness of change. To remember what happened 50 years ago means that it is possible to appreciate what has changed in the meantime. It also makes you aware of what has remained constant. In my experience, the positive value of a happy family is one of the factors of human existence that hasn’t changed.

“The immediate family of grandparents, parents and children together with their extended family is still the core of a thriving community.

“When Prince Philip and I celebrated our Diamond Wedding Anniversary last month we were much aware of the affection and support of our own family as they gathered around us for the occasion.”

The Rule of the Family

What is the Rule of the Family?

The Rule is:

“There is no-one more important to me than my Family”

 

Just suppose we can proceed from that rule. Just suppose we agree that there is no-one more important to you than those close individuals whom you include in your own experience of your ‘Family’.

Then let’s explore that idea a little further. I am very interested in getting your own thinking and personal comments on this idea.

DFQ: Please give your answer to the following DFQ and post your answer below.

Speaking for myself, the definition of “my family” is those people who:
_____________________________________

so, therefore, my top ten family members are:
(write down ten specific people personal to you but, for privacy, not their full names)

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

______________________________

Examples of Answers:

– Example #1  … you are born with and those you spend most time with.
… answer also named 10 members – genetic plus memetic
– Example #2 … Your parents. Those you were raised with. Close friends.
… answer also included 10 people some genetic some proximate.

What is the value of a Half-Truth?

I was watching the live broadcast of the Australian Parliament today as the various members and ministers, on both sides of the house, rose to speak during Question Time. I soon began to get that familiar feeling of disappointment and bewilderment at the quality of the level of discussion so typical of the Westminster system of debate. So I tried a simple metacognition experiment.

As each speaker made their claims and touted their party’s policies in the House (which would also be recorded in Hansard) I simply asked myself: “But, is it true?” “Is what you are now saying a genuine attempt at making a fully true statement?”. And then I gave that statement a ‘truth rating’ out of 10 … 1 being low and 10 being high. An an Elector of Australia I can safely assume this is my right to do so.

Rarely could I confidently answer, “Yes, that is true!” If I had to make a subjective guess I would say that more than 80% of their statements and claims were only half truths … at best. And, as the widely-quoted Yiddish proverb says A half truth is a whole lie.

(NOTE: This is a simple experiment for you to try for yourself. Tune in to, or go sit in, your local equivalent of the Australian Parliament and try this for yourself. If you like, you can post your results below. The same experiment could be used in other situations where the detection of half-truths is required. In the media there are many opportunities to do this in current affairs, business, politics and other programs and articles. Religious sermons, TV commercials, blogs and tweets may also provide useful opportunities to detect half truths. )

For the first time in history lies can travel at the speed of light.

In our exploding world of cybermedia with photoshop, digital manipulation, phone-hacking and peer2peer messaging at the speed of light, I believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may be one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

I believe this challenge needs to be taken very seriously and could be considered to be of a threat level similar to that of lethal epidemics like Avian or Bird Flu. Many scientists share this view.

As an antidote, SOT has put forward a new thinking methodology to help meet this challenge. To follow on from the previous SOT thinking tools, thinking hats and brain software, this new tool is called: greyscale thinking: how to sort a truth from a lie.

What Makes A Great Teacher?

I was once contacted by a young man in London who is a teacher/coach and personal trainer/consultant. He is in the early stages of his career and he sought my advice. He asked me this question: What makes a great teacher? That is a very good question. It’s exactly the question he should be asking as he embarks on this vocation.

My response to him was this: While there are many things that can make a teacher a much better one there is one non-negotiable, one litmus test, which defines a great teacher. This test is about how the teacher’s performance stacks up to the BIG question: IS IT TRUE?

Is It True?

Is what the teacher is teaching a TRUTH or a LIE? The answer to this question is what sorts out the frauds from the professors. If this test is passed then the teacher can be a great teacher if not then the teacher will always be a failure … in my view.

Making Claims

Anyone can make a claim. All sorts of claims are made in business, in science, in religion, in families, in governments, in education, in politics, on blogs and in the media. But is it a true claim? How closely does it correspond to reality? Or, is the claim a lie? How do we know? Does it even matter?

Yes. It does matter whether a claim is a truth or a lie. For example, many people believe things which are dangerous lies. These lies may have been protected from thinking for hundreds of years. These lies all have consequences which may range from deception to dementia to death.

Like a brainvirus, these lies can infect the brains of very young children. This is happening right now to millions of children as you read this article. I do believe that the global epidemic spread of lies may one of the most serious challenges facing long-term human survival.

ACTION STEP: If you feel this is important (please don’t spam lists of people) but send this article on to a selected friend, colleague or family member who may find it useful.

Greyscale Thinking

To help meet this challenge I am introducing the idea of greyscale thinking (US grayscale). Greyscale thinking is simple, fast and scientific. Anyone, anywhere and anytime can use greyscale thinking to help sort out a truth from a lie.

Any child can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to kids by parents and by teachers. Any employee can learn to use it. Greyscale thinking can be taught to employees by managers and business leaders.

The idea of greyscale thinking is: claim divided by questions equals truth or lie. This idea can be expressed as the formula c÷q=t>l.

This means that once a ‘claim’ is made it can then be subjected to ‘questioning’. Questioning reveals whether the claim is closer to being either a ‘truth’ or a ‘lie’.

Six True Questions
SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: The methodology of greyscale thinking is the cognitive skill or habit of putting a CLAIM to the SIX TRUE QUESTIONS: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

The answers to each of the 6 questions moves the CLAIM to and fro along the greyscale continuum: | a TRUTH – w? w? w? w? h? w? – a LIE |

______________________________________________________________________________________________

| a TRUTH – – – – a LIE |

______________________________________________________________________________________________

The answers to each of the 6 questions indicate, on the balance of the evidence, whether the CLAIM is more likely to be a TRUTH or more likely to be a LIE.

MAIN POINT: You will have noticed we are saying “a truth” rather than “The Truth”. Searching for truth is a journey and not a destination. We are more concerned with being right than being righteous. No individual brain can ever contain perfect knowledge of all possible facts. No brain can ever know the contents of the other people’s brains who are also involved in the situation. No brain can ever have perfect ownership of The Truth. And, that’s the point.

The rule of science is that you can have a good idea today, a better idea tomorrow, and the best idea … never! Why? Because there are always more facts to uncover–more opinions, more priorities, more options, more consequences, more positives, more negatives, more objectives, more measurements, and more experiments that can be tested. History has shown this to be a truth.

It is the deliberate effort one makes to move closer to a truth and to move further away from a lie that produces all the benefits of greyscale thinking.

No claim should ever be protected from questioning

Any claim that has ever been made in all of history and any claim that ever will be made can be illuminated, examined, investigated and accepted or rejected using the 6 true questions of greyscale thinking: What and Where and When and Why and How and Who – (Click here for more on the questions).

 

What is greyscale thinking?
Greyscale (or grayscale) thinking is a tool for sorting out truths from lies.

What is Truth?
Truth is that which, on the balance of evidence, corresponds to reality.

There are two serious cognitive problems we need to solve to survive and prosper. Greyscale thinking is a powerful tool anyone can use for solving both these problems.

Problem One: How to know if a truth is really a lie (or a half-truth)?
Problem Two: How to know if a lie is really a truth?

What difference does it make?
The difference is an immediate increase in:
– your survival intelligence,
– your skills to survive and prosper in a rapidly changing environment,
– your speed of thought.

How long does it take to learn?
It takes ten minutes a day, for ten days, to learn greyscale thinking.

NEW SCIENTIST: Internet ‘victim of vicious smear campaign’

The report’s main conclusions:

-    There is no neurological evidence that the internet is more effective at “rewiring” our brains than other environmental influences.

-    The internet is a “valuable learning resource and all forms of learning cause changes within the brain”.

-    Social networking sites, in themselves, are not a special source of risk to children, and are generally beneficial as they support existing friendships

-    Playing action video games can improve some visual processing and motor response skills

-    Computer-based activity provides mental stimulation and this can help slow rates of cognitive decline.

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